Poets of Color: Writing Prompts Aplenty by Barbara Jane Reyes


This semester I am teaching a course called Poets of Color at Mills College in Oakland, California. ‘Tis that time of the semester again when I start compiling writing prompts based upon the work we have read and discussed for my students’ creative final projects.

This semester we read Juan Felipe Herrera’s Notebooks of a Chile Verde Smuggler, Frances Chung’s Crazy Melon and Chinese Apple, Mahmoud Darwish’s Memory for Forgetfulness, Harryette Mullen’s Recyclopedia, Monica A. Hand’s Me and Nina, Reginald Dwayne Betts’s Shahid Reads His Own Palm, my most recent collection Diwata, Carmen Gimenez Smith’s Milk and Filth, and a healthy dose of poetry chapbooks, including Sarith Peou’s Corpse Watching, Margaret Rhee’s Yellow, and Philip Metres’s Abu Ghraib Arias.

I began the semester with a list of questions, which I’d hoped would frame the assigned works. I’ve been wondering a…

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