Poetry Writing Prompts 2022

April 5, 2022: Poetry Writing Prompt – Brendan Constantine

This poetry writing prompt submitted by Brendan Constantine:

PHONE GALLERY PROMPT

Open your picture app and begin to scroll through the images.

In very simple language, note down what you see. For instance:

“Here’s me waving
Here’s the moon, too small to see
Here’s a total blur
Here’s a sandwich
Here’s my dog asleep…”

Keep scrolling and making notes.
Chances are, a theme or arc will start to present itself naturally. And real poetry may result from the simplest descriptive details – a color, a texture, the quality of light.

If you want to take things up a notch, start adding descriptions of pictures that don’t exist.

“Here’s you swallowing your car
Here’s me posing with Virginia Woolf
Here’s the cat factory
Here’s God on her birthday
(Great party. Too long, tho)…”

However long you make your poem, remember that the last image will always determine its feeling.

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 4, 2022: Poetry Writing Prompt – LB Sedlacek

This poetry writing prompt submitted by LB Sedlacek:

Rewrite where you write! Write where you (or maybe anyone) normally wouldn’t write. That’s right.  Take your pen, paper, smart phone, or whatever with you to a school sporting event, or while you’re waiting in line at the drugstore, maybe sitting in the car rider line, or at the doctor’s office and be ready to write.  Jot down a quick poem – whatever comes to mind from what’s happening around you, what you see, hear, smell, feel and think.  Then when you’re back in your usual writing spot at your desk or sitting in your favorite chair, you can edit it.

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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April 14, 2022: Poetry Writing Prompt – Tuyet Van Do

This poetry writing prompt submitted by Tuyet Van Do:

Write a poem about a present you received and liked. It might be a gift for your birthday, wedding anniversary, graduation or a special occasion… surprise your audience with what it actually is at the end.

Have a go… I look forward to reading 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.
#napowrimo #poetry

April 15, 2022: Poetry Writing Prompt – Joan Leotta

This poetry writing prompt submitted by Joan Leotta:

What is your favorite cheese–describe the taste, the aroma, its texture, and tell where you first tried it.

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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April 16, 2022: Poetry Writing Prompt – J R Turek

This poetry writing prompt submitted by J R Turek:

Write a list poem titled “Everything is Broken” but offer no solutions to fix anything.

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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April 24, 2022: Poetry Writing Prompt – Robert Wynne

This poetry writing prompt submitted by Robert Wynne:

Pick an animal. Pick an activity or occupation. Now write a poem in the voice of that animal, about engaging in the activity or occupation. Consider whether you’d prefer a good match (kangaroo/soccer player) or more of a challenge (elephant/airline pilot). As always, have fun!

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 3, 2022: Poetry Writing Prompt – Carol Dorf

This poetry writing prompt submitted by Carol Dorf:

(Note: A version of this exercise was first published in Wingbeats II: Exercises and Practice in Poetry, which contains many generative exercises.)

from The Mathematical Poem:
There are many starting points for beginning mathematical poetry. Some begin with syllabics (Fibonacci’s are a favorite), and others emphasize the visual symbols of mathematics as Zukofsky did with the Integral and Bob Grumman does with the division sign. The mathematical poetry that I find most fascinating has both mathematical content and form.

The “Context-Shift” poem where mathematical language is used to discuss personal life. Here’s an example of one of my “Context-Shift” poems. In this poem, I used information I was reading about chaos theory (in Ivar Ekland’s Mathematics and the Unexpected) to write about the unexpected in my own life.

Dear Ivar,

I read your book on the unexpected.
Like most poets, I opposed mathematics
when I was young, seeing it as the converse
to feeling. The previous statement is false.

When I was very young I loved counting
and zero and even numbers. At sixteen,
I wanted to imagine calculus as a novel
of limits and motion. Yet by college,
I had learned mathematics could not correspond
to poetry in a one-to-one intensity.
Would your book have mattered to me, then?
Most likely, I would not have read it.

Today, I am sending this fan letter. Thank you
for explaining catastrophe and instability.
I spent so many years writing my way
through them. And boundaries, I kept insisting
they were psychological or geographic,
unwilling to see them as breaks
between states of matter. Your words
matter to me, a language as precise as poetry
to delineate universe and being.

