Prompts for poetry month

April and National Poetry Month are just around the corner. This year, I thought I’d write up a list of prompts. You can also find prompts from Robert Lee Brewer, as well as his daily platform challenge (I’m going to try to do that).

Why write my own prompts? I want prompts that are flexible enough to fit any project I’m working on, any path I’m following. I hope these fit that bill–and I hope that they encourage a little more stretching, out of my comfort zone.

The plan? I’ll post each prompt again on its day. Later, I’ll post my poem (my draft of a poem) for one day. The next day, “poof” (as Jeannine says) and it’s gone.

Here’s 30 days of April poetry prompts:

  1. Write a list of words or images. Time yourself for 3 minutes and write everything down. Look at your list. Does anything repeat? Circle it. Write a draft using that word or image as many times as possible (you can always edit some of them out). No repeats? Pick your favorite.
  2. Start with a fairy tale (Cinderella, Goldilocks, The Three Little Pigs, etc.) and write a poem giving it three new endings.
  3. Write a poem telling yesterday’s fairy tale from the point of view of a casual observer or bit player (one of the mice, Mama bear or Papa bear, the man who sold the first pig straw, etc).
  4. Write a poem exploring that same story from the point of view of an object (the broom, the chair that breaks, the kettle).
  5. Write a list of words that rhyme (or have the same main sound) and write a poem using as many of them as possible.
  6. Pick a body part and write a poem about that body part.
  7. Write a poem in the voice of a guidebook.
  8. Remember that fairy tale? Write a poem that tells the sequel.
  9. Write a poem that starts in your favorite room.
  10. Write a poem about your favorite place (an island, a restaurant, a chair, etc.).
  11. Write a poem about a place you’ve always wanted to go but haven’t—yet.
  12. Write about what you ate for breakfast—or what you  hope you’ll eat.
  13. Write a love poem to your favorite color.
  14. Write a new story for a constellation or a single star.
  15. It’s tax day. Write a poem in the voice of tax instructions.
  16. Read three poems by someone else. Pick a line that you like and use it for your first line. When you’re done, take off that borrowed line.
  17. Take the first lines from three poems (you can use the same ones as yesterday) and use all three lines in your poem (again, take them out when you’re done).
  18. Pick your favorite tool (from the kitchen, the garden, the woodshop, the desk, wherever) and write a poem centered on it.
  19. Write a poem for your birthday.
  20. What’s hidden down deep (for example, 20,000 leagues under the sea)? Write about what’s buried, or a secret world.
  21. What chore or errand do you least like to do? Write a poem about that.
  22. Write an ekphrastic poem about one of these three pictures by Marc Chagall, Anita Malfatti (click the thumbnail to see the picture larger), Mark Tobey.
  23. Choose a story from today’s news and write a poem about it.
  24. Write a poem about something you lost.
  25. Look around: Pick three things you can see and write a poem that includes them.
  26. Write a poem about time, but don’t use the word “time” or any other abstractions.
  27. Write a poem about your favorite teacher or something your favorite teacher taught you.
  28. Pick a nursery rhyme or a moral. Use it, or part of it, as an epigraph for your poem.
  29. What’s the weather today? Write about that.
  30. Write a poem about what you want to be when you grow up—or what you thought you’d want to be when you were still a kid.

Onward to April!

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  1. T.’s avatar

    This is good stuff, Joannie. I might just have to take part!

    Reply

  2. joannie’s avatar

    I’d love to have some company!

    And I remembered this morning to add the links to the pictures for the ekphrastic poem.

    Reply

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