Friday, April 21, 2017

NaPoWriMo 2017 - Prompt #21 - Dystopia Utopia

Some believe King Arthur will
return and once again bring about
the mythical utopia that was Camelot.
The Merriam Webster dictionary defines dystopia as "an imaginary place where people lead dehumanized (deprived of human qualities, personality, and spirit) and often fearful lives."  Its opposite is the utopia "a place of ideal perfection especially in laws, government, and social conditions."  These definitions paint such places as imaginary, or so idealized as to be unachievable.  But aspects of both conditions exist on Earth today.  Places are always in flux between these two extremes.  Yet people do not agree on what makes something a perfect place to live.  Neither do they all agree on what potential aspects of our lives are dehumanizing.  Some find carrying passports to be dehumanizing, while others see it as a helpful way to keep order.

Imagining strict utopias or dystopias means delving into all of the implications for people, families, food production and consumption, music, child-rearing, transportation, employment, and more.  What do cities look like in these cases, or do they even exist?  How about countries, continents, or the entire Earth - what do these things look like in a utopian or dystopian world?  How do things function, or has all function broken down?

Prompt #21: Choose the concept of dystopia or utopia and write a poem.   Consider what caused this state.  What brought about the utopia or dystopia?  What are the features of this place?  In either case, is it possible for people to find happiness there?  How are these states maintained over time?  What pressures exist to change them, and how could they be made to break down?  Consider some of these ideas in your poem.

For something more specific, try to match the form of your poem to the theme.  If you are writing abut a rigid society, choose a strong meter and rhyme scheme.  If you are discussing an Eden-like Earth, choose a form that flows more freely.

Dystopias and utopias are both common themes to explore in sci-fi, horror, and fantasy, so I have it easy today.

Did you use this or one of our other prompts? You can post your poem in our comments, if you like.

Happy Writing!

Prompts crafted by:
J.A. Grier, Senior Scientist and Education Specialist, Planetary Science Institute
Amy Grier, Managing Editor, Solstice Literary Magazine
Image Credits:Marriage of King Aurthur Wikimedia Commons Public Domain

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