Sincerely,
Carol

To begin one of these poems, fold a piece of paper in half vertically. In one column, list a few things in your life that you obsess about. In the other column write some mathematical words, symbols, or ideas. Sources for these ideas could be textbooks, web articles (in this case Wikipedia is an ok source), or odd facts you remember from school. Don’t worry too much about understanding every aspect of the idea.

Then choose one of the starting places from the first column, and let the language from the different sectors bump up against each other.

Write for 11 minutes, and then if you are so inspired, return and write on the poem for another 7 minutes.

Enjoy!

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, 2022: Poetry Writing Prompt – Prasanna Surakanti

This poetry writing prompt submitted by Prasanna Surakanti:

Spring talks in colors

The green shoots on the brown stem of a fig tree, the white of the morning glory spilling onto the road, the yellow of the brittle bush.. What made you realize that it is spring. the natal green on a tree.

Write a poem on the natural colors that jumped at you.

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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April 26, 2022: Poetry Writing Prompt – Stan Galloway

This poetry writing prompt submitted by Stan Galloway:

Choose one of the Seven Deadly Sins (pride, wrath, greed, envy, lust, gluttony, sloth) and use it as a starting point for a poem. The specific sin should not be mentioned in the poem, but its characteristics should be identifiable. Create a clear purpose for the poem.

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 2, 2022: Poetry Writing Prompt – Angele Ellis

This poetry writing prompt submitted by Angele Ellis:

WRITING EXERCISE: UNUSUAL WORDS 

An unusual word (or two) within a poem can make a reader (and writer) pause—but if the word is intriguing, this can enrich a writing and reading experience. Use AT LEAST ONE of the following words in your writing exercise.

damassin—n. a brocade with gold and silver threads.

pigmean—adj. very small.

conspue—v.t. to spurn contemptuously.

scrivello—n. an elephant’s tusk.

anuptaphobia—n. fear of staying single.

tyg—n. a large ceramic 17th century drinking mug with 12 handles.

meristic—adj. pertaining to or divided into segments.

halotic—adj. easy to catch.

zibeb—n. a raisin.

papillote—n. a paper ruffle decorating a lamb chop bone.

erugate—adj. freed from wrinkles; very smooth.

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 11, 2022: Poetry Writing Prompt – Ellen Sander

This poetry writing prompt submitted by Ellen Sander:

palishkin

A non existent word. You decide how it is pronounced. Whether it’s a noun or a verb. Or  someone’s name. Perhaps a country? A religion? Up to you, brave soul. Write a poem using what  you determine palishkin to mean.

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 19, 2022: Poetry Writing Prompt – Jeremy Jusek

This poetry writing prompt submitted by Jeremy Jusek:

A Poem of Industry

This exercise seeks to cultivate new ideas by encouraging encounters with unfamiliar words.

Look up an industry completely foreign to you. This could be anything: medical, timber, steel, tech/IT, cosmetics, coatings, pharmaceuticals, office supplies, etc. Pick one and generate a list of industry-specific jargon using a minimum of twenty-five words.

Pick three different industries, so your list is a minimum of 75 words (or phrases, phrases are okay). Write a poem that uses 1 word or phrase per line for the duration of the poem, however long you choose to make it. Mix industries! Write the poem in multiple parts!

This is a time-consuming exercise, but it’s a wonderful one because it so frequently spawns more than one poem, and the exercise is great at pulling writers out of their respective comfort zones.

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, 2022: Poetry Writing Prompt – Charlie Brice

This poetry writing prompt submitted by Charlie Brice:

Prompt using Jim Daniels’ poem, Unwritten Laws of Gravitational Isolation.

Submitted by Charlie Brice

Jim Daniels is a national treasure and we are lucky that he lives here in Pittsburgh. His most recent book, Gun/Shy (Wayne State University Press, 2021) is one of his best. His poem, “Unwritten Laws of Gravitational Isolation,” serves as a poetic preface to that book. My prompt follows the poem.

Unwritten Laws of Gravitational Isolation

Warren, Michigan

Imagine rows of magnetic houses spaced each
to each against the curb like stones on a path leading
to lemmings’ cliff. Each magnet not attracted
or repelled, but anchored to the earth.

