Poetry Writing Prompts 2023

April 30, 2023: Poetry Writing Prompt from Brendan Constantine

This poetry writing prompt submitted by Brendan Constantine:

BAD AFTERNOON PROMPT
Create a poem in which you give VERY BAD directions on how to find you. Feel free to reference inner landmarks as well as outer (“Keep going straight until you come to my tenth birthday party. If you can see my father asleep in his car, you’ve gone too far…”). No matter how bad the directions, make sure the reader can ultimately find 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 29, 2023: Poetry Writing Prompt from William Bianchi

This poetry writing prompt submitted by William Bianchi:

Write a poem about the relationship between two objects (or people, if you prefer).
Here are some suggestions for directions you can take this prompt in:

  • The spatial/positional relationship between two objects (e.g. a book sitting on top of a shelf, a tray of cookies baking inside an oven)
  • The interpersonal/symbiotic/interactive relationship between two objects/people (e.g. a cat relying on a blanket for warmth, a child being dependent on their caretaker, spaghetti cooperating with tomato sauce to form a tasty meal, a light bulb and a lamp working together to provide light)
  • The symbolic relationship between two or more objects (e.g. withering flowers in a dry vase might represent neglect, hundreds of books in a library might represent collective knowledge)

Please feel free to stray from these suggestions. Have fun writing!

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, 2023: Poetry Writing Prompt from John Dorroh

This poetry writing prompt submitted by John Dorroh:

Gather five of your favorite poetry books. In each book, turn to page 21. Read the second lines of the five poems from page 21. Write them down. After you have collected all five sentences, write a poem using at least 2-3 words from each line.

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, 2023: Poetry Writing Prompt from Susan Taylor

This poetry writing prompt submitted by Susan Taylor:

Write a haiku about the desert wildflowers on the day we change to Daylight Savings Time.  Remember, we turn our clocks forward one hour.

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 26, 2023: Poetry Writing Prompt from Ron Bremner

This poetry writing prompt submitted by Ron Bremner:

Use three or more Thelonious Monk song titles in a single poem.

Editor’s Note: Find a list of Thelonious Monk songs here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_compositions_by_Thelonious_Monk

Straight, no chaser
’round Midnight
Ugly beauty
Brilliant Corners
Criss-cross
Functional
Introspection

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, 2023: Poetry Writing Prompt from Susan Justiniano

This poetry writing prompt submitted by Susan Justiniano:

Prompt Title: Stop Telling yourself THAT Story

Intro:

We all have invasive thoughts. At times those thoughts turn into scenarios and stories of ourselves that aren’t true or are based on a comment received from outside of ourselves that we have internalized to the point of believing it. It’s time to reframe those stories that keep us from thriving, connecting and growing.

Using “Stop Telling yourself THAT Story” checks those invasive thoughts and beliefs that interfere with moving forward and reframes the stories, mantras and beliefs on repeat in our minds.

How to use this prompt:

  1. Gather info: What are the key words or phrases that pop up and keep space within you that can or do prevent you from growing, thriving, building to meet the goals you have for yourself? For the purposes of this exercise, list a minimum of three and a maximum of five.
    1. Example: Imposter Syndrome, Fear of failure, rejection, “no”,
  2. Free write for 5 minutes, stream of consciousness, Keep writing for 5 minutes don’t edit, revise or stop. Words that make no sense will make themselves clear). Starting line example: “I am afraid of…”
    • Example: I am afraid of being rejected when I submit a poem for publication. I work so hard in getting the right tone, the words and phrases. Some of my best works are rejected and I just hide them away and never look at them again.
    • Example: I am afraid to perform on stage because I can’t memories my work….
  3. Turn the page over, on a clean page 5 minutes of reframing THAT story without looking back to it. Keep writing for 5 minutes don’t edit, revise or stop. Words that make no sense will make themselves clear. Start with a line that stuck with you from the first free write or start with “I am afraid”
    • I am afraid that if I don’t try, I won’t get published. For me to find my audience, I need to put my work out there.
    • If I stay in the shadows, where I’m comfortable, and not perform, I’ll never know if it’s for me, I will always wonder if I’ve met my full potential as an artist
  4. Put it together as an essay, poem, short story. Tell of a time you reframed or will reframe the story to create a new narrative and stop telling yourself that story of fear and insecurity.
    1. Example (structued in a way that is not comfortable):

The first time I wanted to perform, I backed out
I believe that I could never be as good as those I see
The words on my pages left me filled with doubt
I couldn’t remember them, like slam poetry

My hands shake and my voice racks
Whenever I practice in the image that looks back
Those who perform appear smooth and calm
Gesturing and moving with poetic aplomb

Today, I take a deep breath and count on my people
Sitting in front rows, there to support me
I perform for them, they don’t care
If I mess up, forget or read from my phone

They snap and clap and hoot
Because they know how much it means
To stand before them mic in my hands
Deep breath… I made it! Wow this stage things is grand

  1. Walk away from the first draft. Share it in a brave writing /revising group.
  2. Stop telling yourself THAT story and tell yourself this new story.

