Interactive Writing Exercises and Drolleries Inside.

Issue 7 • April 3, 2018

In This Issue

  1. Let's Write Together
  2. On The Syllabus
  3. Good Things Around
  4. Drolleries
  5. Hey Y'all. Hey What?

2. Let's Write Together

Poetry Writing Exercises

All week I'll be posting poetry writing exercises to Instagram and Facebook to give everyone a taste of the workshop content. These short videos introduce an exercise or prompt, then ask you to post your response. Let's see what magic we can make together.

Each exercise will also be posted on the blog so you reference them all after they go live. My first two videos are linked below. 

graphic link to intro video

Poetry Exercise Preview


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Exercise One: Questions


Heck and Joy Poetry Workshop

Heck and Joy Poetry is an online workshop in which participants read and write poetry—just for the heck and joy of it.

This is not an academic class. This is not about publishing. Prior experience with poetry is not required. I believe poetry, like language, belongs to everyone, and this workshop is for anyone and everyone interested in poetry.

Tuition is $75 a person, but if you sign up with a friend, you each pay only $50. This class is a steal. All the details are at

Click Through to Learn More

2. On The Syllabus

  • We are failing black boys so hard (NYT). The graphics that fill in while you watch are startling—each one of those dots is a human.
  • The Ripped Bodice gals are taking publishers to task on Twitter and I like it. 
  • Let’s teach the girls all the things. (I had zero focus this week, but remember two related pieces of info I have no sources for. One was about appeasement: we hold ourselves back so often because we (mostly women) want to appease other people's anxiety about our behaviors. That was a light-bulb idea for me. I also read this week about how Swedish preschools specifically teach girls how to assert themselves and teach boys to be nurturing.)
  • Who doesn’t read books? I’m curious to see what my students make of this data.

3. Good Things Around the Internet

In my view, every month is National Poetry Month. But since most people don’t feel about poetry the way I do, I try to save some of my hype for April. Here is one poem and 100 poets to get your poetry muscles limbered up.

4. Drolleries

5. Hey Y'all

Did you take a spring break this year?

The stars aligned, all of our spring breaks matched up, and we went to Iowa to visit family.

While there, we took our college-bound son to tour alma mater—Iowa State University, in Ames.

My husband and I met and married in Ames, and we left together in a Penske moving truck in 1998, not to return for almost 20 years. 

Things sure do change in 20 years.

That Jennifer Nettles/Bon Jovi song about coming home to your roots was going through my head the entire time we were there. They sing, “who says you can’t go home?” and “who says you can’t go back?” Their message (I think) is that you can always go home again.

But being on campus again, a place I called home for six years, I was struck by how things change in ways so that you can’t go back—not even in memory. The place seemed so different I was having trouble remembering what my life even was when I lived there.

Certainly I could move to Ames Iowa if I felt so compelled, but I can’t go back to what I knew of as home when I lived there.

So many things were new. New dormitories and remodels of old dormitories. New buildings and sky-walks and rock climbing walls and classrooms. New apartment complexes. New benches. New cafes in nearly every building on campus. (You can drink coffee inside the library now!!!!!!) New restaurants and stores. Even the old restaurants and stores are in new locations, so the places we did know were unfamiliar.

It’s still Iowa State, but it’s a new version of itself. I suppose that is true for most of us. I’m still the Cherri of then, but I’m a new version of me.*

You can’t go back. Not really. Not even if people with pretty hair tell you it’s possible.

The exception, of course, was pizza. Great Plains Sauce and Dough, where we learned to put honey on our crust, was still in the same place, with the same awful wooden booths, playing the same radio station.

We ate our fill while listening to 90's rock.


*Any Felicity fans in the house?

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Cherri Porter is Partly Cloudy Creatives

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