Life/Lines 2021

A poetry project featuring the creative work by the faculty, staff and students of Washington University and the greater community beyond

Life/Lines is back for 2021

During the month of April (National Poetry Month), the Center for the Humanities invites you — whether you’re a published poet or you have never written a word of poetry in your life — to create short poems in response to a daily prompt. All are welcome! We hope this daily poetry practice will generate and sustain the Life/Lines among us.

All poems — in any language — will be published on our website on a rolling basis. No judging or editing, and authors can decide whether or not they want their names included. Every week, we share this work with our community.

Last year, more than 350 of us from all corners and walks of life wrote more than 1,200 short poems! You can browse those poems and read more about the project by following this link

New participants are invited to join the Life/Lines mailing list at any point during the month of April (see sign-up link below). 

Join our community of poets

Sign up to receive daily email poetry prompts. It’s never too late! New participants are welcome throughout the month of April.

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Prompts

April 16

Write a short poem (rhyming not necessary) that includes each of the following 5 words (anywhere and in any order). Poems should not exceed 7 or 8 lines. Submit your poem at this link.
    dog-eared
    politicians
    jest
    purple
    sync 

Send us your poem via our Submissions page or post on Twitter or Facebook using the hashtag #lifelines.

Today’s words were contributed by Jeannette Cooperman, writer for The Common Reader, WashU’s journal of the essay. You can read more of her work here.

Poems submitted for April 16
Poems will be published on a rolling basis throughout the day.

April 15

Write a short poem (rhyming not necessary) that includes each of the following 5 words (anywhere and in any order). Poems should not exceed 7 or 8 lines. Submit your poem at this link.
     un ange (“angel”)
     une glace (“a mirror,” “an ice-cream”)
     fier (“proud”)
     un enchevêtrement (“entanglement”)
     une saison (“a season”) 

Send us your poem via our Submissions page or post on Twitter or Facebook using the hashtag #lifelines.

Today’s words were contributed by guest curator Lionel Cuillé and the students enrolled in FREN 325 “Defining Difference.” Cuillé is founding director of the French Connexions Cultural Center at Washington University, which was recently elected to the Centers of Excellence of the Embassy of France.

Poems submitted for April 15

April 14

Write a short poem (rhyming not necessary) that includes each of the following 5 words (anywhere and in any order). Poems should not exceed 7 or 8 lines. Submit your poem at this link.
     fray
     error
     buttermilk
     glass
     precedent

Send us your poem via our Submissions page or post on Twitter or Facebook using the hashtag #lifelines.

Today’s words were contributed by guest curator Ted Mathys, author of Gold Cure (Coffee House Press, 2020) and three previous books. He teaches at Saint Louis University and serves as president of the board of directors of the Saint Louis Poetry Center.

Poems submitted for April 14

April 13

Write a short poem (rhyming not necessary) that includes each of the following 5 words (anywhere and in any order). Poems should not exceed 7 or 8 lines. Submit your poem at this link.
     process
     preposterous
     belief
     human
     fatigue 

Send us your poem via our Submissions page or post on Twitter or Facebook using the hashtag #lifelines.

Today’s words were contributed by the Kling Undergraduate Honors Fellows at Washington University.

Poems submitted for April 13

April 12

Write a short poem (rhyming not necessary) that includes each of the following 5 words (anywhere and in any order). Poems should not exceed 7 or 8 lines. Submit your poem at this link.
     aroma
     sizzle
     crisp
     satisfied
     sharing

Send us your poem via our Submissions page or post on Twitter or Facebook using the hashtag #lifelines.

Today’s words were contributed by guest curator Beverly Wendland, provost and executive vice chancellor for academic affairs at Washington University in St. Louis.

Poems submitted for April 12

April 9

Write a short poem (rhyming not necessary) that includes each of the following 5 words (anywhere and in any order). Poems should not exceed 7 or 8 lines. Submit your poem at this link.
     spirit
     galaxy
     blue
     fire
     moon

Send us your poem via our Submissions page or post on Twitter or Facebook using the hashtag #lifelines.

Today’s words were contributed by guest curator Jane Ellen Ibur, Poet Laureate for the City of St. Louis. She frequently posts poems on this Facebook page.

Poems submitted for April 9

April 8

Write a short poem (rhyming not necessary) that includes each of the following 5 words (anywhere and in any order). Poems should not exceed 7 or 8 lines. Submit your poem at this link.
     mother
     sister
     slumber
     mushroom
     handle

Send us your poem via our Submissions page or post on Twitter or Facebook using the hashtag #lifelines.

Today’s words were contributed by guest curator Jae Kim, translator of Cold Candies and current PhD student in the Comparative Literature program at Washington University.

Poems submitted for April 8

April 7

Write a short poem (rhyming not necessary) that includes each of the following 5 words (anywhere and in any order). Poems should not exceed 7 or 8 lines. Submit your poem at this link.
     behind
     days
     stone
     light
     begin

Send us your poem via our Submissions page or post on Twitter or Facebook using the hashtag #lifelines.

Today’s words were contributed by guest curator Abram Van Engen, associate professor of English at Washington University and co-host of the Poetry for All podcast.

Poems submitted for April 7

April 6

Write a short poem (rhyming not necessary) that includes each of the following 5 words (anywhere and in any order). Poems should not exceed 7 or 8 lines. Submit your poem at this link.
     write
     beat
     nerve
     sound
     cry

Send us your poem via our Submissions page or post on Twitter or Facebook using the hashtag #lifelines.

Today’s words were contributed by guest curator Olivia Lott, translator of Lucía Estrada’s Katabasis and finalist for the PEN Award for Poetry in Translation. She is a PhD candidate in the Department of Romance Languages & Literatures at Washington University and a Graduate Student Fellow in the Center for the Humanities.

Poems submitted for April 6

April 5

Write a short poem (rhyming not necessary) that includes each of the following 5 words (anywhere and in any order). Poems should not exceed 7 or 8 lines. Submit your poem at this link.
     healing
     humane
     hopeful
     heterogeneous
     harmonious

Send us your poem via our Submissions page or post on Twitter or Facebook using the hashtag #lifelines.

Today’s words were contributed by guest curator Feng Sheng Hu, dean of the Faculty of Arts & Sciences and the Lucille P. Markey Distinguished Professor at Washington University in St. Louis.

Poems submitted for April 5

April 2

Write a short poem (rhyming not necessary) that includes each of the following 5 words (anywhere and in any order). Poems should not exceed 7 or 8 lines. Submit your poem at this link.
     burgundy
     river
     doorway
     footstep
     decision

Send us your poem via our Submissions page or post on Twitter or Facebook using the hashtag #lifelines.

Today’s words were contributed by guest curator Aaron Coleman, a recipient of a 2021 National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship. He will graduate with his PhD from the Comparative Literature Program’s International Writers Track this spring. For more information on his poetry, research and translations, click here.

Poems submitted for April 2

April 1

Write a short poem (rhyming not necessary) that includes each of the following 5 words (anywhere and in any order). Poems should not exceed 7 or 8 lines. Submit your poem at this link.
     mercy
     hilarity
     gathering
     child
     deviltry

Send us your poem via our Submissions page or post on Twitter or Facebook using the hashtag #lifelines.

Today’s words were contributed by Walter Johnson, the Winthrop Professor of History and professor of African and African American studies at Harvard University. He is author of The Broken Heart of America: St. Louis and the Violent History of the United States and the keynote speaker for today’s Faculty Book Celebration (4 pm) and Panel Discussion (12 pm). 

Poems submitted for April 1

 

Headline image: NASA via Unsplash