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 24, 2023: Poetry Writing Prompt from Rachel Baum

This poetry writing prompt submitted by Rachel Baum:

Find a photograph of yourself as a child or teenager. Write about that moment in time – what just happened? What were the feelings, taste, smell in that moment? Who was taking the photo, and how does that person factor into the poem/story?

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, 2023: Poetry Writing Prompt from Richard-Yves Sitoski

This poetry writing prompt submitted by Richard-Yves Sitoski:

Imagery Prompts: Avoiding Cliché Through “Juxatives”

The best poetry avoids cliché by means of cognitive leaps. I don’t want red roses signifying love; rather, love may be a set of curtains that shuts out the outside world and keeps you and your dear ones together, or perhaps it’s molten lava that first burns all it touches but later cools into something solid you can build a house on.

How do we make these creative leaps? My fellow poet Kristan Anderson and I came up with the term “juxative,” for juxtapositions of terms that normally wouldn’t frequent each other. These juxatives can be expanded into full images.

To do it, create lists of adjectives and lists of nouns, or verbs and adverbs, or adjectives and adverbs. Then jumble them up so that random adjectives get applied to random nouns, etc.

SILLY + RIVER = What does that give us? Something better than a babbling brook, I’ll wager.

ANGRY + CHRISTMAS GIFT = Suddenly the holidays take on whole new implications.

CRYING + PILLOW = More forceful than crying into your pillow—you’re so down that your pillow itself is crying along with you.

The next step is to see how you can expand these.

LIMPING + MOUTH = “After the dentist, I spoke with a limp”

FLOWERY + KEY = “I practised the piano till the keys turned to flowers”

HAPPY + THUNDER = “My childhood was a thunderstorm of happiness”

These images are often so striking and effective they can spawn entire poems!

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, 2023: Poetry Writing Prompt from J R Turek

This poetry writing prompt submitted by J R Turek:

Write a poem varying It is and It isn’t. Be whimsical, be fantastical, surprise your reader every few lines. Defy, denounce, define – don’t limit your poem to the page boundaries.

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, 2023: Poetry Writing Prompt from Michelle Daugherty

This poetry writing prompt submitted by Michelle Daugherty:

I told my best friend I had nothing to write about, he said that just meant there was something I was afraid to say. Write a poem starting each stanza with “I’m afraid that if I keep writing, I will 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.

#napowrimo #poetry

April 20, 2023: Poetry Writing Prompt from Matt Mellor

This poetry writing prompt submitted by Matt Mellor:

Write a poem personifying something inorganic like a building or a machine. What has it seen over the course of its ‘life’? How does it feel about change? How does it smile or signify happiness? Play with this voice and see what it wants to say.

Example –

The Beam Engine

I still feel empty, since my organs were taken away.
Though it has been decades since my heart was full of coal
and my lungs breathed my beam up and down.
The rumble deep beneath the earth is long gone.

I’m thankful for the birds that nest in my skull
and the occasional squirrel or shrew that settles at my feet.
It seems the trade off for a long life is that you must be still
because these little creatures spark with speed and colour.

There is much needed motion at my feet.
Not from workers talking about the shift and bosses about new seams.
But chirps, squeaks and the rustle of leaves.

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, 2023: Poetry Writing Prompt from LB Sedlacek

This poetry writing prompt submitted by LB Sedlacek:

Write a Book Plot(s) Poem

  1. Think of your favorite book, or even a couple or a few of your favorite books,
  2. Consider the plot(s) of each book,
  3. Write a poem based on the beginning, middle and end of the book.  Or use one book’s plot for the beginning of your poem, another book’ s plot for the middle of your poem, and yet a different book’s plot for the end of your poem,
  4. You can convey the main plot point in bits and pieces or in full in your verse.  Just mash it up however you think it works best in your poem,
  5. Title your poem with a scrambling (letters and/or words) of the book’s title, and
  6. Re-read your book(s) as time permits and compare it to 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 18, 2023: Poetry Writing Prompt from Lavina Blossom

This poetry writing prompt submitted by Lavina Blossom:

Think of an inanimate object which you own, preferably one that does not perform exactly as you would like (a rug cleaner, staple remover, shaver, fry pan, carving knife, etc). Write a poem from the point of view of that object, extolling your virtues and your failings. You might address your owner or direct your monologue to another inanimate object.

