Poetry Writing Prompts 2021

April 29, 2021: Poetry Writing Prompt – Peggy Dobreer

This poetry writing prompt submitted by Peggy Dobreer:

This prompt is inspired by 1.) the moment in The Octopus Teacher when she attaches herself to his chest and he muses about not knowing it would be the last time they made contact. (hmmm, like what would he do differently if he knew?)  And 2.) the difference between straight descriptive/instructive language (like directions for Microsoft) and the sublime, artistic language of tenderness.

1. First you have to see the movie. Highly recommended for all sentient beings anyway, so I don’t feel bad about the added homework. You will thank me if you haven’t seen it. I promise. If you have, you will surely remember this stunning moment in the film. Feel into its tenderness and gentle communication. Recall tenderness in different parts of your body. Its scent and texture, colors and sensation.

2. Look around your writing area and select an item that holds a feeling of tenderness, or gentleness, either because of the way it is used or with whom you associate it.

3. Write two…  three to four-minute free writes. The first is simply, a perfunctory, clinical, if you will, description of the item you selected.  The second is a treatise on its tenderness, in the voice of the object.

4. Finally your mission, should you decide to accept it…..is to write a poem that takes the material from both free writes and shuffles them together to make a single poem. How would you communicate, if you knew it would be the last communication remembered forever?  That said, I wish you communications you will always want to be remembered by. After all, we know how significant the last line of any poem is to its entire experience.

You may change tenses or syntax if necessary in the final poem. And you may eliminate anything that no longer fits….but trust that everything you need for your final poem is already there.

If you write a poem please post it here or better yet….drop in any morning M-F and read it live. Happy writing.

If you write a poem from this prompt, post it as a comment underneath the prompt in the Poetry Super Highway Facebook Group.

April 10, 2021: Poetry Writing Prompt – Brendan Constantine

This poetry writing prompt submitted by Brendan Constantine:

THE LAZY AFTERNOON PROMPT

You’d love to write a poem right now but this chair feels really good. The only thing that could make this better would be something to eat and maybe a drink. And then a massage. Nothing intense, just a little contact on those shoulders, the back of your neck. This would also be a good time to watch all the episodes of that show you like, the one about the girl in the place with the thing. Without too much effort, compose a poem in which you tell us about anything else you’d rather be doing.  “It’s so good not comparing the rain to anything just now…”

If you write a poem from this prompt, post it as a comment underneath the prompt in the Poetry Super Highway Facebook Group.

April 30, 2021: Poetry Writing Prompt – Lynne Thompson

This poetry writing prompt submitted by Lynne Thompson:

Writing Prompt — Reimagine Your Days:

  • write a poem about yesterday that uses the word “possum” or
  • write a poem about today that uses the word “ramen” or
  • write a poem about tomorrow that uses the word “orthopedist”

If you write a poem from this prompt, post it as a comment underneath the prompt in the Poetry Super Highway Facebook Group.

April 20, 2021: Poetry Writing Prompt – Bill Mohr

This poetry writing prompt submitted by Bill Mohr:

Reverse that Ending and Rev Up the Chiasms

The Backflip Poetry Prompt: Imagination’s Reversal Strategy

Anyone who has ever taken a creative writing course with me knows how much I dislike “prompts.” I have read very few poems written by assignment that have the necessary duende to stand on their own feet.

However, the allusion in Cornelius Eady’s poem “Sherbet,” in The Best of Crazyhorse, to Langston Hughes’s poem about Harlem led me to consider the following prompt: end a poem with the same word that a famous poem concludes with, except you Frame it in the negative. Eady ends his poem with “explode,” except that it is framed as “can’t …. explode.”

A similar approach is to consider any statement, especially at the end of a poem, for the possibility of extending into a chiasm. One obvious example is the ending of James Tate’s “The Lost Pilot.” This is not a matter of “inspiration,” I tell my students, who are almost always unfamiliar with this rhetorical construction. One must simply grow into the discipline of asking oneself if such a reversal is possible, and does it nurture the negative capability of the poem’s endeavor.

