May 2, 2011

This week’s prompt

Phew! It’s [finally] [already] May. [Thank goodness] [Too bad] that April poetry madness is over! [Now] [But] we can get back to our regularly scheduled program.

Let’s try a revision this week, shall we? Some of you have lots and lots of fresh material. Yay! Poems to re-read and revise!

But here’s this week’s twist. Put those new poems aside. Often we need to let our work sit for a while, and many poetry teachers recommend it as a fruitful strategy.

For this week’s writing, set your creative clocks back to a year ago (or so) and look through a handful of the poems you wrote way back then. Do they feel familiar or strange to you? Are they recognizable or do they seem as though someone else wrote them? (There is no right answer. And if you are a new poet, go back as far as you can.)

Find one poem you’d like to take further. Avail yourself of the fresh look distance can offer. Write the poem out by hand. Read it aloud to yourself. Record it on your phone or computer and listen to it. What is the heart of the poem? What images stand out to you? What language do you like?

Now poke at the seams for any weaknesses. Try removing the first few lines or even the entire first stanza. Try rearranging the poem from back to front. Now what strikes your interest? Change your point of view in the poem. Replace words you aren’t in love with. (Think of this as dressing up for your significant other as a way to put a little spark in the relationship.)

Need other ideas? Look to a May revision prompt from Read Write Poem a couple of years ago. There you will find a few other ideas and resources to help nudge your revision hand.

Come back starting next Friday and leave us a link to your brand-spanking-newly-revised poem! (And don’t think we don’t have ideas for your recent poems, too. We have schemes hatching!)

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: If you are new to our site, your comment(s) will be held for moderation for your first few posts. If you put more than one link in your comment, your comment(s) will be held for moderation. 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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2 Responses to “ MONDAY PROMPT / May 2 ”

  1. Kat Mortensen on May 5, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    I’ve been on a self-imposed hiatus for a bit to recharge my batteries and your prompt was just what I needed to ease back in. Thank you!


  2. Friday Freeforall: Roundup Time « Margo Roby: Wordgathering on May 6, 2011 at 10:02 am

    [...] week, especially in light of how many people wrote poems during April. But, they wouldn’t be Big Tent without a twist. You will have to visit the big top if you want to know what it is, but you know it [...]