June 28, 2010

This week’s prompt

Recently, at the wonderful, amazing, inspiring IRL feedback group that Carolee and I belong to, one of the poets shared with us her desire to turn a current poem into a “conversation poem.”

She sent us some samples, including Mark Strand’s “Answer” and the haunting “Conversation” by the late poet Ai, in which the speaker both asks the question and supplies the answer (though the departed does indeed respond, as you will see).

Is there a question you are burning to ask someone? Is there a person (living or dead) you would love to have a conversation with? Maybe, as our IRL poet friend shared, you have had a conversation with someone that bears repeating (and examining through poetry’s sharp lens). Perhaps someone has posed a question to you that you simply, at the time, could not answer. Take some time this week and compose your answer in the form of a poem.

Whether or not you write your poem in Strand’s question and answer format, or ask and imagine the answers as Ai did, this week, be sure to ask the really hard questions! Work hard to find the answers! Then, come back and share the whole conversation!

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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21 Responses to “ MONDAY PROMPT/June 28 ”

  1. angie on June 28, 2010 at 9:49 am

    oh, thanks for introducing me to Ai — what wonderful poetry. Ive been reading it all morning.

  2. Lindsey on June 28, 2010 at 11:29 am

    Ai is also a wonderful lady! She teaches at a University about an hour from where I live.

    • Deb on June 28, 2010 at 12:11 pm

      So many people have been touched by Ai, who died May of this year. The NYT obituary is here:

      • Lindsey on June 28, 2010 at 2:39 pm

        I had no idea she had passed away. :( I will miss her.

        • Deb on June 29, 2010 at 9:50 pm

          I’m sorry. I didn’t know how else to break it.

  3. mark on June 29, 2010 at 1:26 pm

    IRL? Surely that isn’t the Indy Racing League….

  4. Robert Lloyd on June 29, 2010 at 2:48 pm

    Thank you for posting AI’s Obit. Although a sad way to learn about her I did enjoy reading about her and her accomplishments.

    • Deb on June 29, 2010 at 9:52 pm

      You’re welcome. There are quite a number of remembrances about her, but the NYT is very good at these things.

  5. Deb on July 1, 2010 at 9:44 am

    Here’s another terrific example of this style: “Telephone Conversation,” by Wole Soyinka. . Learn a bit about him here: .

    • vivienne blake on July 1, 2010 at 3:26 pm

      Wow! Thankyou for that – most illuminating, including the explanations of irony, sarcasm and satire.

  6. Conversation Poems « Improvisations: on July 2, 2010 at 6:46 am

    [...] Conversation Poems 2 July 2010 tags: Big Tent Poetry, conversation, patterns, Poetry, prompts by Mallery This post is in response to Big Tent Poetry‘s prompt to write a conversation poem. [...]

  7. the odd inkwell on July 2, 2010 at 6:51 am

  8. A Conversation About Water « The Rag and Bone Shop on July 2, 2010 at 7:38 pm

    [...] About Water 3 July 2010 by charcoalgypsy 02 July 2010 a poem a day for a year Prompt: A Conversation about [...]

  9. The Hostile Witness | Stoney Moss on July 3, 2010 at 11:23 am

    [...] * * I’ve been flummoxed by this apparently simple prompt of Jill’s over at Big Tent Poetry. So I simply went with my writer’s block and created something of a poem with [...]

  10. Christina Hile on July 3, 2010 at 3:23 pm

    My poem can be read here: The Rag & Bone Shop

  11. Christina Hile on July 3, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    Ugh, apparently I messed up typing the html…again!

    Let’s try this: The Rag & Bone Shop

  12. Unanswered Questions « Prose Posies on July 3, 2010 at 10:30 pm

    [...] and try new things. In this spirit, I thought I would give Big Tent Poetry prompts a try. The prompt for this week was to write a “conversation poem”, and then post the link to this week’s Come [...]

  13. My Garden - Uma Gowrishankar :: Aphasia :: July :: 2010 on July 4, 2010 at 9:18 am

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

  14. Rallentanda on July 10, 2010 at 12:11 pm

    I know this comment is very late but thank you for introducing me to the work of Ai. I find this aspect of introducing poets on your site very generous, informative and valuable.

    • Deb on July 10, 2010 at 2:49 pm

      Oh, this is great to hear anytime. Thank you!

  15. Subliminally Yours « Prose Posies on July 16, 2010 at 12:46 pm

    [...] Big Tent Poetry prompt was to write in code. I also wrote in conversation form again, which was the prompt from two weeks ago. Maybe it was my subconscious talking to [...]