Fourth writing prompt from Annie Finch… win a book!

Wesleyan University Press and Annie Finch invite you to participate in a friendly writing challenge. Take a chance at winning a copy of Annie’s new book, Spells: New and Selected Poems, while creating your own poetry.

Finch - Spells R-72-3

Throughout the coming weeks, we will post poems by Annie Finch, along with related writing prompts from Annie. We invite you to respond to each prompt with a poem of your own. Annie will select the poem that moves her most. The author of the poem will win a free copy of Spells. Please feel free to reply to each prompt with a unique poem of your own. We ask that you reply to each prompt only once, with a single poem.

Prompt for Letter for Emily Dickinson: Write a poem as a letter to a poet you love. 

Please send your poems, along with your with name and mailing address to

The final prompt will be posted on Friday, February 14th.

Happy writing!

Letter for Emily Dickinson

When I cut words you never may have said
into fresh patterns, pierced in place with pins,
ready to hold them down with my own thread,
they change and twist sometimes, their color spins
loose, and your spider generosity
lends them from language that will never be
free of you after all. My sampler reads,
“called back.” It says, “she scribbled out these screeds.”
It calls, “she left this trace, and now we start”—
in stitched directions that follow the leads
I take from you, as you take me apart.

You wrote some of your lines while baking bread,
propping a sheet of paper by the bins
of salt and flour, so if your kneading led
to words, you’d tether them as if in thin
black loops on paper. When they sang to be free,
you captured those quick birds relentlessly
and kept a slow, sure mercy in your deeds,
leaving them room to peck and hunt their seeds
in the white cages your vast iron art
had made by moving books, and lives, and creeds.
I take from you as you take me apart.

Courtesy of Annie Finch, from Spells: New and Selected Poems (Wesleyan, 2013)