Saturday, March 19, 2011

Poetry Prompt #48 – Reality TV

Reality television is a popular TV genre that presents supposedly unscripted dramatic or humorous situations, documents real events, hosts competitions, and features both ordinary people and stars.

Interestingly, a recent SAT test contained an essay prompt that asked students to write about reality TV. (Article)  This "pop culture prompt" generated discussion in the media, and made me think that it might be interesting to try something similar for a poetry prompt. Have you ever watched a reality TV show? Do you watch one regularly? Take a moment and think about your life (family, work, friends, leisure activities) in the context of a TV reality show. Is there anything in your life that you might compare to  "American Idol," "Dancing with the Stars," "The Bachelor," “Real Housewives,” or any other reality show? (Reality TV Shows)

Your poem:

1. Imagine your life as a reality show in which you're the star.

2. Who are your "supporting actors?"

3. Write the script for an episode in the form of a poem (or experiment with prose poem form, see prompt #47). Be creative with this. Design your own format. Base the episode on something that really happened, an actual life experience that you've had. You may be serious or funny.

If the reality show prompt doesn't quite do it for you, here are a few options to consider:

1. Write a poem about the ways in which your life resembles a sit com.

2. Write a poem about television. Read "To Television" by Robert Pinsky and "Watching Television" by Robert Bly.

3. Write a poem about a particular television program that you either enjoy or dislike.

4. Write a poem in which you make parallels between a television program and your own life.

5. Go in the opposite direction! Forget about reality and write a poem based on your idea for a television fantasy.


  1. Hey, Adele, how about a reality show for poets? "Writing with the Poets" (after "Dancing with the Stars"), or "The Poet" (after "The Bachelor")?

    Thanks for another interesting prompt!


  2. Hi, Jamie,

    Thanks for your comment! Yes, imagine a reality show for poets!

  3. Great illustration! (Might be interesting to write about that!)

  4. Thanks, Bob! Photo editing software rocks!

    The photo DOES suggest TV fantasy...