The Best of Crazyhorse: Thirty Years of Poetry and Fiction, edited by David Jauss (Fayetteville, Arkansas: The University of Arkansas Press, 1990). Eady’s poem can be found on pages 131 through 133.

If you write a poem from this prompt, post it as a comment underneath the prompt in the Poetry Super Highway Facebook Group.

April 1, 2021: Poetry Writing Prompt – Robert Wynne

This poetry writing prompt submitted by Robert Wynne:

Pick an object where you live, and write a poem in the voice of that object describing how they spent this last year, during the pandemic.  Think about “What I Did Last Summer” type of essays you may have written in school.  How did the events of the past year impact this object?  Are there any aspects of the past year that the object particularly liked or disliked, and if so why?  What does the object think about you, and your behavior over the past year?  Feel free to use humor.

If you write a poem from this prompt, post it as a comment underneath the prompt in the Poetry Super Highway Facebook Group.
#napowrimo #poetry

April 22, 2021: Poetry Writing Prompt – Alex Phuong

This poetry writing prompt submitted by Alex Phuong:

William Shakespeare is famous for his sonnets.  For this poetic exercise, please try to write a Shakespearean sonnet about a Shakespearean sonnet.  Thank you, and happy writing!

If you write a poem from this prompt, post it as a comment underneath the prompt in the Poetry Super Highway Facebook Group.

April 19, 2021: Poetry Writing Prompt – Cindy Bousquet Harris

This poetry writing prompt submitted by Cindy Bousquet Harris:

Choose one (or more) of the following prompts and write what comes to mind, heart, feet, soul:

If the moon could tap dance…

(Would it make a sound? What music is it dancing to? Where did it find tap shoes? What effect does it have on you?)

If rivers could wish…

(What would they wish for? Or have they already? Do they ever get tired of being wet? How about when something jumps in, falls in, takes something from them?)

If sunset could tell you…

(A truth beyond the horizon? Is it hard to say goodbye? What does it know that you don’t? How has it tried to tell you?)

_____________

If you write a poem from this prompt, post it as a comment underneath the prompt in the Poetry Super Highway Facebook Group.

April 11, 2021: Poetry Writing Prompt – Kath Abela Wilson

This poetry writing prompt submitted by Kath Abela Wilson:

A few years ago I discovered one of my favorite writing exercises: . Try writing a cherita.  Cherita is the Malay word for story or tale. It is a little 6 line story.

Try writing a single stanza of a one-line verse

followed by a two-line verse,

and then finishing with a three-line verse

Here is a sample by ai li who created the form in 1997, in memory of her grandparents who were raconteurs extraordinaire.

i find one cloud

in the sky
to describe my loneliness

all this blue
and no one
to share it with

 

ai li

It can be written solo or with up to three partners. It has the feeling of beginning middle and finale. If you write a one line beginning, then pass to friend the write 2 lines  developmevnt,, You can finish with 3 lines.

You can find samples and even a journal you can submit your little stories here:

 

​​https://www.thecherita.com/

÷

If you write a poem from this prompt, post it as a comment underneath the prompt in the Poetry Super Highway Facebook Group.

April 18, 2021: Poetry Writing Prompt – Michael Griffith

This poetry writing prompt submitted by Michael Griffith:

Write a Menu Poem.

Literally.

Model a poem after a menu of a restaurant you frequent or one from your imagination.

Pepper it with real-word or fantastic foods, animals, celebrities, colors, musical instruments…

As a menu does, it would guide a reader in ordering a meal from appetizers, salads and soups, entrees, specials, desserts, and drinks.

So, part 1 becomes the fun of creating this faux menu.  Part 2 is to have your poem make some sort of sense. Do you wish to make some point, say something deep about the human condition, lo0nlieness (a meal for one), be fanciful or serious?

