Monday, May 23, 2011

"I AM" Poetry Prompt

© Carlos Sanchez Pereyra |

For today's free-write prompt, you can write anything that comes from the picture.  Time yourself for 5 minutes and write without stopping. 

And now, I am going to encourage everybody to try their hand at a poetry prompt today.  I have used the "I AM" poetry exercise over the years with children and adults, and this is something that everyone can do.  You can use this prompt again and again, and you will get something different every time because we are always in a different spot at different phases of our lives.  I have suggested that people do this poem every year to mark the celebration of their birthdays. 

I was happy to see that Ted Kooser featured an example of the "I AM" poem in his column a few weeks ago. The form is below, and below that the form, I have inserted the Kooser article with an example "I AM" poem.  Please feel free to post part of your poem (or all of it) in the comment section today.


I AM POEM (fill in the blacks with the directions.  Be as unusual as you dare!)

I am     (Two special characteristics you have)
I wonder     (something you are actually be curious about)
I hear     (an imaginary or actual sound)
I see     (an imaginary or actual sight)
I want     (a desire)
I am     (the first line of the poem is repeated)
I pretend     (something you actually pretend to do)
I feel     (Something imaginary)
I touch     (an imaginary touch)
I worry     (something that really worries you)
I cry     (something that makes you sad)
I am     (the first line of the poem is repeated)
I understand     (something you know to be true)
I say     (something you believe in)
I dream     (something you actually dream about)
I try     (something you make an effort to do)
I hope     (something you hope for)
I am     (the first line of the poem repeated)

American Life in Poetry: Column 319
Here’s a poem in which eight-year-old Ava Schicke, who lives in Omaha, Nebraska, tells us just who she is and what she thinks.

I am

I am a daughter and a sister.
I wonder when I will die.
I hear the warm weather coming.
I see stars in the day.
I want to learn my whole ballet dance.
I am a daughter and a sister.

I pretend to be a teacher at home.
I feel like I am a teacher.
I touch hands that are growing.
I worry that I will never change.
I cry when something or someone dies.
I am a daughter and a sister.

I understand that teachers work hard for students.
I say that I don’t like bullies.
I dream about me not moving while trying really hard to run.
I try to become a good friend.
I hope that there is no more dying or killing.
I am a daughter and a sister.


  1. Love this idea! I'm a very big fan of both Ted Kooser and free-writing. The next time I teach poetry I might borrow this idea. Thanks!

  2. I am open to life and to love.
    I wonder if that's enough to go on.
    I hear people type type typing.
    I see them lose sight of what matters.
    I want -always- to be free and wanted.
    I am open to life and to love.

    I pretend not to be heartbroken.
    I feel a duty to survive.
    I touch many with my words, but
    I worry they won't take notice.
    I cry because nothing's ever enough.
    I am open to life and to love.

    I understand that words are easily forgotten.
    I say that what matters most is passion.
    I dream of those worlds and-
    I try to show how much they promise.
    I hope you'll see my heart
    I am open to life and to love.

  3. Thank you, Lyn Midnight! I certainly do see your heart in this poem.

  4. I am Artistic
    I wonder if I’m wonderful
    I hear Voices in my head
    I see My wonderful mother
    I want A Normal Life
    I am Artistic

    I pretend I’m happy
    I feel Special
    I touch Everyone’s Heart
    I worry About My Family
    I cry For everyone
    I am Artistic

    I understand Myself
    I say “I Love you” Too much
    I dream About a good life
    I try to love
    I hope I Don't Lose Anyone
    I am Artistic

  5. I AM

    I am a quiet and observant soul.
    I wonder if people understand that.
    I hear things that I shouldn’t.
    I see right through them.
    I want hide from them.
    I am a quiet and observant soul.

    I pretend not to hear them.
    I feel their voices on the back of my neck.
    I touch their thoughts with mine.
    I worry that they’ll find out.
    I cry for those harmed souls.
    I am a quiet and observant soul.

    I understand that they hurt
    I say that they can’t take it out on others.
    I dream that they’ll learn that.
    I try to help, even if they don’t want it.
    I hope they get the help they need.
    I am a quiet and observant soul.


I only ask that all comments be polite and constructive.