06: Martian Postcards

Henry Hart

Poetry Prompt

Here is a prompt I use in one of my poetry-writing classes. I begin by introducing students to the so-called “Martian School of Poetry,” which began around 1979 in England when Craig Raine published A Martian Sends a Postcard Home. (I was living in England at the time when “Martian Poetry” was all the craze.) I give students a copy of the title poem, and then tell them to imagine they are Martians who have landed on Earth, learned English, and started to write poetic postcards to their friends on their home planet. I tell each student to bring a Martian postcard to class for discussion. Some of the results are quite extraordinary!