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Prompt #35, (Not) Poetry!

December 30, 2010


Thanks again to Nicole Nicholson for this delicious prompt!

(Not) Poetry!

(Not) Poetry!? What’s that mean? Read on to see…

Greetings, poem folks! For this week’s prompt, you are going to delve into the non-poetry world to create poetry. Specifically, you’ll be constructing a cento, or patchwork poem (of sorts) from already existing published works – but here’s the catch: you cannot pull your material from poetry books.

So what will you be constructing your poems from? Anything else. Grab lines from holy writings (or writings held to be holy by any group of people): for example, the Bible, the Quran, or the Talmud are all fair game. So are philosophy books (think Aristotle, Nietzsche, Heidegger, etc.) Any other non-fiction books (autobiographies, self-help books, etc.) are fair game. Even fiction books are fair game: if you want to construct a poem from sentences taken out of Dorian Gray, a Harry Potter book, or even a bodice-ripper, knock yourself out. Some works will blur the line: for example, the Bhagavad Gita, which is written in verse forms, as well as the Psalms from the Bible/Torah would fall into the category, but you are still free to use them.

Here are the other guidelines for this prompt:

** Please use complete sentences. The only exception in this case is if you use a sentence which occurs before or after a semi-colon.
** Use all of your lines from the same work. (Of course, you can write more than one poem for this prompt, using lines from a different work.)
** Make sure you attribute the source of your lines.
** You are free to break a sentence into multiple lines if you so choose. HOWEVER, for the spirit of this exercise, please do not use a single sentence and break it up to form an entire poem. If you do short forms (like haiku or tanka), you may opt to use a combination of short sentences to get the effect you desire, and break lines as appropriate.

Have fun poeming!

Come back next Wednesday when you see,It’s Post Your Poems Day!” and leave a link to the poem on your blog. If you don’t have a blog, then please, post your poem in the comment itself.    ***    You are invited to respond to the prompt given here, but if you have something else you’re just itching to share, please feel welcome in doing that. Our first desire here is to encourage you to write and learn and share.    ***    When leaving comments to other’s poems, please be appreciative and encouraging. We are not a poem “critique” site (unless someone specifically asks for that). Be kind with each other (and yourself!).    ***    Please consider including a link with your blog poem back to the prompt response here at We Write Poems so that others may see and join our community. More participants do make better soup!

  1. January 6, 2011 6:27 am
    Did long time ago and was perfect to this prompt

  2. January 6, 2011 10:19 am

    I used the Bible for my first line, which was also the title & the inspiration for the rest of the poem. For those who wondered, the last stanza’s were not direct quotes, but I
    did wander around in the Bible & found inspiration there. I have also been interested in the save the earth” movements & I belong to the Leibowitz Society & others because I am worried about the future of my grandchildren
    so all of that was also an influence.


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