Allowed & Aloud prompts

Written by Bohdan Piaceski especially for this project


  1. Think of something you loved in your childhood home. A physical object, something you can touch. Write it down here.
  2. What did you love about the thing you chose? Write down five things about it.
  3. Finally, write a very short poem which compares your home to that object, using the features you just wrote down. Begin with My home is like [object]

Prompt 1 Example poem:

  1. My bed
  2. Warm, safe, where I go to hide, where I read stories in secret, too small for me now.
  3. My home is like my childhood bed: / it was warm and safe / but it’s too small for me now.


  1. How do you feel today? Write it down here in two or three words.
  2. If someone looked at you, how could they guess how you feel? What could they see?
  3. Write a very short self-portrait poem describing yourself using notes from point 2 (it’s fine to only use some of them, and change them if you like), and give it a title “Self Portrait With [whatever you wrote in point 1]

Prompt 1 Example poem:

  1. Sleep-deprived
  2. I have two empty coffee cups on the table as I write. I speak too fast but don’t make a lot of sense. I have read the first sentence of this email five times now and still not understood it. My body feels twice as heavy. 
  3. Self-Portrait with Sleep Deprivation: I say a lot / And mean very little / My eyelids have more weight / Than an unread email / Even the coffee / Is tired of me


  1. What is a word you know that you wish existed in English?
  2. Can you explain what it means? Include all the meanings if there is more than one. 
  3. Using the definitions as a starting point, write a short poem that combines all the meanings or illustrate why the word feels special to you. Use your word as the title. 

Prompt 3 Example poem:

  1. Szum (Polish)
  2. The sound made by a broken radio, a wave, a distant crowd, the wind in tree branches.
  3. Szum: / My son says / the radio in the car / sounds like the sea / when we go through a tunnel / I wish I could tell him / why this brings to mind / willows and faraway crowds