Variants:

A GPS trip as poem

The contents of a suitcase before or after a vacation  as a poem

A shopping list as a poem

Any of these prompts act as a creativity spark, but try to go beyond a simple list poem and come at your poem’s “things” with a message, some deeper meaning by its end. “Deeper” need not be “serious,” either.

If you write a poem from this prompt, post it as a comment underneath the prompt in the Poetry Super Highway Facebook Group.

April 2, 2021: Poetry Writing Prompt – LindaAnn LoSchiavo

This poetry writing prompt submitted by LindaAnn LoSchiavo:

Imagine you are piloting a Mars Rover — just as all the other astronauts in your team blast off from the planet Mars,  leaving you behind (as in the film “The Martian”). What do you see? What do you miss about home? What is your last message to your family and friends on Earth?

If you write a poem from this prompt, post it as a comment underneath the prompt in the Poetry Super Highway Facebook Group.
#napowrimo #poetry

April 17, 2021: Poetry Writing Prompt – Jake Aller

This poetry writing prompt submitted by Jake Aller:

Write a poem about a life-changing dream.  My example follows:

In 1974, I began having a recurring dream that lasted until 1982.  in my dream, I saw the most beautiful woman in the world standing next to me speaking to me in a weird language. Then she despaired from my dream.  She haunted my dreams until I met her in 1982 when she walked off a bus in South Korea. We got married two months later and have been together since.

If you write a poem from this prompt, post it as a comment underneath the prompt in the Poetry Super Highway Facebook Group.

April 16, 2021: Poetry Writing Prompt – Sue Fagalde Lick

This poetry writing prompt submitted by Sue Fagalde Lick:

If a stranger were to watch you through your window right now, what would they see and what would they say about it? Paint us a verbal picture. Play around with the point of view. You can be the observer describing what he/she sees in a third-person report, or switch it around to first or second person.

One of my attempts:

Surveillance Report

Lights go on at 6:15.
I see her in the kitchen.
Then she disappears.

7:02 at the table, gray robe,
reading, fire in the pellet stove,
dog sprawled on the loveseat.

Our records show she’s 68,
widowed, no kids, alone.
She plays piano at church.

Website, blog, Facebook.
Huh. A writer. Several books.
None I’d want to read.

10:13. Still in her robe.
Standing by the stove,
writing. Cold, I guess.

12:08. Here she comes.
Dressed at last. Jeans,
baggy shirt, baseball cap.

Kitchen table. Lunch.
Dog hanging close,
she reads, eats, reads.

Now she’s down the hall.
Can I take a break? There’s
nothing happening here.

3 p.m. Heavy downpour,
but she’s coming out.
Mismatched rain gear,

dog on leash. I’m bored.
Dog shitting. Call the cops.
Nope. She’s bagging it.

6 p.m. Getting dark.
Stove, table, stove.
Sitting with the dog again.

I fell asleep. It’s 10 p.m.
She takes pills, hugs dog.
Lights go out at 10:15.

End of shift report:
Eats three times a day,
keeps warm, still alive.

 

If you write a poem from this prompt, post it as a comment underneath the prompt in the Poetry Super Highway Facebook Group.

April 15, 2021: Poetry Writing Prompt – Emily Vieweg

This poetry writing prompt submitted by Emily Vieweg:

Writing from the point of view of an inanimate object can open the floodgates. We carry things around with us everywhere – in our pockets, purses, backpacks, vehicles… but how do those objects see the world? This freewriting activity puts your voice to bed, while the object’s voice is finally spoken.

Dig through your backpack, purse, bag, junk drawer – and pull out the first object you touch.

Write a poem from the point-of-view of that object.

How does the egg timer really feel about sitting on top of the stove when the cookies are done baking? What does the Costco Membership Card feel when you pass over it for Sam’s Warehouse? How does the maple syrup react when you reach for the honey instead?