So close to each other, we could hold hands
through open windows, linked by force fields
of sweat. But why hold hands, that embarrassing
empty exercise that strained the heart’s unused

muscles and caused someone to give up under
duress or mockery? Do magnets breathe? We were
that close and that far away in a patten determined
by Monopoly men and Factory men and Families

in the Game of Life with babies squeezed into cars
with imaginary seatbelts and piles of counterfeit
money and family photographs. The point is, we had
no need to sharpen our knives to cut through butter

and the soft lies of upward mobility. We were always
sinking, even during fire drills for the census. The point
is, dullness was a virtue and virtue was a poorly worded
document subject to invalid erasures and brick walls

mortared with the froth of betrayal. We never
borrowed cups of sugar, or bedpans—or expired curses,
though they still worked if we spit them out quick
enough. When the scoreboard ran into overtime

we forgot our casual hatreds. Our parents never
crossed each other’s thresholds. Buy-one-get-one-free
was the golden rule, but it turned out to be copper
and Abraham Lincoln turned out to be Liberace.

Maybe I shouldn’t say never. Maybe I should
asterisk it in case I missed some violation
of the threshold. I hate to admit, maybe
we were top tired to get it up for an affair.

Maybe the men, too tired from work, maybe
the women, too tired of us, the Catholic mass
of children of the damned, the Catholic math
of carry the one, adding another child—

were we what kept the fire burning, or remnants
of that fire? That’ll keep you up at night, rubbing
your hands together over the magnets, hoping
for a cure for magic. An electric burn shocked us

inside out when someone died on the block
or bled enough to bring the cops—that
brought us outside, following on our bikes
at a distance, circling the circled bloodstains

in the aftermath. Maybe the point is, we knew
what was where in each other’s houses,
from toilet to TV, to unused wedding presents
we passed on to each other in lieu of pleasantries.
Maybe the point is, it was our blood.

~Jim Daniels, Gun Shy, Wayne State University Press, 2021

The Prompt:

Describe a real place, but in a surreal manner, as if it was an imaginary place.
Bring in the subject of morality.
Suddenly ask a question.
Mention Something that relieves the tension.
Question what you’ve posited in this poem. Use the word “maybe” to show indecision.
Ask another question.
End with indecision

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 10, 2022: Poetry Writing Prompt – Elizbeth Marchitti

This poetry writing prompt submitted by Elizbeth Marchitti:

Write about your knick-knacks, your chatchkes, your Dollar Store finds.  Explain why you can’t quit buying them, and what you think your heirs will do with them when you die.

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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April 12, 2022: Poetry Writing Prompt – Frogg Corpse

This poetry writing prompt submitted by Frogg Corpse:

Frogg Corpse Writing Prompt:

Create a seven-hundred word short story or thirty-three line poem describing a haunted house. The story or poems main focus must bear emphasis on the details of the house itself. Explain in detail its architecture/landscape on what makes it stand out. What will make these details different from an average run-of-the-mill home? This prompt is to help improve set & setting when building the locations in your tales.

*Your characters are not the focus for this prompt.

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, 2022: Poetry Writing Prompt – Patrice Wilson

This poetry writing prompt submitted by Patrice Wilson:

Make a pot of tea or coffee in a clear glass pot or container. Pour cream or milk into it. Carefully watch cream or milk swirl into the dark liquid. Write about what you see and any associations with it. You could also try this with anything that swirls, e.g., water going down a drain. Have fun!

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, 2022: Poetry Writing Prompt – Seretta Martin

This poetry writing prompt submitted by Seretta Martin:

Entering a Picture (Poetry from Visual Art) by Seretta Martin

Is it possible for a lesson to appeal to all ages from third grade through adult, beginner through advanced?  Yes, this one does! I’ve taught it elementary through high school, at museums, and at senior centers. It stimulates imagination in magical ways. The picture is a focal point for the poem to develop. The student has selected the image for some personal reason yet to be discovered in the writing of the poem. This lesson teaches attention to image, detailed descriptions, the senses, vocabulary research and more. Sometimes it triggers memories or uncovers unexpected desires. The student’s imagination is stretched when prompted to crawl into the picture and become someone or something in that world. Start this lesson by using a projector to show and read a few successful model poems and show the pictures that were used. Read some of the poems yourself, then call on students to take turns reading. The model poems create excitement and show students how others have approached the lesson with stellar results. After each poem is read, comment on how the poet addresses aspects of this lesson. After writing paper and handouts are distributed, place a batch of pictures on each table. Give students 5 minutes or so to select a picture for their poem. Collect extra pictures so students are able to focus on the one picture that they have in front of them.  You may want to also leave the lesson projected on the screen. Walk them through these steps:

