Saturday, May 23, 2015

Prompt # 223 – Person, Time, and Place

This week’s prompt deals with a particular memory and how you write that memory into a poem. There are three main components: when the event occurred (time), who the key player other than yourself was (person), and where the event happened (place).


1. First, think of a person who has been important in your life. This may be someone with whom you’re still in contact or someone who is no longer part of your life. Select only one person.

2. Then, spend time thinking about that person and one special occasion or event related to him or her.

3. Next, think about the time the event happened (season, month, date, time of day—you don’t have to include all of these, just enough to provide a sense of “when”).

4. Now, identify the place where the event occurred.

5. Move forward to jotting down some images that connect you back to your person and time. You may want to free write for a bit or perhaps just begin with a list of memories.

6. Work from step 5 to focus on specific details (remember not to overload your poem with too many), and let your poem begin to take shape.


1. Decide what type of poem you want to write: narrative, lyric, prose, etc.

2. After you’ve gotten your first draft ready for editing, look for overuse of adjectives, prepositional phrases you can delete, “ing” endings, and too many articles and conjunctions.

3. Decide whether you want to write in the first person or possibly the third. Which will give the poem greater power?

4. Decide on stanzas—do you want to divide the lines into stanzas, or would you prefer to use stichic format.

5. As you near your finished poem, consider how your memory, your, person, and your event might move beyond the personal into the universal. How will potential readers relate to your poem?

6. How does your poem reveal, connect, and surprise?


  1. A nice follow-up or extension of last week's "Sense or Place."

  2. Amita Jayaraman (Mumbai)May 25, 2015 at 7:37 AM

    We all have such moments, and what a great idea for inspiring poems. Thank you, Adele.

    1. Thanks for commenting, Amita! So glad you liked the prompt.

  3. With the semester over, I'm saving the links to the summer prompts! Thanks, as always.

    1. Hi, Rich—thanks for your comment. Enjoy the summer break!

  4. I love the images you use at the top of every post -- always something to think about and connect. (Love the prompts too, of course.)

    1. Thanks, Sandy! Most of the time, I use a royalty free image site that always has something appropriate.