If you write a poem from this prompt, post it as a comment underneath the prompt in the Poetry Super Highway Facebook Group.

April 12, 2021: Poetry Writing Prompt – LB Sedlacek

This poetry writing prompt submitted by LB Sedlacek:

Write a Comic Book Poem

Write a poem where you describe each part of it as if in a square of a comic book.  Put it in present tense.  Close your eyes (or not) and imagine exactly what is happening in each line, what you want to see or do in your setting.  Use simple descriptions, think about materials, shapes, and colors along with what else is there (houses, businesses, parks, transportation, etc.).  Other considerations are:  What sounds do you hear, what smells do you smell, and how’s the weather?  In this poem, you can be the hero/heroine or not!

If you write a poem from this prompt, post it as a comment underneath the prompt in the Poetry Super Highway Facebook Group.

April 14, 2021: Poetry Writing Prompt – Duane L Herrmann

This poetry writing prompt submitted by Duane L Herrmann:

Prompts:

  1.  Use five different colors.
  2.  Utilize each of the five senses.
  3.  Write about your hand (what is it?  What does it do?) without using the words “hand,” “finger/s” or “thumb.”
  4.  Go to an imaginary place that is commonly known, don’t name it until the end.
  5.  What did you do during covid that you wouldn’t have done otherwise?

 

If you write a poem from this prompt, post it as a comment underneath the prompt in the Poetry Super Highway Facebook Group.

April 24, 2021: Poetry Writing Prompt – Ellaraine Lockie

This poetry writing prompt submitted by Ellaraine Lockie:

An Adjective Exercise

Mark Twain said about writing, “If you see an adjective, kill it!” I agree with him for the most part if you are writing with publication in mind. Adjectives are bossy. Much more effective in both poetry and prose is to write in a way that allows your reader to come up with the adjective. Readers prefer to be empowered and will like your writing better for it. It’s an extension of showing instead of telling.

Here are some adjective execution steps I suggest:

  1. Don’t worry about adjectives in first drafts, as it can slow down your creative process.
  1. After the piece is fairly finished and you’re happy with the content, do an adjective search. Every time you find one, see if you can come up with a way to describe the adjective in lieu of writing it, therefore prompting the reader to come up with the actual adjective. Comparisons, similes and metaphors can be good replacements for adjectives.

3. Here are a few examples for avoiding adjectives:

Instead of  “a dilapidated house, write “a hundred years old with Alzheimer’s.”

Instead of  “her scaled hands,” write “her hands the texture of a lizard.”

Substitute creative use of nouns for adjectives:

“The sky a foxed gray.”

“Car turtled on its back.”

“Eyeshadow a hummingbird blue.”

Now go and play some adjective word games with your readers in mind. It’s fun!

If you write a poem from this prompt, post it as a comment underneath the prompt in the Poetry Super Highway Facebook Group.

April 13, 2021: Poetry Writing Prompt – Richard Rensberry

This poetry writing prompt submitted by Richard Rensberry:

Conversation With Sasquatch  

Imagine meeting up with a Sasquatch.  What would you say?  What would the Sasquatch say?

What are the various perceptions involved, like sight, smell, sound and touch.

I am a Bigfoot novelist as well as a poet.  With permission I may want to post prompted poems on my website where I have a whole page devoted to Bigfoot Poetry.

If you write a poem from this prompt, post it as a comment underneath the prompt in the Poetry Super Highway Facebook Group.

April 21, 2021: Poetry Writing Prompt – Patrice Wilson

This poetry writing prompt submitted by Patrice Wilson:

Choose 1, 2, or all 3 of these imagistic phrases to write about. Google the phrases for specific images if that will help you to get started.

old rusty 1940s pickup truck

Uncle Sam wants YOU!

sunset in black and white

Good writing!

If you write a poem from this prompt, post it as a comment underneath the prompt in the Poetry Super Highway Facebook Group.

