May 10, 2010
By Deb

This week’s prompt

This week we are going to spend a little time listening to language.  The idea is to get away from your usual range of aural experience and open yourself to surprises.

One way to do that is to spend a few minutes (maybe 10 or 15) and listen to a podcast, a radio show, an interview or lecture, on a topic you know little about. Write down any interesting words you hear. Pick them for sound, for interest, out of curiosity or for any reason that tickles or piques you.

Write down a dozen words and then use three to six (or so) of them in a new poem. Don’t feel compelled to use the words as they are meant to be used. Be playful! Let the sound of the words carry the weight. Let the sound of the word do the “work” of the poem. You can even make new meaning for the words you choose.

Places to listen:
The NPR Podcast Directory (listed by general topic) is a good place to start. I personally think the science area makes for interesting hearing (on several levels). Maybe Philosophy Talk is more your cup of tea. If you have ideas about where we can find good sources for surprising words, leave a link in the comments.

For more:
If you are interested in learning more about sound in poetry the Poetry Foundation has a great article called “Sound Makes Sense” by Camille Dungy with links to notable poems.

How prompts work under the Big Tent

We post prompts on Mondays, and you have all week to write your poems, based on our fabulous prompt or any other inspiration. Come back on Friday when you will find a “Come One, Come All” post where you can use the comments section to 1) leave a link to your poem or 2) leave the poem in its entirety.

You’ll have all day Friday (and all weekend!) to post your work and read each others’ work. Take your time. Enjoy all the poems that are new to the world.

Some hints

Hint: We’ve set Big Tent Poetry to Central Time.

Hint: An easy way to check on new post comments is with RSS reader, if you use one. Here’s the address:

Hint: Since we’re a new site, and you’re new to it, your comment(s) will be held for moderation for your first few posts. We’re checking the filters often, so don’t despair! That said, if it takes more than a half a day to see it come live on the site, do email us at info (at) (But be patient, okay?)

Circus etiquette

We figure you know how to play in the poetry community, but here are the basics:

Be nice. Have fun. Remember we aren’t a critique forum. We want to support each other as we bring more poetry into our lives. Only provide critique if someone specifically asks for it.

Although we love seeing our badge in the sidebar of your blog, we would appreciate it if you would also link back to the site in each of your poem posts. Linking within your post helps people travel back and forth from your site to the Big Tent Poetry site, and it helps perpetuate Big Tent Poetry “findability” in Google searches — and that helps us all.


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32 Responses to “ MONDAY PROMPT/ May 10 ”

  1. vivienne blake on May 10, 2010 at 3:23 am

    I like the idea of this. I’ve been keeping a list of all those strange wavey words that appear when you try to post a comment on various sites. Some of them are crying out to be spoken: eg defuncked, gobvess, galard. I’ve been itching to use them in a poem but haven’t yet found a ‘peg’ to hang it on. Would it be against the spirit of this prompt to use the sound of my weird words?

    • Deb on May 10, 2010 at 8:17 am

      Also try to listen this week for interesting words. Or at least read these “words” aloud that you are finding, and use the ones that have aural interest.

      • vivienne blake on May 10, 2010 at 8:40 am

        Thankyou Deb. I’ve since written a poem using those words which does indeed have interest when read aloud. In fact I can’t stop laughing! But I know what you mean about listening – I have a Moleskine notebook full of just such serendipity findings.

    • Melanie Bishop on May 14, 2010 at 9:44 am

      I can’t write anything this week as I have no sound and my cheap husband won’t by speakers. Have fun.


      • Deb on May 14, 2010 at 5:48 pm

        Oh, I’m sorry, Melanie. :-( You can post something different for us. It doesn’t have to be on prompt.

  2. vivienne blake on May 10, 2010 at 5:32 am

    As a beginner blogger, can anyone tell me how to leave a link to here, as requested by Deb. Do I have to copy paste it each time or is there a way of leaving a permanent link?

    • Deb on May 10, 2010 at 8:13 am

      Hi, If I understand your question:

      When you are at your blog, click on the post you want to link to. Copy the address you see in the navigation bar (that starts with http://) and then when you get back here, past that link into the comment.

      Yes, you have to leave a link every week for a poem.

      If this isn’t the question, try asking it a different way. Thank you.

      Does this help?

      • vivienne blake on May 10, 2010 at 8:36 am

        Not exactly. I was responding to your request that we have a link to Big Tent Poetry on our blogs, so that ‘outsiders’ can go directly to Big Tent without passing throuh Google. (Sounds like a Monopoly square!) I’ve tried to do it by pasting in the URL from here, but it doesn’t come up anywhere other than in my profile. I’ve also spent fruitless hours this morning trying to add photos to my blog, so you will understand that I really am a blognoramus.

        • Deb on May 10, 2010 at 8:53 am

          It takes a while to figure blogging out. Most of us (I am sure) figured it out by trial & error. :-)

          Here is the “code” you would use to make a link to last week’s Come One, Come All. You can paste this in your post, and the phrase “Come One, Come All becomes a link. (Except I can’t get rid of the “no follow’ part in this comment! So use this as a sample of what the code ends up looking like in html.) In text editor, when you are in your WordPress dashboard, there is a “link” function that allows you to add the link to the phrase. Play around, & you’ll get it. Takes a while, so don’t despair!

