Origins Poetry Project

OPP Recitation Showcase - Fall 2016 - "Snapshot" Poems

About the Origins Poetry Project

Who are you? What made you the person you are today, and who do you hope to be tomorrow? 

These are the central questions guiding the Origins Poetry Project, an ongoing, multigenerational creative writing initiative that allows participants to explore conceptions of self through poetry, and to share their works alongside others from within the community.

The OPP began as a part of LifeWords Reading Circles. In Spring 2015, our LifeWords students wrote “Where I’m From” poems, a writing assignment designed to creatively present the details, memories, sensations, sayings, and objects that contributed to students’ conceptions of self.

Our experiences working on these poems prompted us to create the Origins Poetry Project. We are inviting people of all ages to join us as we work on one creative writing assignment each semester. Students will be prompted to poetically represent aspects of their past, present, and future – elements central to their concept of self.

Participants don’t need any creative writing experience and their overall goal in submitting a poem should be the sense of achievement in creating something meaningful. Our goal is to collect as many poems based on the same assignment from as many different perspectives and age groups within the community. In doing so, we hope to create a poetic snapshot of our area’s collective sense of self.

So, please join us in crafting this semester’s OPP poem! 


The basic premise of a “Snapshot Poem” is to select a picture of yourself that is personally significant and write a poem about it. Try to find one that sparks a strong emotional response in you or where tension exists between what’s shown visually and what was going on outside the frame of the picture (between the people in the picture or in your emotions, for instance.

Not sure how to get started? Take a look at our resource section for writing tips and examples.