Zumwalt Poems Online

Wednesday Poetry Challenge #2

With this challenge, you take the prose selection you reformatted for Challenge #1 and convert it into a poem, based on your definition of poem.

For example,

If you found the following prose selection initially:

Time has come for us to leave this island: a way to do such must be discovered.

and reformatted it to

Time has come
for us to leave this island:
a way to do such
must be discovered.

Then your next step is to convert from poetic prose to pure poem.

What is a poem?  What is poetry?  This is based on your own definition and sense of aesthetics.

You may chose to convert the text into poetry by imposing regular meter on the text:

We seek a ship to sail us from this place
And steer us on a course that takes us home

or maybe both meter and rhyme:

We seek a ship to sail us from this shore
to take us to the home we knew before

or maybe you are more inclined to an expressive open style:

Like the restless heart
Informing us
We must move on —
Leave this island.

Taking the example from the opening of Theodor Dreiser’s American Tragedy:

Dusk–of a summer night.

And the tall walls of the commercial heart of an American city of perhaps 400,000 inhabitants–such walls as in time may linger as a mere fable.

And up the broad street, now comparatively hushed, a little band of six,–a man of about fifty, short, stout, with bushy hair protruding from under a round black felt hat, a most unimportant-looking person, who carried a small portable organ such as is customarily used by street preachers and singers.  And with him a woman perhaps five years his junior, taller, not so broad, but solid of frame and vigorous, very plain in face and dress, and yet not homely, leading with one hand a small boy of seven and in the other carrying a Bible and several hymn books.  With these three, but walking independently behind, was a girl of fifteen, a boy of twelve and another girl of nine, all following obediently, but not too enthusiastically, in the wake of the others.

might become

Beneath the dusk some summer night
the stretched up walls of citizens:
such walls in time as lingering tales.

And up a nearby spacious street,
hushed compared to others near,
now walks a little band of six, —
a male past fifty, short and stout,
with  hair extending shyly out
from black felt hat tilting east,
an average man, a normal man
with music from an accordion.

And at his right side walks a woman
perhaps five years still his junior,
taller, well-figured, not so broad,
but solid of frame and vigorous,
very plain in face and dress,
and yet attractive in modest ways,
leading with her hand a boy of seven
her other led by hymns and Gospel.


So simply take your formatted text from the last challenge and rework it to meet your standards for poetry. You can stop when you consider it to be a poem (as above examples), or keep working it until you consider it a good or even excellent poem.

For additional details, please reference to Challenge #1  and Wednesday Poetry Challenge Introduction.

There is no time limit here, these challenges are open until site is forcibly closed down.

To link to you post



1.  Click on green “Mister Linky” link above.

2. Enter the URL (address of response not of your website) of your post or page that has your response to this challenge. (The poem you created from the prose you selected.)

3. For this challenge, take your reformatted passage from a novel, short story or essay and add, modify and add words to keep same general meaning but to make it a real poem based on your own definition of poetry.

4. Anyone that wishes to see anyone’s examples, can click on the Mister Linky link above to view any and all of responses.


Comments on: "Wednesday Poetry Challenge #2" (10)

  1. All done , worn out , where are all the others??


  2. willowdot21,

    I am so amazed at how quickly you did this! And yet you produced something that is high quality and just ideal for a children’s anthology of such tales.

    I really have to post your link (http://willowdot21.wordpress.com/2011/10/19/wednesday-poetry-challenge-2/#comment-485) at encourage others to be inspired!


  3. Zum, I love this idea and the examples you give. They’re so much fun to read. Also, I appreciate the open time frame – until the site is forcibly closed!!


  4. Monica,

    Thanks very mich for your comment and for exploring some of the other poems on this site!


    Zumpoems Site Administrator.


  5. hey good morning walt…this is an excellent exercise..love how you convert prose to poetry and feel challenged to give it a try…


  6. …and love your quote in the side bar…about when a poem should end..smiles


  7. claudia,

    Thanks for the comments! Would be great to see your participate! We just got an entry from Zumwalt! (See Mr. Linky for link!)


  8. nice…claudia sent me over to check you out…enjoying what i am finding…


  9. brian,

    Thanks very much! Appreciate claudia sending you here. You have a good site at http://www.waystationone.com/


  10. OMG that was a hard one but I enjoyed it!! XXXXXX


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