  1. Enter into the painting. Let your mind wander. Think about how you would describe it to a blind person. In your poem you are going to paint a picture with words. As you write, pay close attention to details. Remember, a blind person needs lots of information to visualize the picture. What do you see in the painting? colors? patterns? figures? What do you feel? Write what first comes to mind. Does the art remind you of a memory? Does it remind you of a family member or a friend? Does it remind you of something you lost?
  2. Describe the place (the setting) that you see in your picture. Is it a meadow? An attic? A candy jar? Your front porch? The edge of a volcano? Think about your five senses and use some of them for rich details in your poem. Describe smells, sounds, tastes, colors and what things feel like to touch.
  3. What is happening? Use action words. For example, perhaps the creature in your poem does some of these things: sings, growls, chomps, dives, leaps, flees, soars, glides, races, dances or slouches. Make your poem come to life with colorful and unusual words. Avoid tired (worn-out words) that are overused and consult a Thesaurus.
  4. What is not in the picture? Imagine what happened before, during or after what you see. Crawl into the picture and become a person, animal or object. Maybe you want to take a point of view as if you are speaking with someone in the picture and use dialog.
  5. Now, ask yourself questions: Is my first line or stanza so interesting and grabbing that it will make the reader want to read the rest of my poem? Do I want to make my most exciting idea my first line?

    Have I used words that paint a clear picture?  Do I want to repeat any sounds or words to make my poem more musical? (lyrical) or to emphasize something?

  6. How will you end your poem? Will you surprise us? Reveal a secret? Use an unexpected twist? End with a question? Do you want to leave the reader saying ah, or feeling sad, or what? Think of a unique title that makes the reader want to read your poem, but don’t give away too much of your poem in the title.

Time: 1 to 1.5 hours. More time allows for students to read and share their poem drafts and    show their pictures on the projector as they read.

Materials: Pictures: post cards, greeting cards, pictures cut from magazines or calendars, cards from art galleries and museums, fine arts prints, etc., Thesaurus, projector, paper clips (To clip the picture to the poem at the end of the class session.) Posters of: The Senses, The Emotions, Worn-Out Words, Vocabulary, and Action Words. You may want to look up and print out model adult poems by famous poets such as White Wedding Slippers by Anna Swir, tr. by Czeslaw Milosz, The Starry Night by Anne Sexton, Cezanne’s Ports by Allen Ginsberg, Van Gogh’s Bed by Jane Flanders and Mourning Picture by Adrienne Rich.

Published in Poetry Crossing – 50+ Lessons for 50 Years of California Poets in the Schools, 2014.

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 21, 2022: Poetry Writing Prompt – LindaAnn LoSchiavo

This poetry writing prompt submitted by LindaAnn LoSchiavo:

  1. Imagine you had a past life and your poem wished to explain who you used to be.
  2. For decades, Jim B. Tucker, M.D. has been interviewing children ages 2 – 5 who have significant and precise memories of the adult they once were. For some inspiration, see the free previews of Dr. Tucker’s books, for example, “Return to Life: Extraordinary Cases of Children Who Remember Past Lives“.
  3. Often it’s the memories of a traumatic death that are most clearly remembered — but children have recalled the details of peaceful and ordinary lives as well: favorite pets, names of relatives, where they worked, a holiday meal, a special birthday, etc.  List some long-buried memories and jot down specific details.
  4. Circle keywords or phrases on the page. Use those to guide you through your new poem.
  5. “Past Life” poem to read: “Suddenly It Falls Away” by Karen Gibbons from Elevation Review

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 13, 2022: Poetry Writing Prompt – Gary Grossman

This poetry writing prompt submitted by Gary Grossman:

We’re all tired of COVID but it is good fodder for poetry. Write a poem about how your life changed specifically during the pandemic. Did you exercise more, did you burn incense more, did you read books that had been sitting in a pile for years? Focus on describing your mental state and how that translated into your physical state. Did your muscles ache from walking, what was the smell of the hand cream you used to soothe your skin? Did your partner participate with you?