  3. Mary Kling on May 10, 2010 at 7:12 am

    My website just remains intact when I visit the Big Tent. I do not have to copy/paste it each time.

    When you visit again, I think yours will be there too.

  4. vivienne blake on May 10, 2010 at 9:27 am

    A bit of nonsense to keep us going until Friday!

    I promise to do a proper job by then.

    • vivienne blake on May 10, 2010 at 12:08 pm

      This should have been:

  5. Iain D. Kemp on May 10, 2010 at 5:59 pm

    I just wanted to share cos I’m so happy…. I post poetry weekly to two local websites that originally invited me to do so, I also get published in the regional free press but like many I’ve been waiting for the big one! I wanted to be accepted to somewhere where editorial discretion was in play…well..yesterday(Sunday!!) I wrote a poem…posted it to my gropu & was encouraged to submit it to a Nature journal…two hours had lapsed… 30 mins later I mailed it out…3 1/2 hrs later it was accepted by Born Free and THE Virginia McKenna is going to record it as a podcast!!!!

    Over the freakin’ moon!!!!

    I have opened the privacy on this FB post so anyone can see it, hopefully the poem can be viewed at:!/notes/iain-douglas-kemp/peregrine/433071687576

    Thanks for letting me share..looking forward to this weeks poems



    • Kim Yonne King on May 12, 2010 at 7:46 am

      Congrats Ian, from across the ocean!
      You rock!

    • throwshiswords on May 13, 2010 at 8:44 pm

      Congratulations, Iain! I like your poem and the way you caught the spirit of the peregrine :-)

  6. vivienne blake on May 11, 2010 at 3:28 am

    Brilliant, Iain. Congratulations. I opened the link, but couldn’t find the poem.
    It’s great to read such a happy post as yours.

  7. rob kistner on May 11, 2010 at 3:58 am

    As Viv reported, you have a “dead” link here Iain…

    • rob kistner on May 11, 2010 at 4:04 am

      I think the link you want is: Peregrine

      • Iain D. Kemp on May 11, 2010 at 3:06 pm

        Brilliant Rob…no idea how you did that but thankyou so much!


  8. vivienne blake on May 11, 2010 at 5:59 am

    Wonderful poem. While I was reading it Osprey or Sea Eagle came to mind. I thought about your poem all through lunch until my slow brain did a double take: the diet of the peregrine falcon is mainly small birds and the occasional small mammal.

    Here’s a powerful and beautiful fish-eating Osprey, as embroidered by my husband:¤t=JOCKSOSPREY.jpg

  9. Delia on May 11, 2010 at 10:09 am

    Ahhh…what a delicious prompt this week! I can’t wait to see what everyone does with it.

  10. Charlie K on May 11, 2010 at 3:44 pm

    marriage arrangeable
    orange bell
    orange leaves arranged manage believa-bell
    shade for a home on a range
    seldom the herd word encouranging heard

  11. carnage (notes) « carolee sherwood on May 13, 2010 at 7:53 pm

    [...] is Big Tent Poetry’s second “Come one, come all” gathering based on a great prompt by Deb. I will be in the city all day and will not be able to post or read until Saturday — thank [...]

  12. throwshiswords on May 13, 2010 at 8:46 pm

    I just found Big Tent Poetry and I couldn’t be happier, especially after the shock of the sudden shutdown of readwritepoem. This week’s prompt is right up my alley :-)

  13. vivienne blake on May 14, 2010 at 4:13 am

    My poem is here:
    This is the third time I have posted this message, but it just vanishes into the ether! 3rd time lucky?

  14. Evolutionary Candy from Japan on May 14, 2010 at 11:08 pm

    [...] prompt this week at the Big Tent poetry centered on sound. Asked to listen to something different and pick out some [...]

  15. My Garden - Uma Gowrishankar :: Birds Don’t Sing On Such Days :: May :: 2010 on May 15, 2010 at 3:55 am

    [...] Big Tent Poetry [...]

  16. the truth and nothing but « lost in translation on May 15, 2010 at 7:22 am

    [...] notes: Thanks to the audio prompt by Deb Scott, I listened to the podcast of Philosophy Talk: Faces, Feelings and Lies and the above poem is the [...]

  17. Joyce Ellen Davis on May 15, 2010 at 4:02 pm

    Hello, friends! I’m almost late, didn’t listen for words, but wrote instead about my words! Come on by…. Just click on my name, J

  18. Christina Hile on May 16, 2010 at 1:58 am

    My poem can be read here:

  19. Christina Hile on May 16, 2010 at 1:59 am

    Oops! Click on my name to read my poem. Thanks :)

  20. big tent poetry: sounds of words (notes) « carolee sherwood on May 16, 2010 at 7:48 pm

    [...] 2010 tags: big tent poetry, deb scott, philosophy talk, poetry by Carolee For this week’s Big Tent Poetry prompt on listening, I followed Deb‘s link to Philosophy Talk. I really tried to make myself listen to something [...]