Tell it in Reverse

text reads rewind and a person holds up an undeveloped film strip

Many poems tell a personal story. Think of one of your own that you’d like to tell. Does it have a crucial moment that you want to build up to?

For this exercise, identify the crucial moment and instead of working up to it, state it right away. Now step backward, with lines about what led up to that moment, getting further and further away in time. You might find it helpful to draw a map or a timeline.

How far back does your poem stretch? It could go back just 5 minutes or to the Age of the Dinosaurs—it’s up to you!

When you’ve gone all the way back to your beginning, turn around and tell the story in the other direction. Which do you like best? Maybe you’ll keep both.

Start here: