Weekend Workout: Writing About Loss

I’m sure I’m not the only one who finds it challenging to write a satisfying poem about a loved one who has died. What words can fill the space the person held?

In honour of dear friend and poet Gabrielle Bouliane, who died of cancer one year ago today, I wanted to write something to/for her this weekend.

This workout is something I’ve never tried before, so I’m experimenting with it. I’ll post the results after the weekend.

Instead of sitting down to write a poem or letter or story in one go, eeking out inadequate language for a heart-ripping loss, I’m going to keep Gabrielle in my thoughts all weekend and carry several index cards with me wherever I go. Any time a thought or vision or image or anecdote comes to mind, I’ll write it on a card.

It doesn’t matter if I’m at the library, in a movie, on the bus, or at a party – the thought, image, etc gets written on a card.

On Sunday night or Monday morning, I’ll go through my cards and form the poem (or whatever it turns out to be) from there.

Unintentionally, the first few things I wrote were addressed to her, so perhaps I will stick with that.

The first thing I wrote on a card was:

You were so you, more you than I me. When I cry to you, you don’t suffer my foolishness.

~   ~   ~

There’s a TOAST in honour and memory of Gabrielle happening at 10 PM in Austin, TX. So 8 PM here on the West Coast. Here’s the FACEBOOK INFORMATION about it.


  1. kolembo
    Jan 29, 2011

    I’d like to know how it goes.

  2. Danika Dinsmore
    Jan 29, 2011

    You will! I’ll post the results when I’m done.

    Saw your moving miscarriage poem – at least that was my interpretation of it.

  3. meeshelleneal
    Jan 31, 2011

    What a beautiful idea! I am highly looking forward to what comes of it.

    My heart goes out to you.

  4. Thanks, Meesh. My heart is stronger for having known Gabrielle.

  5. kolembo
    Feb 3, 2011

    ahh, I remember this. I enjoyed the results.


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