Writing Prompt

(You all should’ve seen this coming).

Today, I want to look at the how to go about crafting a poetic journalism poem. The key, in my mind, to this poem is to eliminate the “I” in the poem. The author should be concentrating on not the personal reaction to the event, location, or person but letting the chosen object tell the story. The author must also stay away from narration. I think that is another key to moving poetry into the creative nonfiction field; this staying away from the narrative poem.


I want you today go after something that is real familiar to you. Maybe on a walk today, you see an abandoned building, or an overgrown fenced in parking lot, a store that closed its doors. Find something you’ve walked by a million times but never gave it a second glance.

Then, start doing research on the building (or whatever you’ve picked). Try: to find newspaper articles about it, look up the town history, see if anyone who remembers what the building used to be is still around and is willing to talk to you about its history.

After you have your research done, then develop the time line of the building.

Once you have that, start writing.

It will probably come out as paragraphs and that is more than fine. Take your sentences and start chopping them up into stanzas. Look at your end words; look at your punctuation. Start sharpening your verbs and nouns. Eliminate adverbs and sharpen the adjectives.


Oscar Wilde once said bad poetry comes from real emotion. I have three journals of teen angst poetry that proves Wilde’s point. There were plenty of emotions raging through those words I set down on paper; however, those words and line breaks did not make a poem.


Today’s writing prompt looks at the world of emotion that lies within your drafts of poems.

Take something that has an emotional charge for you. It might be a letter, an email, a picture, or a song, but whatever it is, I want you to get it and look (or listen) to it.

For about ten minutes, just write everything that comes to mind about this object.

Now, go deeper. Take the next five minutes and write your reaction to the object.

What you will do next is take a word inventory from your free write. Look for categories you can name and put the actual word you used in the category. Now, look at the categories and look for the one you have the most words filled into the category. In this, what you are doing is finding the true emotion you have associated with this object.

Take the three words that stand out to you the most and weave them into a metaphor for the object. Use only one metaphor (anything else will clog up your poem).