July 19, 2010

This week’s prompt

This week is my birthday week, and one of the things I’m hoping to do to celebrate is to host a living room salon in which some IRL poetry friends read their favorite poems. So I thought we could do something with favorite poems here, too.

What is your favorite poem? What about it makes it your favorite? Does it contain an image that rocks your poetry world? Does it provide a realization that changes you? Do you admire its poetic devices (metaphor, alliteration, repetition, form, etc.)?

Whatever it is you like about your favorite poem, try to use that in a poem of your own.

(Remember, when you post to your blog — or here — do not paste the entire text of someone else’s poem. Try to find the text online to link to, if you would like. It’s not necessary to quote the text of the poem; we’re most interested in a description of what attracts you to your favorite poem. And if you borrow something significant from the poem — like a line or an image — be sure to give credit by saying “a poem after ______” or “with a line from ________.”)

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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38 Responses to “ MONDAY PROMPT/July 19 ”

  1. rob kistner on July 19, 2010 at 2:14 am

    …happy happy birthday, to you to you… still singing over from Facebook… ;)

  2. rob kistner on July 19, 2010 at 2:19 am

    It will have to be a Gary Snyder poem for me — but there are soooo many I love… how do I decide?? Oh well, a wonderful dilemma… ;)

  3. vivienne blake on July 19, 2010 at 4:21 am

    Happy birthday, Carolee.

    You’ve really started something with this prompt. I set out to think of my favourite poem(s) and ended up writing a 3-page essay which also included some of my own poems about poetry. You he been warned – it may turn up on my blog on Friday….

  4. vivienne blake on July 19, 2010 at 4:22 am

    have been warned…

    And thanks to you I am still in my nightie and it’s lunchtime.

    • twitches on July 19, 2010 at 8:36 am

      So, do you want poems based on favorite poems, or just favorite poems? Or, does it matter?

      • Deb on July 19, 2010 at 9:55 am

        I *think* she means a new poem based on your favorite poem.

        • carolee on July 19, 2010 at 10:39 am

          hi! yes — write a poem of your own based on what you like about your favorite poem. :)

    • brenda w on July 19, 2010 at 8:49 am

      Viv-You are too funny! I hope it does show up on your blog, you’ve given rise to curiosity. ;)

  5. Azha Irving on July 19, 2010 at 5:17 am

    Great prompt! Tragically offline since NaPo ended I have been reading by mobile while I patch up the old puter and try to find creatve ways to participate. would love to get in on this one
    P.S. Happy Happy Earthday Carolee!

  6. Azha Irving on July 19, 2010 at 5:38 am

    Oops… My pick would have to be Falling by James Dickey. Sorry I have no way of posting links via my mobile but the piece can be found on

  7. twitches on July 19, 2010 at 8:37 am

    Oops, I meant to ask that question to Big Tent, not Vivienne. Although Vivienne can certainly send me her requests, too.

    • Jill on July 19, 2010 at 11:28 am

      twitches! haven’t seen you around in awhile! hi!

  8. brenda w on July 19, 2010 at 8:48 am

    Here is a line from an old standard I like:

    “Happy birthday dear Carolee!”

  9. pamela on July 19, 2010 at 9:17 am

    Happy birthday Carolee!

  10. Deb on July 19, 2010 at 9:56 am

    Happy birthday week, Carolee!!

    Great prompt!

  11. carolee on July 19, 2010 at 10:40 am

    thank you, everyone!

    and i want to apologize for being missing in action the last couple of weeks. not only have i been on vacation for 8 of the missing days, but also i have been a million miles away in my mind for a while.

    i’m starting to check back in to reality, and i wanted you to know i’ve missed writing with you and reading your work.

  12. simply streaming day 17 « Contraband Marriage on July 20, 2010 at 1:05 pm

    [...] with me as i begin to search for a favorite poem to work off of for big tent poetry’s weekly challenge. The first poetry I remember reading [outside of that assigned by school] was that of black women. [...]

  13. jingle on July 20, 2010 at 1:07 pm

    Happy Birthday!

  14. Distillations « catbriar on July 20, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    [...] is the prompt: reflect the essence of your favorite poem this is a borrowing. For this exercise do not use real poets without an attribution as in Henry [...]

