Saturday, March 19, 2016

Prompt #250 –Who?

Have you ever wanted to be someone other than who you are? This week, try to write a poem in which you pretend to be someone else. In other words, adopt a persona. Get out of your own head. Re-create yourself as someone you admire or someone you make up. Be anyone but yourself.


1. Give some thought to people you admire or would like to know. These may be everyday people, family members, friends, famous people, people in the news, media reporters, entertainment industry people, or sports stars.

2. You might begin by making a list of people from whom to choose. You can add brief notes to your list that include personality traits, etc. about the people you've listed.

3. Select one person and jot down some detailed things that help you get inside that person’s head.

4. Begin your first draft and see where your thoughts take you.

5. Stay focused on a particular quality of character, a particular event, or something very specific about the person you’ve chosen. Remember, you’re going to become that person for the space of your poem. You won’t write as yourself but, rather, you’ll write as the person you selected in step 3.


1. As always, show, don’t tell.  Whether the person you become is real or imagined, don’t tell abut the person—use examples of behaviors to demonstrate who that person is.

2. Work toward getting rid of pesky relative pronouns (that, which, whom, who). If you find one in your draft, try to rewrite the line without it.

3. Avoid including too many details.

4. Take out adjectives where they aren’t really necessary.

5. Stay away from prepositional phrases and “ing” endings.

6. Include the person's name somewhere in the poem. (A note at the beginning or end would be fine.)


  1. What John Betjeman Saw Along The River

    An arc of riverbank has fallen away and as if to a harbour
    the admiral on the flagship of a red-sailed fleet
    with his fellow sailors now the butterflies sailing on twigs.

    And daffodils with their trumpet head on green stilts
    the heralds of spring equal in colour to the blackbird's beak
    raps at the window of a cottage in time for
    the occupants smoked haddock and the yolk of two eggs,
    not forgetting the butter to spread on the toast.

    On the opposite bank, two women on a break for factory lunch
    to share a sour cream and onion snack
    of potato chips and watch above on a screen
    of midday blue, the clockwise spiral of the Honey-buzzard
    every second closer to the field mouse.

    The sun high over a hillside quarry cut by men
    their hammers and chisels silent now in a softer ground.
    From her oak swill basket, an old blue-eyed woman places
    flowers in vases by the cemetery's headstones.

    1. Nicely done, Lewis!

      Adele, this is an interesting prompt, a bit more searching than the typical persona poem idea. Thanks, as always, for inspiring us.

    2. Well done, Lewis! Thanks so much for sharing!