MONDAY PROMPT/September 27

September 27, 2010

This Empty House, or “To Really Write a Poem, Climb Up into a Tree Fort”
This week’s prompt

A friend called recently to see how I was doing now that both of my children are in school full-time. “I’m bored. I can’t write anything,” I confessed. “Put your shoes on the minute you get out of bed,” she advised me. “This will make you feel motivated.” Minutes earlier — barefoot — I had sent another friend a message practically begging for stimulation: “Tell me something…anything! How are you?”

This empty house was what I’d been craving for years. I should be churning out poems at least every hour with all this free time. I should be reading a poetry book a day and writing thoughtful, intelligent reviews.

Turns out, this empty house was exactly the problem. It took my dog and my 4th grader to show me that all you really need to fix a broken poem-er is to step outside.

The dog wanted to go out. The 4th grader had rigged an elaborate pulley system on his tree fort using a 10-foot rope, the dog’s lead and his bike as leverage. To get the dog’s lead, I had to climb up into the tree fort. What a view! Next, I had to twist and turn, not just my body but the various ropes and leads, too. I had to stand up in the tree fort.

You get the picture, right? Childhood memories, king (queen) of the mountain, Tarzan and Jane fantasies, fear of heights … Yes, folks, the poems began to arrive—in earnest!

Your task this week? Step outside your house. Of course, that’s a bit of a metaphor. It may take more than literally stepping out the door. You may have to take a few steps and actually move outside your comfort zone. Do something different. Do something you haven’t done in awhile.

Whatever you choose to do, be aware of all that arises in your poetic mind. Then write it down, and craft your adventure into a poem. If the poem winds up being about something besides your adventure, that’s OK. You know how we feel about rules! Just be sure to tell us, if you’re so inclined, how you came to write this week’s poem.

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.


Tags: , ,

9 Responses to “ MONDAY PROMPT/September 27 ”

  1. Julie Jordan Scott on September 27, 2010 at 8:54 am

    Oh, Jill! When I read this prompt (and I can relate, every year when the kids go back to school it takes me a couple days to get used to all that space to write and create) I thought of this quote from Rainer Rilke:

    “Whoever you are: some evening take a step out of your house, which you know so well. Enormous space is near.”

    This is one of the quotes that I wrote on the front of my goals notebook when 2010 started.

    • ms pie on September 28, 2010 at 1:08 pm

      julie love rainer….. thanks for another one of his uplifting poems!!! i will take that with me thru my outdoor adventure….

  2. Dan Wilcox on September 27, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    it’s not about the poems, it’s about the living, the poems will come if you live –

  3. Nimue on September 27, 2010 at 7:12 pm

    hope you do not mind if mine turns to be an emotional adventure ;) not at all physically !!

  4. Christopher Hileman on September 27, 2010 at 11:28 pm

    Responding To You

    Right outside my door
    is a bottomless blue pool
    and out of that pool
    each sunset I rise
    and enter my own front door
    and then act as if
    I was never gone.
    I do this because you told
    me to touch my base.

  5. vivienne blake on September 30, 2010 at 5:11 am

    I shan’t be here tomorrow to put my link up on Come One Come All, but my poems (2) to this prompt are already on my blog at

  6. rob kistner on September 30, 2010 at 10:58 am

    The longer we remain ‘indoors’, literally and metaphorically, the more our spirit and creativity shrinks to match the constraints of our confining environment – when blocked, take a bottle of water, an apple, and head outdoors…

  7. sojourn in autumn « lost in translation on October 1, 2010 at 6:16 am

    [...] notes: The prompt over at Big Tent Poetry is to get out of the door, write about climbing a fort, a mountain, or about fear of heights. Erm, [...]

  8. My Garden - Uma Gowrishankar :: The Miracle Maker :: October :: 2010 on October 3, 2010 at 12:57 pm

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