Write a Like Starlings Poem with poet and editor Caleb Klaces


Caleb Klaces is founder and editor of Like Starlings, a website where poets write a sequence of new poems by responding to one another in turn. Poet 1 writes a poem and then poet 2 writes a poem back again, until they have sequence of poems. The site has been a great success with a mix of established poets and new voices taking part in poetry conversations.

Here you have the chance to write your own response poem as a Like Starlings poet. Read Caleb’s poem “Else” and write your own poem back.




It’s true again: we just keep shedding

nails and skin and in time everything.

Between now and then I throw out bread

to become seagulls in the garden;

people take the wrapper to the city’s

brim and put it in a hole. It seeps.


My room thickens. Skin foams the floor,

along with rolling waves of pencils,

drifting hair. When a washing machine

chokes down dead me from socks

some goes I’d like to think to sea,

exceeds to cloud and back again


and back again. The noise chases the shake

of the machine, which runs ahead, overflowing,

I wake and stop the alarm. Walls shed

the sound of scratching birds and mice.

Slung above the bed the web had been

a secret, spilled by a spider’s abdomen.


Must be a relief to get that out.

I tell my unhappy little sister to write

things down, get them off her chest,

though nothing will keep her body quiet, yet,

nor stop one thing becoming another,

ever: bliss and everything else.


Here are some examples written by YPN members:

Burning by Emma Warren
Somewhere by Beth Jellicoe
Where by Sherrie Talgeri
Home by Alister MacQuarrie
Here by Helen Zhou

If you’ve tried this challenge and written a poem you’d like to submit somewhere, why not have a look at the Poetry Map and see if there’s anywhere that you like the look of.


Caleb Klaces

Originally from Birmingham, UK, Caleb Klaces’ poetry and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in publications including Poetry, Poetry London, The Threepenny Review and Rain Taxi. He is the author of the poetry pamphlet All Safe All Well (Flarestack Poets, 2011) and editor of Likestarlings.com.


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