April 27, 2021: Poetry Writing Prompt – Laurinda Lind

This poetry writing prompt submitted by Laurinda Lind:

Use the Fritz Perls-inspired dream-analysis technique of setting an empty chair beside your own chair; mentally put your poem topic (or a dream you want to both analyze and write a poem about) into the other chair, and ask it questions. To answer the question, literally get up out of your chair and move over to the other chair, and answer it as your topic or as your dream. While you are in the second chair, if you just let what wants to come out of your mouth come out, second chair, that will probably be your subconscious mind talking to you.

If you write a poem from this prompt, post it as a comment underneath the prompt in the Poetry Super Highway Facebook Group.

April 8, 2021: Poetry Writing Prompt – Ellen Sander

This poetry writing prompt submitted by Ellen Sander:

Write an acrostic poem where the first word of each line is taken from a famous quote or sentence. Use each word in the quote as the first word of each line in your poem. You could write the poem about the source of the line or something completely disassociated. Here are three examples you could pick from, if you can’t think of one offhand.

Yea
though
I
walk
through
the
valley
of
the
shadow
of
death
***

Frankly
My
Dear
I
Don’t
Give
A
Damn
***

That’s
one
small
step
for
man
one
giant
leap
for
mankind

If you write a poem from this prompt, post it as a comment underneath the prompt in the Poetry Super Highway Facebook Group.

April 26, 2021: Poetry Writing Prompt – Elya Braden

This poetry writing prompt submitted by Elya Braden:

Dream Writing Prompt:

  1. Write down one image (one sentence or even just a few words) that immediately comes to mind from each of the following prompts. These images can come from your dreams or real life – no one will know but you.
    • the strangest occupation of a former lover
    • your favorite pet
    • a body part
    • an insect or reptile
    • an object from your childhood or from a dream
    • an outdoor landmark (such as a road, a lake, a hill, etc.)
    • a cartoon character or superhero
  1. Write down a piece of advice you’ve gotten from someone you respect or advice you’d like to give yourself now or in the past.
  1. Read the following poem, Dream poem because I never write dream poems, by Catherine Owen.

Dream poem because I never write dream poems

Woken just as he was about to go down on me/ that sailor
With the insanely long/earlobes

By a cat clawing at the delicately eroding skin/beneath my eye
Did not make me jovial/one bit

But when I fell back to dreaming and it was/of gypsy women
Catching a stream of bees/pouring from my wounds

Into burlap sacks/or else that inevitable toilet
(Would it be/on a cliff this time or transparent

Or fixed to a proscenium/ or shaped to receive dragonflies
Instead of piss)/ I was none too thrilled at my gallant’s

Failure to return to duty/ and worse
It was now a dream containing advice/Broom Hilda

Appearing to warn me/ I would have to & soon
Get rid of the sphincter in my lungs/if I wanted to sing.

  1. After you read the poem, go back to your list of images and write a poem in which you describe an imagined dream using as many of those images as you can. Also, include the piece of advice in your poem.

If you write a poem from this prompt, post it as a comment underneath the prompt in the Poetry Super Highway Facebook Group.

April 7, 2021: Poetry Writing Prompt – Gay Guard-Chamberlin

This poetry writing prompt submitted by Gay Guard-Chamberlin:

Cut up text from books headed for the landfill, magazines, junk mail, letters, journal entries, and the like, and keep a pile of words and phrases which intrigue you in a box, tray, or drawer.

Use them to write a poem by riffling through them, seeing what attracts you, what can go together. You can write any words in between the cut-out ones if you like. Glue them into your journal, or on a postcard to send a friend.

The results can be surrealist and playful. This is an especially useful exercise if you are feeling stuck on generating new ideas.

