This paper proposes classes of intertemporal poverty measures which take into account both the debilitating impact of prolonged spells in poverty and the mitigating effect of periods of affluence on subsequent poverty. The weight assigned to the level of poverty in each time period depends on the length of the preceding spell of poverty or of non-poverty. The proposed classes of intertemporal poverty measures are quite general and allow for a range of possible judgements as to the overall impact on a poor period of preceding spells of poverty or affluence. We discuss the properties of the proposed classes of measures and axiomatically characterize these measures. © 2012 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.