Friday, April 15, 2011

Creative Writing Prompts with Kelli Russell Agodon

Look!  It's a lonely cloud wantering! 
Photo "Cloud and Trees" by Rcaucino |

Many thanks to Kelli Russell Agodon, on of my favorite poets and bloggers, for being our guest prompter today.  The creative writing prompts she offers should keep you writing throughout the weekend. 

Today's Creative Writing Prompts:  April 15th

 This Day in History
by Kelli Russell Agodon

Throughout the years, this has been a pretty busy day in history—

On this day in 1452, Leonardo da Vinci was born.

In 1802, William Wordsworth and his sister, Dorothy see a "long belt" of daffodils, inspiring the former to pen I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud.

In 1865, President Abraham Lincoln died after being shot the previous evening by John Wilkes Booth.

In 1912, the Titanic sinks killing 1517 passengers and crew at 2:20 am in the morning, 2 ½ hours after hitting an iceberg in the North Atlantic.

In 1947, Jackie Robinson debuts for the Brooklyn Dodgers, breaking baseball's color line.

In 1983, the Tokyo Disney Resort opens in Japan.

And every April 15th in the United States is Tax Day.

And now for your writing prompts—

Creative Nonfiction Prompt: Chose one of these events and write about your connection or relationship to it, and more specifically, how it changed you.  It could be a particularly frustrating tax year or missing receipts that made you take your record-keeping more seriously or maybe it’s an emotional visit the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC.  Whatever you choose is fine, but write an essay about how one of these events changed something for you.

Fiction Writing Prompt:  Choose two of these events and weave them together in a story.  Maybe your character is at Tokyo Disney trying to remember the lines to Wordsworth poem.  Or maybe your character while doing his taxes in the present is visited by Jackie Robinson.  Find two events and connect them somehow while having your main character want to learn something, but be struggling to find what s/he needs.

Poetry Writing Prompt:  Choose three of these events and work them into a poem about something that circles or is circular in shape.  Begin with the line, “On another day…”

Journal Writing/Free Write Prompt:  Choose all of these events and write from top to bottom of the list flowing through the different events in history.  As you write, think about yourself and what you wish you knew about these events, moving from one event to another.  

On all the prompts, have fun and don’t take yourself too seriously.  Just allow things to happen and realize, you can go back later to revise.  Now is just the time to generate work.

Have fun!

Kelli Russell Agodon is the author Letters from the Emily Dickinson Room, winner of the White Pine Press Poetry Prize, which is currently a finalist for the Foreword Book of the Year Award in Poetry.  She is also the author of Small Knots (2004) and the chapbook, Geography.  Kelli lives in Washington State with her family where she is an avid mountain biker as well as the co-editor of Seattle’s 28-year-old print literary journal, Crab Creek Review, and the co-founder of Two Sylvias Press.  You can find her blogging at Book of Kells, where she writes about living and writing creatively: or visit her website at:


(Geography is also a book of poems by Kelli Russel Agodon.)

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for putting together this blog. And thanks to Kelli for this great writing prompt. I plan to use it for myself and for my students too!


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