May 3, 2010

We’re so glad you found us and hope you might be 1) recovered from the daily poem writing madness that is NaPoWriMo, 2) not quite recovered but game to see what this new poetry prompt site is about or 3) chomping at the bit to get back to your weekly poetry habit after sitting out the April madness!

This week’s prompt

Ladies and gentleman! Boys and girls! Welcome to the Big Tent! We promise not all of our prompts will be about the circus, but for this first one we’d like to celebrate our theme. So put on your best clown nose!

Have you ever wanted to run off and join the circus? (For realz!) Imagine you’ve done just that: Packed your bags and hopped on the circus train. If you could become anyone in the circus, who would it be? Lion tamer? Ringmaster? Tattooed lady? (Rumors are flying that Carolee and Deb are in a scandalously big cat fight over that one while Jill obliviously swings by her toes on the trapeze.)

This week, try on a different hat. Change your costume. Assume an identity. In poets’ speak: write a persona poem. Need inspiration? Try researching the history of the circus. Google “circus jobs.” Do whatever it takes to stumble upon that perfect persona.

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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65 Responses to “ MONDAY PROMPT/ May 3 ”

  1. rob kistner on May 3, 2010 at 4:53 am

    I have always wanted to be in the circus, I spent 30 years of my life in the circus that was rock and roll — I enjoyed being the daredevil – pushing the envelope -standing right up front risking my life, crazy as I want to be… I loved it!!! ;)

    That’s what I want to be, the singing daredevil in the wild cloths…

    • rob kistner on May 3, 2010 at 2:34 pm

      Well – I have finished the first draft of my little ditty entitled “Daredevil’s Dread”. Gonna post it quietly on Image & Verse to stare at it a few days, tweaking where it seems appropriate — then bring it under the Big Tent on Friday… opening day at cirque de la grande tente, very cool!

      • rob kistner on May 4, 2010 at 4:33 am

        I got impatient just staring at this post on line at my blog so I decided to share this early draft here for comment: Daredevil’s Dread

        • Deb on May 4, 2010 at 9:05 am

          Do come back Friday, Rob, and repost.

          Our “Come one, Come all” post will open at in the wee hours of Friday, everyone! (We are glad folks are excited & jumping in.)

          • carolee on May 4, 2010 at 9:52 am

            yes: it’s wonderful that the prompt inspired something you just can’t keep under wraps any longer! :)

            even if i write before the poem is “due” i never post it until then b/c i love knowing that everyone’s doing that the same day with their own work and looking for my work that day, too.

            for me, the day of concentrated posting (and reading) helps me feel the community ties.

            so please do bring back the link on friday to come one, come all. once people get in the rhythm, that’s where they’ll look for it.

          • rob kistner on May 4, 2010 at 12:39 pm

            I know Deb, Carolee — and I will re-post on Thursday 10:00 PM PDT… it just gnaws at both my ADHD and OCD tendencies to have to wait (my problem)! ;) I have a second piece nearly ready to post — but I will wait, promise…


  2. Carolee on May 3, 2010 at 7:15 am

    you got it, rob! thanks for stopping by!

  3. January on May 3, 2010 at 8:43 am

    Sweet! So easy even I can keep up with the prompts.

    • Deb on May 3, 2010 at 9:26 am


  4. Amy Barlow Liberatore on May 3, 2010 at 8:55 am

    During the Poetic Asides April Poem A Day challenge, which was a grueling marathon, fraught with drama… I must be a masochist to take on more prompts!

    I did post one there about my fear of clowns, which is all to real… I actually break into a sweat. Red Nose Day does not freak me out, though.

    So I’ll peek into The Big Top and see if inspiration awaits… new to this site, so wish me luck!

    • Deb on May 3, 2010 at 9:26 am

      (Amy, I share that fear of clowns, too.)

      Glad you’re here. :o)

      (Clown nose emoticons are not so scary, either.)

      • Amy Barlow Liberatore on May 8, 2010 at 3:22 pm

        Deb, so glad you empathize. Saw “The Mentalist” last night and it was all about… CLOWNS! I watch very little TV but Simon Baker is such an infectious imp. Anyway, my husband put his arms around me and warned me about the clowns being featured before we watched together. I realized they aren’t so bad on the TV screen, but I don’t like them in person. And this was LONG before John Wayne Gacy…

        I’ll post my prompt below, but thanks for letting me know I”m not the only one! Amy Barlow Liberatore

  5. Robin on May 3, 2010 at 9:09 am

    Fab first prompt! This will be fun.

    • Deb on May 3, 2010 at 9:27 am

      Glad you’re here, Robin!

  6. Jason Crane | on May 3, 2010 at 9:09 am

    Congrats on the new digs! Here’s my response to the first prompt:

    “Insane Clown Posse”



    • Deb on May 3, 2010 at 9:24 am

      Wow, Jason, you are quick! And still in NaPo mode. :-) Be sure to come back Friday where you will find a “Come one, come all” post where you can leave your link.

      I must say I love the title of your poem.

