Author Archive


May 10, 2010

This week’s prompt

This week we are going to spend a little time listening to language.  The idea is to get away from your usual range of aural experience and open yourself to surprises.

One way to do that is to spend a few minutes (maybe 10 or 15) and listen to a podcast, a radio show, an interview or lecture, on a topic you know little about. Write down any interesting words you hear. Pick them for sound, for interest, out of curiosity or for any reason that tickles or piques you.

Write down a dozen words and then use three to six (or so) of them in a new poem. Don’t feel compelled to use the words as they are meant to be used. Be playful! Let the sound of the words carry the weight. Let the sound of the word do the “work” of the poem. You can even make new meaning for the words you choose.

Places to listen:
The NPR Podcast Directory (listed by general topic) is a good place to start. I personally think the science area makes for interesting hearing (on several levels). Maybe Philosophy Talk is more your cup of tea. If you have ideas about where we can find good sources for surprising words, leave a link in the comments.

For more:
If you are interested in learning more about sound in poetry the Poetry Foundation has a great article called “Sound Makes Sense” by Camille Dungy with links to notable poems.

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: , ,
Posted in RING #1: Weekly Prompts | 32 Comments »