Poetry Prompt: Independence Day (Still Life)


This post is part of a series of weekly found poetry prompts. If you have an idea for a found poetry source, email Senior Poetry Editor Beth Ayer.

Independence Day in the United States commemorates the adoption of the Declaration of Independence with patriotic displays, hotdogs, fireworks, hotdogs, barbeques, patriotic displays, fireworks, parades, political speeches, fireworks, patriotic songs, and a red, white and blue painted center line if you happen to be Bristol, RI—home of the oldest 4th of July celebration in the country. And salads, and fireworks.

In years past, we have offered the Declaration of Independence as poetry source material. This year, our prompt aims at something more broad: a sort of potpourri of July 4th related things. Find a text or texts relating to the July 4th feature of your choice. Taken together, the poems in response to this prompt might create a mise-en-scène for the coming weekend. That’s the idea, anyway.


Focus on a feature that helps set the scene for the July 4th holiday. For example, “lawn chair.” Select a related source text and write a poem using words and phrases found within.

Your feature/source text could be anything from the packaging on your hotdogs to a 4th of July political speech to an overheard conversation in the sun on the side of the parade route–or?).

As always, please do share your poem in the comments!

1 Comment

  • July 11, 2015

    Del Doughty


    People, people, people shot,
    a seven-year-old boy who died;
    it’s always someone else’s fault–
    the Fourth Amendment of July.

    Source: Emily Shapiro and Alex Perez, “Dozens of Shootings in 1 Weekend: A Look at Chicago’s Gun Problem.” ABC News, July 7, 2015.