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, 2023: Poetry Writing Prompt from Lara Dolphin

This poetry writing prompt submitted by Lara Dolphin:

Somewhere over the Rainbow . . . there’s a poem.

Write constrained poem using only the words allotted to Dorothy Gale in MGM’s The Wizard of Oz. To build up a lexicon, you could watch the movie over and over or for a handy transcript click here.

Bonus points if your poem touches on a theme from the movie e.g. “There’s no place like home.”

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 16, 2023: Poetry Writing Prompt from Karen Watts

This poetry writing prompt submitted by Karen Watts:

We all make mistakes and have regrets. In fact, a popular fantasy is “if I could just have a do over.” Write a poem about a terrible decision, ordinary mistake, or wrong turn in life that you’d never undo, even if you could.

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, 2023: Poetry Writing Prompt from Kenneth Boyd

This poetry writing prompt submitted by Kenneth Boyd:

Write a poem that connects the first line of the first poem in your favorite book of poetry and the last line of the last poem in the same book. Optionally, condense the titles of the two poems to form the title for the new 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 14, 2023: Poetry Writing Prompt from Julie Standig

This poetry writing prompt submitted by Julie Standig:

This prompt is a favorite and is often used to show students that we are all poets if I train our minds to think like one. I became aware of it during a zoom workshop when I was blown away by someone’s poem. And then searched the format on the internet with the end result that the poem I created was the poem used to end my recent poetry collection and one of my personal favorite poems.

This poem template is inspired by George Ella Lyon’s “Where I’m From” poem.

Where I’m From

I am from _____________________________________________________________________________ (a specific item from your childhood home)

from _________________________________________________________________________________ (two products or objects from your past)

I am from _____________________________________________________________________________ (a phrase describing your childhood home)

and __________________________________________________________________________________ (more description of your childhood home)

I am from _____________________________________________________________________________ (a plant, tree or natural item from your past)

whose ________________________________________________________________________________ (personify that natural item)

I am from _____________________________________________________________________________ (two objects from your past)

from _______________________________________and _______________________________________ (a family name) (another family name)

I am from _____________________________________and _____________________________________ (a family trait or tendency) (another family trait or tendency)

and from ______________________________________________________________________________ (another family trait, habit or tendency)

from __________________________________________________________________________________ (another family trait, habit or tendency)

I am from _____________________________________________________________________________ (a religious phrase or memory)

I am from _____________________________________and _____________________________________ (an ancestor) (another ancestor)

from __________________________________________________________________________________ (two foods from your family history)

from __________________________________________________________________________________ (a specific event in the life of an ancestor)

and from _______________________________________________________________________________ (another detail from the life of an ancestor)

_______________________________________________________________________________________ (a memory or object you had as a child)

I am from those moments _________________________________________________________________

_______________________________________________________________________________________ (conclude by finishing this thought or by repeating a line or idea from earlier in 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 13, 2023: Poetry Writing Prompt from Joan Leotta

This poetry writing prompt submitted by Joan Leotta:

Open your refrigerator. What food item brings memories of childhood you would like to share in a poem? Tell where you were when you first tried it? How old were you? On what occasions did you eat it? Or what food that is in there now is something you hated as a child but like now? Tell the why and how you changed your mind

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 12, 2023: Poetry Writing Prompt from JC Sulzenko

This poetry writing prompt submitted by JC Sulzenko:

“If I had…” or roads not taken.

Write a poem imagining/focussing on how your life or your subject’s life could have been changed or become different if one decision had been made that was different from what actually happened. What risks did you take or avoid? What benefits came your way or did you miss out on? Examples: What if you had married the first person you loved or who loved you? What if the hitchhiking ride you and a buddy took turned bad rather than being the lark it was? What if you hadn’t accepted that job in another city but decided to stay put? What if you had not blown up at a social event and been shunned after that by people who had counted as your friends?

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, 2023: Poetry Writing Prompt from Dwane Reads

This poetry writing prompt submitted by Dwane Reads:

Who is the name of the person on the badge?

Write a poem using the above prompt.

When you go to work or the shops you often engage with people whom you might not know. We might know them as just the person in the store who does their job. (wearing a badge perhaps a name/ can I help etc.) It could be you, however. Do you wear a badge that you identify with? Write something about it. No more than 100 words. 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 9, 2023: Poetry Writing Prompt from Carole Roseland

This poetry writing prompt submitted by Carole Roseland:

Write a poem about something that is supposed to be “new and improved” that has turned out to be a disappointment.