  15. Nelie on July 21, 2010 at 9:38 am

    Hi, I’ve been reading these prompts but not responding for a while now. I really like this one. One of my favorite poems are May Sarton’s Autumn sonnets

    Think I’ll try to actually be brave enough to contribute something for this!

    • Deb on July 21, 2010 at 10:59 am

      Hi Nelie, and welcome. Be brave, be brave. We simply want you to write a poem & enjoy reading each other. :-)

  16. simply streaming day 18 « Contraband Marriage on July 21, 2010 at 11:37 am

    [...] streaming, tichaona chinyelu, w h auden, when you are old, yeats 0 I’ve decided my poem for big tent poetry’s challenge will not one of Ntozake Shange’s. The poem I’m going to work off of is W.H. [...]

  17. beth on July 21, 2010 at 8:01 pm

    Question: What if my favorite poem is one that is anonymous and I can’t find it anywhere on the web? Is it OK to publish? I could choose from a variety of others that I love… but I’ve never been able to track down my most favorite poem on the internet anywhere.

  18. carolee on July 21, 2010 at 9:09 pm

    hi, beth (and everyone!) —

    you don’t actually have to publish the other person’s poem anywhere. just tell us what it is and what you like about it and then publish your own.


    • beth on July 23, 2010 at 8:37 am

      I know. Just wanted to. :) It’s a great poem and I’m not sure I could describe why without sharing. But there’s definitely something else I can use…

  19. Megan on July 22, 2010 at 3:53 pm

    As soon as I saw this prompt I knew I had to use something from J. Alfred Prufrock. Great prompt! Got the juices flowing.

    • Megan on July 22, 2010 at 3:54 pm

      p.s. Many happy returns! Did you host that salon?

  20. Donna on July 22, 2010 at 7:20 pm

    Asking me to choose a favorite poem is impossible! So I will have to choose a characteristic that I admire in many poems and try that instead. I have been gone for a while -I miss reading everyone’s work, and I hope to become a regular again soon! Maybe I will start with this week’s prompt.

  21. Rallentanda on July 23, 2010 at 1:42 am

    Happy Birthday Carolee
    As cute as Sweet Pea
    Her slick page boy hair style
    Is the envy of all three

    Great prompt.There are so many wonderful poets and I am looking forward to hopefully being introduced to new ones . As for moi…Poor Will ( the Father of our language) rarely gets a
    mention these days so I am honour bound to do one for him.

  22. on Buson’s window ledge « inkwell whispers on July 23, 2010 at 6:23 am

    [...] for big tent poetry [...]

  23. Cynthia Short on July 23, 2010 at 9:13 am

    Here is my short piece for the week…

  24. maria on July 23, 2010 at 1:45 pm

    My response to this week’s prompt is here:

    Seemingly an easy task, but not if you happen to have no favorites because you indiscriminately like all kinds of poems!

  25. Dancer on July 23, 2010 at 1:49 pm

    [...] poem began with a prompt at Big Tent Poetry, where Carolee (Happy Birthday Girl!) asked, “Whatever it is you like about your favorite [...]

  26. Erin Davis on July 23, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    Happy birthday, Carolee!

    This prompt caused me to revisit and revise a poem I have been kicking in for quite a while.

    I’ll be back this weekend to enjoy everyone’s offerings!

  27. inspired by my favorite poem « carolee sherwood on July 24, 2010 at 11:42 am

    [...] This week’s prompt is to write a poem inspired by your favorite poem. My favorite poem is “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” by T.S. Eliot. [...]

  28. My Garden - Uma Gowrishankar :: The Beautiful Mother :: July :: 2010 on July 24, 2010 at 1:13 pm

    [...] The woman with hair like a thrush’s breast and rose perfumecame in with a different man tonight,her finger like a petal on his arm, her smilea crimson wing ) Big Tent Poetry [...]

  29. Life studies « lost in translation on July 25, 2010 at 4:49 pm

    [...] Robert Lowell’s “Waking in the Blue” in Life Studies. The prompt from Carolee of Big Tent Poetry is to take something from a favorite poem and use it in your own. Lowell’s is in fact not a [...]

  30. Do Not This Human Greed Abide | Stars and Willows on July 26, 2010 at 1:03 pm

    [...] Big Tent Poetry prompt last week was to think about your favorite poem and consider what you like about it, then use those elements [...]