Writing Prompt: Spirit of Place

Writing Prompt–Spirit of Place (by Valerie Fox)

Here’s an exercise for writing about a place. Choose a place that’s important to you (emotionally resonant) or simply very memorable.

Step 1
Make a list of questions (10 plus) about each of the following:

Your town or hometown
One or more houses you have lived in
One room in the house (or each of the houses) you have lived in)

Answer these questions in detail.

Step 2
Locate one or more artifacts relating to your writing.
Include words and descriptions based on this in your next draft of your poem.

Step 3
After some time has passed, return to your writing. Try to convey the sense of the place through the language and syntax of your poem. Try to reorganize the ideas, stanzas, or images. (Try something completely different from the original order.)

For discussion–
How is the spirit of place being hinted at or pictured?
Are you using place names and other proper nouns? If so, how and why?

Here’s a phenomenal resource, the Poetry Atlas, for writers and teachers:

“Instructions for Wheel of Life” (by Madeline Fox)

Instructions for Wheel of Life

The Object:

The object of this game is to live a normal life, to stay on the wheel. You must successfully reach the center of the wheel without landing on a space that tells you that you drank the water.

How to set up:

To set up this game follow the following instructions. Only five people can play this game, so take as many game pieces as players, and put them on start. Then take the cards and put them on the rectangular shape labeled cards. You are now ready to play.

Getting started:

To get started, pick someone to go first. That person will then take the top card from the card pile. The card will have a number on it. Whatever number is on the card, the player moves that many spaces. Move clockwise around the circle giving everyone a turn. Once around the circle, keep going.


There are three different types of spaces–blank spaces, move spaces, and water spaces. If you land on a blank space, you don’t have to do anything but wait till your next turn. If you land on a move space, then just move to where the space tells you to and wait for your next turn. If you land on a water space, then it means you drank the water. If you land on one of these spaces, you must locate your piece to the area on the board labeled spring.

How to win:

To win you must successfully reach the center of the wheel first.

Writing by Madeline Fox (age 10). Used by permission of the author. This writing relates to a book aimed at young people. Maybe you can guess the book.

Musehouse Afternoon Workshop (Jan. 11, 18, 25, and Feb. 1)

Prompt-based Poetry Writing Workshop at Musehouse, in Mt. Airy

Valerie Fox will be facilitating a four-week workshop meeting January 11, 18, 25, and Feb. 1. The workshop meets from 2-3:30 at the Musehouse Literary Arts Center.
For more information on this and other Musehouse offerings, check out their winter catalog.

Click to access Musehouse_Winter_2014.pdf

Hanoch Guy is offering a poetry-writing workshop at the same time and place on the four Saturdays following Fox’s workshop, in case you are interested in combining the two for an eight week course.