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YCA Blog

The Lesson 7/26/2017

The Lesson 7/26/2017

Welcome to The Lesson. Every Wednesday we will be sharing a writing prompt to help you write. If you choose to write, please tag us on social media: @youngchiauthors on Twitter & @youngchicagoauthors on Instagram. Today's writing prompt is pulled from The 92Y's A New Colossus series.



The New Colossus by Emma Lazarus
(Poem engraved on the Statue of Liberty)

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”



objects that feel essentially American to you
gifts you would give America
toys you would take from America
songs that remind you of America


Epistle by sam sax


loneliness is next to godliness. i eat gods
like you for breakfast, sir. old gods i stir
into a roux into a good blood-root soup and
spoon into my children’s shining american

mouths. my children don’t exist because
i suck dicks like you for breakfast. my children
don’t exist because i fear my progeny
might be like you, cowering acrid penis,

mess of white nothing. so my family crossed
an ocean hella long ago and left their rotting
leather shoes behind. left their dead buried
in hillsides, began to dream this new language.

i hate this language precisely for how it hides.
how it says freedom and always means die.



Write an epistle (a poem in the form of a letter) to America. Think about what American myths are true and which feel false and what re country is really about in your eyes.