Mot Juste

“I told a friend about a spill at the grocery store, which—the words ‘conveyor belt’ vanishing midsentence—took place on a ‘supermarket treadmill,’” writes Madeleine Schwartz in a recent essay published by New York Times Magazine about her experience of negotiating with and toggling between the French and English languages after moving from New York to Paris. In the piece, Schwartz notes that as she became more comfortable with living and thinking in French, she noticed a blurring of her linguistic capabilities, including a muddling of her articulative abilities in English. Think about a time or situation when words have failed you, or you’ve drawn a blank as to the mot juste. Write a poem that traces or enacts a loss of language, perhaps using invented words, phrases, and spellings or experimenting with font sizes, line breaks, and spacing.

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Author: Writing Prompter

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  • May 28, 2024