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, 2023: Poetry Writing Prompt from Corey Bryan

This poetry writing prompt submitted by Corey Bryan:

Appreciate the Mundane – Anyone can write a poem about the pen on their desk, or their favorite coffee mug. The real challenge here isn’t to observe the mundane, but to transform it into something poetic and beautiful.

Here is an example in Kimo form:

Printer looms like an ebony gargoyle
collecting dust and boredom
Its stony eyes–waiting

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 7, 2023: Poetry Writing Prompt from Austin Alexis

This poetry writing prompt submitted by Austin Alexis:

Write a poem featuring an inanimate object. In the first stanza write about the object as objectively as you can. In the second stanza allow a highly subjective “take” on the object. In the third stanza treat the subject in a far-reaching way, pushing the writing to morph into something beyond the mundane.

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, 2023: Poetry Writing Prompt from Robert Wynne

This poetry writing prompt submitted by Robert Wynne:

Do you like surrealism? I’d like you to think of an inedible inanimate object. Now think about how you’d eat it. Then write a poem describing in detail HOW you would eat (or are eating) it. Do not say why you are eating it, just how. The poem ends when the thing is eaten. Simple as that.

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 5, 2023: Poetry Writing Prompt from Annette Gagliardi

This poetry writing prompt submitted by Annette Gagliardi:

This Is Just To Say by William Carlos Williams

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
saving
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

William Carlos Williams, This Is Just to Say” from The Collected Poems: Volume I, 1909-1939, copyright ©1938 by New Directions Publishing Corp.

Read Williams’ poem and think of what you might want to apologize for. It might be something you took without permission, something you said or did, something you wanted to do, but didn’t, etc. It could be serious or funny. Think about who you might send the poem to and if you will follow Williams’ style or create your own.

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, 2023: Poetry Writing Prompt from Ann Stevenson

This poetry writing prompt submitted by Ann Stevenson:

Try writing the opposite of a well known poem, such as Wordsworth’s ‘I wandered lonely as a cloud’ turning into ‘I marched along among the crowd’ – instead of ‘a crowd of daffodils’ use ‘not a flower in sight’.  Or Walter De La Mere’s  ‘The Listeners’ – have the house full of people.  Or Yeats ‘When You Are Old’ change to ‘Whilst You Are Young’.  Just a thought…

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, 2023: Poetry Writing Prompt from Angele Ellis

This poetry writing prompt submitted by Angele Ellis:

WHAT’s IN A NAME?

This prompt is effective as a writing group icebreaker/community builder, as well as an individual exercise for writers of both poetry and prose.

Using your first name as inspiration, reflect on any or all of the following questions in your piece.

  1. Why were you given this name?
  2. What is its meaning?
  3. How has having this name affected your life?
  4. What would you have named yourself?

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, 2023: Poetry Writing Prompt from Alemseged Sisay

This poetry writing prompt submitted by Alemseged Sisay:

Write with one of the following styles: Koori style, Ganta style, Shoa style, or Alemseged alphabetical rhyme

Learn more about each style:

Alemseged alphabetical:   https://alemsegedsisay9.medium.com/learn-about-alemsegeds-alphabetical-rhyming-scheme-and-alemseged-s-simple-rhyming-poetry-c2f32bb31a80

Kooi style:  https://medium.com/@Internationalpoetrynewsletter/modern-cbe315b33fb7

ganta style :  https://medium.com/@Internationalpoetrynewsletter/modern-ganta-poems-and-how-to-write-ganta-poems-a6b08b655078

Shoa style : https://medium.com/@Internationalpoetrynewsletter/modern-shoa-poems-and-how-to-write-shoa-poems-afc5c57d3af9

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 1, 2023: Poetry Writing Prompt from Dick Westheimer

This poetry writing prompt submitted by Richard Westheimer:

  1. Go to https://randomwordgenerator.com/
  2. Generate 12 nouns or verbs – 3 syllables or less
  3. Feel free to repeat until you get 12 words that you’re ok with. (Feel free to slightly modify a word.  For example, in the example below, I changed “site” to “cite.”)
  4. Write them down in order
  5. Write a 14 line poem where the first 12 lines contain your 12 words (one for each line)

Example: These words: “room nap lose galaxy like cool site feel revival pop siege patient” became this poem: https://www.rattle.com/my-father-transformed-by-dying-by-dick-westheimer/

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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