If you write a poem from this prompt, post it as a comment underneath the prompt in the Poetry Super Highway Facebook Group.
#napowrimo #poetry

April 6, 2021: Poetry Writing Prompt –Prasanna Surakanti

This poetry writing prompt submitted by Prasanna Surakanti:

“Use poetry to merge creativity and content.” – Kenny White.
This year, I have seen examples where data science, C++ programming language have been expressed in poetry. Which area of your expertise could you express in poetry?
Examples –
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GLv624w1U14
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zx_Tjp9WIII&t=470s

If you write a poem from this prompt, post it as a comment underneath the prompt in the Poetry Super Highway Facebook Group.
#napowrimo #poetry

April 23, 2021: Poetry Writing Prompt – Pat Anthony

This poetry writing prompt submitted by Pat Anthony:

Use color to spark your imagination. For starters, I suggest you brainstorm /green/! Consider green with envy; green around the gills; green grass of home; eco-green; and finally, all the myriad shades of green in the landscape. Use the word /green/ in your poem or imply it through your word choices. If you don’t care for green, try another color that adds poetry to the rainbow!

Here’s an example that is both implicit and explicit based upon green: a traditional 5/7/5 Haiku: Shamrocks greening now/afterwinter dormancy/one white bloom for luck.

If you write a poem from this prompt, post it as a comment underneath the prompt in the Poetry Super Highway Facebook Group.

April 5, 2021: Poetry Writing Prompt – Kelley White

This poetry writing prompt submitted by Kelley White:

(this ‘prompt’ formed the basis for my book TWO BIRDS IN FLAME which relates to a catalog of Shaker items for sale a few years back in New Hampshire)

Chose an object that has a special meaning for you (a piece of jewelry you inherited from your grandmother, your prom gown, your first car, your baby’s first lost baby tooth–the possibilities are endless.) If you wish, you can assign a price to it.

Describe it very specifically (color, sound, taste, feel.)

Then use this as a taking off point to create a poem that somehow is triggered by or reflects an experience. You might end up writing about your grandmother (or yourself), pop music in 1970, a road trip in the 80’s, memories of your child. . .Or something completely different! You may surprise yourself.

Here’s a piece from Two Birds:

 

Two Birds in Flame

One-Drawer Work Stand, Important

figured maple, bird’s-eye and tiger

maple one-board top, slightly beveled

underneath, over a single dovetailed drawer,

original cherry turned pull, deep maple

skirt, delicately tapered legs, 26” h,

18 ½” w, 25 ½”d, (ex. Dr. Sprowls

collection).                              $8,500

 

You understand this light

is prayer and I have set myself

to live in it. We are alone

when we work. Even in a room of others.

The work separates us. Concentrates us.

It is the thing we own. I have been guilty

of pride. Of sin in the way I let others

praise my skill. Do you not see that I have none?

That it was all in the manner of shaping

the Light to use? That I had merely to move

my hands and carve the pure and holy

rain into the wood’s singing wheels?

That I finished into darkness. The song

I did not own. Set away. I own nothing.

Skill given me but a moment. And now I move

my empty hands in the flickering

firelight. See their torn blackened nails,

the one finger lost to the sugaring fire,

the tip of the right thumb swallowed

by a log. Oh, light has shaped me.

And I am forgotten. Gone into evening’s

failed dawn.

If you write a poem from this prompt, post it as a comment underneath the prompt in the Poetry Super Highway Facebook Group.
#napowrimo #poetry

April 25, 2021: Poetry Writing Prompt – Linda Leedy Schneider

This poetry writing prompt submitted by Linda Leedy Schneider:

Consider writing a poem to or about someone who has died or is no longer in your life. This could be in the form of a letter, a description of the person,  a list of things you miss about the person, or just tell them about your day. Show emotion through concrete objects and actions. Try not to tell. I look forward to reading your words.
Take Care.

Good Luck. I look forward to reading your words!

If you write a poem from this prompt, post it as a comment underneath the prompt in the Poetry Super Highway Facebook Group.

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