Anne Sexton Workshop: Poetry Prompts


In case you wanted to take part in the Anne Sexton Workshop and couldn’t make it, here are our prompts. Do come read what you write at Stirred, or drop us a message to let us know you’ve responded, always good to hear words. I should mention this is a mix of prompts from Anna Percy and myself, Rebecca Audra Smith, so they range far and wide. I’ll tag them so you know whose is whose.


RAS (warm up) Create an Anne Sexton image. Here are a few examples of hers:

‘The heart, that mindless bettle/enormous that Kafka beetle, / running panicked through his maze’ -Red Riding Hood

‘Frog is as old as a cockroach./ Frog is my father’s genitals. / Frog is a malformed doorknob. / Frog is a soft green bag.’-The Frog Prince

Metaphor Exercise

  • Write down ten images.
  • Write down ten objects.
  • Number 1-10 and A-J. Randomly match the two sets and (optional) free write, including three of your favourites.


AP (free writing with found prompts ) Listen to Anne Sexton read Her Kind. Then listen again while free writing, you can borrow some of her words as you listen:


AP (refrain) Read The Ballad of the Lonely Masturbator, come up with your own explicit title discussing your sexual desires and use a repeated refrain like ‘’at night alone I marry the bed’’


AP (ode) Write an ode to an organ or body part in the vein of Knee Song or Celebration of my Uterus. Choose something we may not usually associate with jubilation.


AP (self portrait) Write a full length body portrait as in Sexton’s poems make it totally honest and revealing of imperfections, but do not admonish your body. Show us the beauty of your uneven existence, if you cannot show us everything, choose one body part:

‘’loving my long brown legs, sweet dears as good as spoons’’ from Barefoot.


RAS (self portrait) Write a full length body portrait using your clothes, as in Clothes. What clothes would you choose to remembered by? What outfit would sum you up?

‘It’s old-fashioned, as stylish as a bedbug,

but is suits to die in something nostalgic.’

RAS (response poem) Listen to For My Lover returning to his Wife.

  • Is it vengeful? Forgiving? Sensual? Loving?
  • Write the wife’s response/or the lovers, include an opposite image to one of Anne Sexton’s.
  • ie:

Anne Sexton’s image:

‘If you glance up, the children are there
like delicate balloons resting on the ceiling.’

An opposite image:

If you look down, the children are there

like robust chickens pecking the floor











The Stirred quad is formed of Rebecca Audra Smith, Anna Percy, Jasmine Chatfield and Lenni Sanders.

Tagged with: , , , , , , ,
Posted in Anna Percy, BeccaAudra, Events, Guest Poet
2 comments on “Anne Sexton Workshop: Poetry Prompts
  1. […] tribute collection of lines by all who attended the Anne Sexton Workshop, responding to her poem (see below) Her […]

  2. […] Sylvia Plath Workshop Prompts from Sunday 28th September put together by Anna Percy with a bee contribution from Becca Audra, prior to the Stirred Poetry Performance night on Monday 29th which is themed: Sylvia Plath and Anne Sexton. You can find the Anne Sexton workshop prompts here. […]

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The Stirred team at Reclaim the Night Manchester 2015
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