Elegy / by Poetry Lab

Because there is no such thing as falling, only memory”

—W. Todd Kaneko

This prompt is based on Kaneko’s Dead Wrestler Elegies, because the collection obsessively melds themes of childhood, a troubled relationship with a father, and abandonment of a mother with the guise of professional wrestlers. It’s a sort of slight-of-hand achieved through a relentless switching of stories and themes from the author’s life with the lives of his childhood role models.

1)     Fold a sheet of paper into three columns.

a.       First column: write a list of childhood materials. Such as toys, games, locations, school activities, sports, books. It can be anything from childhood—except for a person

b.      Second column: write a list of verbs that describe the way one can lose things. Such as misplace, trash, donate, give away, neglect

c.       Third column: Of those childhood materials you listed in the first column, what has been lost from you and what still remains? Make a notation on the fate of the different items in the first column

2)     Write an elegy for an object from childhood

An elegy is a lament for the dead which is typically designed to mirror the three stages of grief: sorrow, admiration, consolation. In poetry, elegies take on many forms but it is important to note that an elegy is not a eulogy or an ode.