Pause for Play: Poetry Prompts

In our annual Creative Aging Symposium, Jessica McCracken led Pause for Play, where we explored playful poetry prompts for a perspective shift. (How's that for alliteration?) Grab pen and paper, let's explore the prompts together!

There are some universal elements of play. One of them we learn from improv is called “Yes, and”.  One player accepts what another player has stated (yes) and the expands on that idea (and). This approach leads us down a path of rediscovery, with ideas shifting and changing along the way. Anne Basting and her work TimeSlips is a great resource and inspiration for this. The following poem exercise is actually based on her Beautiful Questions. Let's take a 'yes and' approach to this poem, building on the prompts below.

First number your page one through twelve down the side; this is a twelve-line poem. We are going to start filling in the even numbers first. There you'll find open-ended prompts that you answer how you see fit. Remember to use descriptive words and adjectives, this is a poem after all. Ok first we start with line number two.

2. Something awe-inspiring you have experienced
4. Something you are hoping to welcome more into your life
6. Something you love about spring
8. Something you love about summer
10. Something you liked to do as a kid
12. A quality you are currently growing

Next, you fill in the odd numbered lines with connecting phrases. Write these phrases as you see them here. You may want to tease it out a little, adjusting singular vs plural or a different pronoun, change a word, etc. It's your poem, have fun!

1.What if
3.Could bring me
5.For me
7.are promises of
9.What if
11.Is a path to rediscovering

Now read the whole poem all together. Wow, right?! Play helps us shift perspective. We'd love to see your completed poems! Please share with us at 

1 comment

  • I love the poetry prompt. I was at the gathering and LOVED it. Thank you for posting it. I plan to use it this week in one of my creative aging art classes. Such awesome imagery. Thank you for sharing your love of creativity and working with the wise ones.

    Karen Chilman

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