Saturday, May 21, 2016

Prompt #255 – Overheard Words

Through a typical day, wherever you are, you hear bits of conversation, news items, advertisements, and song lyrics. This week’s prompt asks you to jot down some “overheard” items and to create a poem from them by stringing them together to invent new meaning. Nothing you’ve seen written is allowed—only things heard or overheard.


1. As you go through your day, jot down any interesting snippets of conversation you hear, tidbits from phone calls you make or receive, or items heard on the radio, on TV, or on the Internet. Make a list of these. Remember: only heard things, nothing you've read.

2. Sift through your list. See if any of the lines relate to one another and what connections you can make among them. Circle or underline these on your list.

3. Using the items you selected (circled or underlined), create a poem composed entirely of those selected bits of conversation and ideas you add to them. Shuffle them around (easy when you’re composing on a computer).  Decide which will serve your poem as opening and closing lines.

4. Add or subtract words, phrases, and details as needed.


1. Organization is key in this prompt. Once you’ve decided which bits of conversation you’d like to use, work on them, adapt them to fit your content, and work toward creating a sense of imagery around them.

2. This is a very open-ended prompt. When you first spend time with the heard items selected, decide what your content will be. What do you want to say? How can you use your heard items to create a specific content?

3. Leave your readers with something to reflect upon.

4. Be wary of over-writing.


Yesterday …

You've qualified to win a free cruise to the Bahamas...
We'll  have a truck in your neighborhood 
       to collect clothing next week...

Life in the 21st century is nothing our 
grandparents would have imagined.
       I really can't stand it.

I have to make some necessary changes...
Turn right at the next corner,
       and just keep walking ...


  1. I love this idea! It's interesting to pinpoint some of the things we 'overhear'. Thanks, Adele!

    1. Thanks so much, Jamie! Sorry you had trouble posting. A couple of other readers had the same sort of thing happen. Hope it corrects itself!