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 20, 2022: Poetry Writing Prompt – Joan Fingon

This poetry writing prompt submitted by Joan Fingon:

Prompt word: remembrance  

In this exercise, focus on writing about a specific loss of a loved one or dear friend, recent or from your past. What is the essence of your loss and how might you express and honor their memory? What did the individual mean to you?

To inspire your writing be guided by these words as an example…

remember those in passing

they are the roots of the tree

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 28, 2022: Poetry Writing Prompt – Suzanne O’Connell

This poetry writing prompt submitted by Suzanne O’Connell:

I loved the self portrait workshop I took with Douglas Manuel.  Instead of Self Portrait With Palm, we would write, for example, Self Portrait ‘As’ A Palm.  Some of the examples he gave us are: Self Portrait With Tumbling and Lasso by Eduardo Corral; Self Portrait As Kendrick Lamar, Laughing To The Bank, by Ashanti Anderson; Self Portrait As First Kiss by Tiana Clark; Self Portrait as Wikipedia Entry by Dean Radar.

I have enjoyed writing several myself including Self Portrait As A Popsicle; Self Portrait Without Wrinkles; and Self Portrait As A Mental Health Chart.

Lots of fun to get outside yourself this way.

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 9, 2022: Poetry Writing Prompt – Ed Meek

This poetry writing prompt submitted by Ed Meek:

Write a poem based on a recipe. It can be an actual recipe for food or it can be a recipe for something else entirely. Ferlinghetti wrote a recipe for happiness. I have a poem called “How to Make Meatballs” that has the meatball recipe in it.

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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April 1, 2022: Poetry Writing Prompt – Maria DePaul

This poetry writing prompt submitted by Maria DePaul:

Wildlife thrives in the unlikeliest of places. In remembrance of the struggles of the Ukrainian people against Russian invasion troops, think of the  cats, deer, lynx, wolves and other animals that persist in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. Then write a poem, flash fiction or creative nonfiction about how to survive and thrive in the most perilous of circumstances.

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 18, 2022: Poetry Writing Prompt – jake Aller

This poetry writing prompt submitted by jake Aller:

Write a poem about a premonition of something that would happen in your life, that came true.  What was the premonition? How did it occur?  How did it come true?

Example:  I dreamt of meeting my wife eight years before I met her.  I knew that the dream was a premonition of a future event. and in that case, my dreams did indeed come true.

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 30, 2022: Poetry Writing Prompt – Winston Plowes

This poetry writing prompt submitted by Winston Plowes:

The Mantelpiece
A prompt for a cold dark winter’s night

Introduction

I love the idea of a shutting out the night and cosying up around a roaring fire which is to me the centre and heart of any home, especially at this time of the year. I would like us to consider the fireplace and especially the shelf or mantelpiece above it. Let’s look at it as a kind of changing archive, a display or exhibition or even a ‘family museum’ as we prepare to write. I know that some modern homes do not have a mantlepiece, in which case all is not lost! You can imagine one that would suit you or use a shelf from elsewhere in the room or even a dressing table or bookshelf.

Exercise

Are you going to write a simple list poem of items on the mantlepiece (and there’s nothing wrong with that)? Maybe you have special family item(s) or useful things on there or photographs or a clock or a picture on the wall above that you will write about. Is your title going to be “My family museum”?

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 8, 2022: Poetry Writing Prompt – Duane L Herrmann

This poetry writing prompt submitted by Duane L Herrmann:

“As the casket was lowered into the ground, the four adult children stood dry eyed and looked at each other with knowing stares.”
Who was in the casket?
What did they know?
Did anyone else know?
What had the deceased done to them?
What will or did they do in response?

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 27, 2022: Poetry Writing Prompt – Susan Taylor

This poetry writing prompt submitted by Susan Taylor:

COMPOSE A SHORT LYRICAL POEM, RHYMING OR NOT, INSPIRED BY THE FOLLOWING LINE:
Fig stains on the white kitchen tile had me wondering about who or what had done the deed.

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

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