      • Carolee on May 3, 2010 at 12:50 pm

        yes, make sure to post the link friday when everyone’s sharing and making the rounds so that more folks will see your link!

    • vivienne blake on May 3, 2010 at 11:21 am

      Jason, that was a great story. Hard to do tragi-comic with such style. I was hating this prompt – sat for an hour in the dentist’s waiting room and wrote about 6 first lines, all of them rubbish. Am I allowed to be a little boy in the audience who wants to see non-existent elephants? Teeth had a clean bill of health!

      • Deb on May 3, 2010 at 4:35 pm

        You get to be whatever or whoever you want to be. And you can always write to a different idea, too!

  7. beth on May 3, 2010 at 9:43 am

    As a kid, I used to have clown nightmares, and thought I was the only one! Now I have neighbors who are involved in Cirque du Soleil, this being Montreal, and know some clowns in person. Not scary at all!

    Congrats to all for this first day of poetry prompts under the Big Tent!

    • Carolee on May 3, 2010 at 12:49 pm

      thanks for the congrats, beth! not everyone can call their neighbors clowns and get away with it!

  8. Linda Goin on May 3, 2010 at 9:45 am

    Like Amy, I put myself under the poetic gun at Poetic Asides during April. And, like Amy, I don’t enjoy clowns — but I sure do like everything else the Big Top offers. Looking forward to meeting new poets here. Thanks so much for putting this together!

    • Carolee on May 3, 2010 at 12:48 pm

      you’re welcome, linda! we’re so happy to have this place! and new friends and old!

  9. Ron. on May 3, 2010 at 10:42 am

    I guess my poem will owe much to my uncle Del, who was (or could have been, should have been) kinda sorta at least tangentially circus related. A few days to work out the kinks feels like such an extravagance.

    • Carolee on May 3, 2010 at 12:48 pm

      all poems — with kinks or without — will be welcome!

  10. pamela on May 3, 2010 at 11:34 am

    Thanks for a great prompt. I am terrified of clowns. Well I am sure I will come up with something.

    • Carolee on May 3, 2010 at 12:47 pm

      if you choose “clown” for your persona poem, you could use the fear to your advantage: “on being afraid of myself,” or “how i learned to like myself,” etc., etc.

    • Amy Barlow Liberatore on May 8, 2010 at 3:23 pm

      SO many people also afraid of clowns! I feel a great kinship here, and it’s so ironic because this is ‘Big Tent,’ where those sinister costumed ones should hang out…!

      • Marie on May 10, 2010 at 9:33 am

        I think clowns and circuses are creepy for some reason, too. I skipped this week. Just couldn’t get my head around it. I may try next week’s prompt.

  11. Iain D. Kemp on May 3, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    Hi, I too just finished the PAD on Poetic Asides but have been writing a poem a day since April 1 2009 and am still going. So…I have a poem for your prompt but I don’t have a blog. can I post it here?

    Oh! & HI!! Amy & Linda!!



    • Deb on May 3, 2010 at 4:37 pm

      Hi Iain. Sure you can post your poem on the Big Tent Poetry blog, but come back on Friday (or the weekend) to do it. Look for the post that says “Come One, Come All!”

  12. christine on May 3, 2010 at 2:47 pm

    Hey, this is a great idea for a poem. I was excited about today’s prompt, because I didn’t do napowrimo this year, and I needed some inspiration to write something fresh. I already have a poem in mind! :-) I’ll put a red nose on while I write it.

    • Deb on May 3, 2010 at 4:38 pm

      That’s the spirit!! (So nice to see you here!)

  13. poem 5/3/10 – paperweight/manna « novaheart's blog on May 3, 2010 at 5:12 pm

    [...] I plan to post a decent – hopefully – poem on Big Tent Poetry‘s prompt for [...]

  14. one more believer on May 3, 2010 at 5:32 pm

    hello, so glad i happen to drop by and see a monday prompt!!! rwp napowrimo was a terrific experience and glad to see your all still at it… circus absolutely… pippy longstocking all day long was a persona i definitely wanted to be and still try to be …i look forward to coming back later with a circus story… great work on the blog too…

    • Carolee on May 3, 2010 at 7:05 pm

      can’t wait to see what you come up with! see you friday!

  15. Stacy Lynn Mar on May 3, 2010 at 6:38 pm

    Hello all! So glad I found this site and am already having such fun! Below is a link to my poem for today’s prompt. Will also come back by Friday to share again.

  16. Joyce Ellen Davis on May 3, 2010 at 6:39 pm

    I am over here, this way to see The Official Tattooed Lady!
    Just click on my name….

  17. Joyce Ellen Davis on May 3, 2010 at 6:42 pm

    Sorry. I am too eager. I see now I should wait until Friday. Well, who knows what Friday will bring–I may meet my Reaper before then….

    • Carolee on May 3, 2010 at 7:06 pm

      eager is good. :) i’m going to wait ’til friday to read. i like suspense!

