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  • Christine Delea

You Are There: Poetry Prompt

From 1953 to 1972, Walter Cronkite hosted a historical reenactment show which treated events such as the Boston Tea Party, The Burning of Rome, and Belle Starr's trial as if they were current news stories; journalists would interview participants as the event was occurring. I watched this show throughout the 1960s--it was geared towards kids and was educational and entertaining, and it did make its audience feel as if they were there watching Vesuvius erupt, seeing Susan B. Anthony, or hearing jazz music get its start. I wish someone would remake it.


This week's prompt takes its cue from You Are There and the poem by Louise Erdrich. Write a poem in which the speaker is a participant in some historical event. It does not need to be a huge event or a traumatic event. Do some research, if you like, but focus on the speaker's perspective rather than facts.


Here are a few more poems based in history to use for inspiration:


1969 by Alex Dimitrov at Poetry Out Loud

Runagate Runagate by Robert Hayden at Poetry Foundation

Helen by H.D. at Poetry Foundation

The Meaning of the Shovel by Martín Espada at Poetry Foundation





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