Writing Prompt: "Sentence to the Antipode" by Sara Jane Stoner

Go to the website www.antipodesmap.com and look up the point on the Earth directly opposite you: your antipode. See what you can discover about it in a little bit of research: if your antipode is located in the water, what plant and animal life dwells there? what is the history of human impact on its ecosystems, its shipping and sailing routes, local stories and myths? Seek out learning about your antipode’s weather, people, history, politics. Write things down that hum and sparkle and knock at you.

Bring your notebook to the nearest naked earth. If you cannot leave your home, lower yourself and your notebook to the floor and feel downward for the ground beneath you. Close your eyes, then put one hand on your chest, and press one hand to the ground (or the floor).

Breathe in and out. Ask yourself gently what feelings occupy your lungs. Notice the different rhythms that drive the cycles inside your body. Now press down into the earth (into the floor) with your full weight. Now push harder.

Imagine yourself feeling into a softness beneath your force. Push through the earth, its crust, its mantle, its core, its mantle, its crust, the surface beyond. Push your hand through to the side of the earth directly opposite you: touch your antipode.

Feel your hand on your chest, and return to where you are. Imagine what you look like now, and what you’ve brought back. What are the consequences of your passage. Now open your eyes. Write down the first 10-20 thoughts that come to your mind, and the first 10-20 things you see, hear, smell, or otherwise sense. 

Using the language in your notebook, write one, long, single sentence between these two points of the earth. Pay attention to the action of your commas, semi-colons, colons, and dashes in creating different kinds of movement, moments of pause or encounter, cuts, layers, rhythms.

About the author

Sara Jane Stoner is a teacher and writer from Colorado living in Brooklyn who has led workshops at Wendy's Subway, Poet's House, and the Poetry Project, and online this summer from her own home. She has taught at Cooper Union, several CUNYs, Bard's Microcollege at the Holyoke Care Center, and currently teaches at Pratt Institute's Architectural Writing Program and the University of Michigan's New England Literature Program. She holds an MFA in Fiction from Indiana University and someday might finish her PhD in English at CUNY graduate center, focused on critical pedagogies and intersectional queer theory, particularly in the context of contemporary experimental writing. Her chapbook, Grief Hour, was published by Black Warrior Review in 2017, and her first book, Experience in the Medium of Destruction (Portable Press @ Yo-Yo Labs, 2015) was nominated for a Lambda Award. In June, she'll be the Blogger-in-Residence for Futurepoem at www.future-feed.net


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