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Prose Poem

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Writing a poem gives participants time to reflect creatively and non-linearly on a specific topic and to communicate their insights in the form of a verbal image.


Writing poetry or poetic prose can be a vehicle for expressing and exploring ideas or emotions in a way that moves beyond rational, linear, and habituated thought patterns. It is a way to engage imaginatively and playfully with one’s deeper knowing and intuitive understanding of, or response to, a topic. Verbal images and metaphors that emerge from the process can have an “anchoring” effect; that is, ideas or emotions that are typically expressed through rational thought can be more easily accessed and recalled if they are linked to a personal and visceral, or emotionally charged image.

Variation: 6-10 word story or Haiku

Limiting the number of words can stimulate creativity. Each word becomes more significant and layered with meaning.


  1. Ask the participants to write a poem (allowing for a loose interpretation of the word “poem”) about a specific scenario, theme, or feeling);
  2. Once the poems are written, ask participants to read their poems in pairs. Invite them to share an image or idea that occurred to them when listening to each other’s poem or experiences;
  3. Poems, images and ideas can be brought to the table, reconnecting everyone with the whole group;
  4. (Optional) Participants can note down keywords, emotions, or themes that emerge during the sharing and post them or write them in a designated common location (for instance, Hand Stencil Mandala or on a large sheet of paper).

Place on U
5 - 20 minutes
Materials Needed

Paper and pens; magnetic poetry or poetry dice (such as the Haiku Cubes), as an inspiration to move past creative blocks.

Disruptive Practices
Surfacing Hidden Dynamics
Cognitive Frames & Mental Models
Online Engagement
Tip and Experiences
  • Emphasize the free-form nature of the poem - that it is an intuitive exploration, not a final polished poem ready for publication. Invite participants to be surprised by their own poetic creations;
  • Provide prompts if participants have difficulties getting started;
  • If the poem is longer than one sentence or than a haiku, you can ask participants to read just one sentence to the table group.
  • If the poem is considered too personal, participants can share more general images or ideas that emerged, or reflections on the process of writing.

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