Formerly Known As… [15 Words or Less]

Hello, and welcome! This is 15 Words or Less Poems, a low-pressure way to wake up your poetry brain (guidelines here), and I’m very glad you’re here. 

Original art is “The Artist Forever Known As…” by Wes Winship. This is a filtered photo by Laura P. Salas.

Prince’s death was a HUGE deal here in Minneapolis, and while walking around the mall before my WW meeting last week, I saw this large artwork (filtered here) by Wes Winship and snapped a pic. That gaze is arresting, isn’t it?

This image made me think of three things:

  1. ostrich art
  2. men and makeup
  3. how often performers reinvent themselves–and kids do, too

And here’s my first draft. I was thinking about how much I loved each new school year not only  because it was a fresh year, but also because it was a fresh ME.


I’m teaching at a Young Authors Conference all week and won’t be home to comment. I will read, though!

It’s your turn! Have fun and stick to 15 WORDS OR LESS! (Title doesn’t count toward word count.)







16 Responses

  1. Bring on the re-invention! I have some seventh graders I’m ready to see as something new! Nine more days here and I wonder how we will survive them. Fun poem.…especially the word, Dumpling!

    we keep you
    in song
    and voice
    In brick
    and paint
    a soul’s

  2. Laura, you are an out-of-the-box thinker. I’m not sure I would have made this association with a portrait of Prince. I love the form you used and the element of surprise.

    Through the glass,
    i look with knowing eyes
    hiding the truth–
    I know nothing.

    1. Very relevant Margaret, for all things, over and above Prince.

  3. Once upon a rhythm
    a brick-built spirit
    with old soul gaze
    mesmerized -
    pure transcendence.

    1. Beautiful, poetic words Suzanne. I love “spirit and old soul gaze.”

  4. Love your verse Laura. I can identify. It seems all my life I have been reinventing myself; every MONDAY of every week! Maybe one of these weeks I’ll like what I see. LOL! Have fun at the conference.

    Also Known As …


  5. Good poem, Laura. Sometimes there is a magical change over summer vacation.

    Private Person’s Opinion

    Who said

    they could put

    my picture there?

    The wall

    would look better

    left bare.

  6. So true Cindy. I think you captured Prince’s desire for privacy.

  7. I think one of the reasons I enjoy your 15 words or less prompt so much is due to the diverse variety of responses from a single image Laura. I like where the image lead you, the playfulness of it. My poem took me on another path. Hope the week goes well!

    Fill the world with passion
    remembering people’s colors
    weave infinite tapestries
    of growth…

  8. The student who
    Formerly wanted to
    Open the window and
    The constant loneliness
    Of wondering
    “What does that mean?”

    Is now beginning
    To connect
    Say to her
    “Have a good day”
    And she responds
    “You, too”

    (I went over 15 words, but this was my experience with a Newcomer ELL today)

    1. I had a student who did that when I was teaching…a little Korean boy who spoke no English. We ended up the best of friends…he was so smart.

  9. poem By Jessica Bigi


    under golden crown

    world’s tears turn purple
    flooding hears
    voice and songs

  10. What a glorious piece of artwork you shared, Laura. I am enjoying your 15 words or less poem and those of others.

    thoughts smolder inside
    flow like purple rain
    in a blurry sky

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