Saturday, June 22, 2013

Prompt #151 – Personal Ad Poem

In journalism, the personals section is comprised of brief, private notices in newspapers or magazines. Typically printed in a special part of the classified advertising section, “personals” are sometimes addressed to a particular person and are sometimes “coded” to provide confidentiality. In most media, the personals section is a place for people to connect. People  list their positive attributes, best qualities, and/or interests, along with contact information in the hope of meeting a significant other or just making friends with a similar-minded someone. Online dating sites have eclipsed the old personal columns to some extent, but they’re still found in many newspapers. For this prompt, write a poem for the personals sections of a newspaper. Have fun with this! 


Begin with a persona (either your actual persona or a fictional one).

Try beginning with the word “You” in the title (headline) to engage the reader. 

Include something like this: Unknown poet seeks appreciative and nonjudgmental reader who can read between the lines.

Ask a question, again engaging the reader.

Note your gender and age. Tell what's important to you.

If you're writing about yourself, be honest, but step out of your box a little.

List your attributes (be sure to exaggerate). Show the personality in the ad, don't tell about it.

Address the reader with a challenge to think about something that requires use of his or her imagination. i.e., Imagine ______________. 

Describe the person you'd like to meet.



  1. Love it, Adele! Another option might be to write from the persona of a famous person (current or from the past). Imagine a personal ad written by Beau Brummell or Jack the Ripper?

    1. Great idea, Jamie! Thanks for sharing it. (Hmmm, what would Jack include in his ad?)

  2. This is a prompt for poets to have fun with. Great idea.

  3. Be
    Do you want
    to be
    with me
    Just be

    1. Risa,

      Right to the point—would have to catch someone's attention!

      Thanks so much for sharing.

    2. If I were looking through the personals and saw your poem, I'd definitely think, "Hmmm, an existential lady, maybe, Zen, maybe Buddhist. A no-nonsense person."

    3. Spot on, Risa!

  4. Máire Ó Cathail (Ireland)June 26, 2013 at 11:47 AM

    Hello, Adele,

    Just dropping by for a quick visit and with my compliments on your always-wonderful blog. I so enjoy the prompts and the poems posted as comments (Risa, Jago, and all the others).

    Sending all of you greetings from "the other side of the pond."

    Máire Ó Cathail (Ireland)

    1. Hi, Maire,

      It's always great to hear from you. Thanks so much for the kind words.

  5. I just found your blog and wanted to say how great it is. I'm a high school student, and everything posted here seems to be useful for both adults and younger writers, experienced and novice alike.

    Thank you!


    (Now, if I can only figure out how to post this.)

    1. Welcome, Cara! Thanks for your comment. I'm so happy to hear that you're finding the prompts useful.

  6. Having read this I believed it was very enlightening.
    I appreciate you taking the time and energy to put this article
    together. I once again find myself spending a significant amount of time both reading and commenting.
    But so what, it was still worthwhile!

    my blog: novo line spiele; ,

    1. Thanks for your comment! I'm so glad you're enjoying the blog.