The Writing Moment


Daniel Scott Tysdal's creative writing poetry textbook, The Writing Moment: A Practical Guide to Creating Poems, is available from Oxford University Press. Learn more about the book and order a copy at Oxford University Press or Amazon.

Read a sample of The Writing Moment here

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"Everything You Need to Write 

a Poem (and How It Can

Save a Life)"

Some Work to Welcome You

I Wear a Hijab (Lol), or Professor Puts a Cupcake in the Fridge

poem submitted in fulfilment of an assignment given by the students of ENGB04


This is not what marks you in my memory,

though you write to me: “Remember? I wear

a hijab (lol).” This is a spell you cast

to charm memory, to summon some features

for me to reference in your quest for work.

What marks you is not the piercings. It’s not


the epic beard, for you. For you, it’s not

your bedazzled iPhone. It is not your 

hijab: neither the rocket-popsicle- 

blue hung loose around your crown, nor the black 

of deep earth, edging your face the way soil 

edges an orchid’s surface-bursting stem. 


These details are adornments, seasonal

wreaths able to ornament the front door

of a home, but inept at expressing

the life of the lives that once resided, 

and do reside, and will reside within.

What marks you is this: the pause as you caught


yourself grasping mid-sentence what it meant

that a wave could motion, “No, no, I drown.”

For you, it’s the far-out comics you shared.

It’s the poem you began, “We begin with 

a book. The very first chain in this cave.”

It’s what you said about the pronoun “you”


after class: it hails all of us, and one, 

and none. What marks you is that time you spoke,

mid-lecture, interrupting to instruct,

“then write it,” when I said in an aside,

“‘Professor puts a cupcake in the fridge’

would make an awesome title for a poem.”


And you, the first you, what I remember

is the story you wrote about your trip

to the country where your parents were born,

the last line bearing a rooftop in rain,

and you in that rain once, for real, and me

feeling it in your words, the full, wet fall.

To continue reading "Halftone Rubbing Stone," click here.

"Daniel Scott Tysdal is one of Canada's most original, dynamic, and talented writers."

Kenneth J. Harvey


"Daniel Scott Tysdal's words have torque; they turn the page inside out. [. . .] It's some of the most exhilarating, imaginative writing I've encountered: Tysdal's poetry is airborne." 

Anne Simpson