  18. Delia on May 3, 2010 at 6:50 pm

    How wonderful…this is what my forthcoming chapbook is *full* of! I cannot wait to read what everyone comes up with and I’ll definitely share something from the drafts. So exciting!

    • Carolee on May 3, 2010 at 7:07 pm

      it will be so nice to read your work! (and i’m excited about the chapbook, too.)

  19. [...] the while, in Ring #1, we’re still talking about our first prompt and getting super excited for our first “Come one, Come all” gathering this Friday. [...]

  20. gautami tripathy on May 4, 2010 at 7:00 am

    I am jumping right in!

    • Deb on May 4, 2010 at 8:55 am

      It’s great to see you here, Gautami! Welcome to the circus.

  21. derrick2 on May 4, 2010 at 8:23 am

    Hi Carolee, Deb and Jill,

    Congratulations on getting the Big Tent up! I hope to stop by with something at the weekend!

    • Deb on May 4, 2010 at 8:55 am

      Hi Derrick! Thank you, thank you, and we hope you do!

  22. poem 5/4/10 – The Freak Show « novaheart's blog on May 4, 2010 at 6:00 pm

    [...] 4, 2010 · Leave a Comment Big Tent Poetry is keeping the prompts going by posting one every Monday.  (I also know weekly are Writer’s [...]

  23. Lawrence C on May 4, 2010 at 6:08 pm

    Thank you so much for continuing the prompt inspirations – although I as like rebel against them than follow them.

    And this prompt brought out of me my most personally raw poem in the past month I’ve been writing them daily – “The Freak Show”

    • Deb on May 4, 2010 at 7:00 pm

      We don’t mind rebellion! (Poetic rebellion is goo!) But do come back and post your link on Friday so more people see your link. Thank you.

    • Lawrence C on May 4, 2010 at 7:02 pm


      Didn’t read the instructions….

      Admins, go ahead and delete that – and I’ll see and read come this weekend!

      Thank you for keeping the poetry flowing!

      • Deb on May 4, 2010 at 10:06 pm

        You silly, we are clowns, not admins. :-) We’re happy you are here. No worries about the link.

        And poetic rebellion is not just “goo,” either. Haha! my typo.

  24. Kim Yonne King on May 5, 2010 at 10:24 am

    Having just finished the Poetic Asides 30 day challenge, I realized that I missed all my fellow poets and their poems.
    I think that the week to write may be less stressful, so I’m looking forward to jumping in again!
    Must we wait until Friday? What if there are blog posting problems?

    I shall be patient.

    Good to see some of my fellow PAD poets here.

    Cheers to this cool new forum!

    • Deb on May 5, 2010 at 10:11 pm

      Hi Kim! I used some of the Poetic Asides prompts last month, but didn’t join the challenge. It’s nice to have you here! Welcome, welcome.

      • Kim Yonne King on May 6, 2010 at 5:27 am

        I am really excited and LOVE your circus theme. I’m encouraging other poets that I know to join in.
        Cannot wait to start!

  25. Big Tent Poem: Houdini « Raven's Wing Poetry on May 6, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    [...] This poem was written for the first prompt over at Big Tent Poetry. We were to write a poem in the persona of someone in the circus…and [...]

  26. Not all the time, but at least once. « Jason's Chatter on May 6, 2010 at 11:34 pm

    [...] Asides, Writer’s Island, POW, and others), but all the talk of Ren Faire lately made the Big Tent’s [...]

  27. the tattooed lady – Stoney Moss on May 7, 2010 at 12:05 am

    [...] A poem (in need of revision) for the first Big Tent Poetry prompt: the persona prompt! Find others’ ideas on the theme at Big Tent Poetry’s “Come One, Come All” [...]

  28. Step Right Up « Scrambled, Not Fried on May 7, 2010 at 4:29 am

    [...] Right Up Jump to Comments I have to thank the folks at Big Tent Poetry for the [...]

  29. My Garden - Uma Gowrishankar :: Shenbagam :: May :: 2010 on May 7, 2010 at 8:24 am

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  30. Joyce Ellen Davis on May 7, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    The Official Tattooed Lady here! Just click on my name to take you there! (Now that the actual DAY is here, I almost forgot…). But come on over anyway!!!

  31. Circus Reject | Via Negativa on May 7, 2010 at 7:54 pm

    [...] the Big Tent Poetry prompt. Other responses are here. This entry was posted Friday, May 7th, 2010 at 8:54 pm and is filed [...]

  32. What The Carny Says « everything feeds process on May 7, 2010 at 9:45 pm

    [...] poem was written in response to Big Tent Poetry‘s first prompt. In this prompt, they ask us to imagine ourselves as one of the people in a circus. What would that [...]

  33. Amy Barlow Liberatore on May 8, 2010 at 3:34 pm

    OK, my Big Top poem is here… just under it, my Writer’s Island prompt as well. Thanks for letting me join in on the fun!

    • Deb on May 8, 2010 at 3:49 pm

      Hey, Amy. I approved your comments, but you should repost this one to the Friday “Come One, Come All” post. Glad you found us, glad you are playing along.

      Welcome to the Big Tent!