Next Line, Please

Who’s Waldo?

By David Lehman | September 2, 2014


We are going to write an acrostic based on an epigraph. The poem will have five lines when complete. The first letters of the lines, read vertically, shall spell out “Waldo,” the middle name of the man who wrote the essay from which this distinguished journal takes it name. That’s the acrostic part. The poem’s epigraph is from Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “Self-Reliance”: “I would write on the lintels of the door-post, Whim.”

By midnight on Sunday, September 7, please submit a line beginning with the letter “W” that relates in some fruitful way to the quotation from “Self-Reliance,” a magnificent essay that bears rereading every year. The winning line will be revealed on Tuesday, September 9, and its author will receive a complimentary copy of The Best American Poetry 2014.

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