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Writing Prompts - Exercise Your Inner Poet, Release Your Inner Poe

Updated on October 21, 2013

Terror on the Poetry Express!

When I received EspianScrolls' request, I froze like a deer in the headlights. Poetry has never been my thing. Now, this nice gentleman, who believes otherwise, would find out the truth pretty darn quick! His faith in me, however sweet, may have been misplaced. My idea of good poetry is The Raven, or The Cat in the Hat.

I had to read the request over several times. For the life of me, I couldn't understand what this hubber was asking. What did I know about coming up with random requests using poetic titles? In a word - nothing. So, I did what any sensible hubber would do. I procrastinated.

Finally, I decided that rather than just shooting off random titles that I picked out of thin air, I would kick it up a notch on the challenge scale and make this hub about poetry writing prompts and exercises.

Poetry Writing Exercises

Warning: These just came out of my head!


Alphabet Soup Poem

Write a poem that uses every letter of the alphabet. Each line must start with the next letter.

  • Example:

A dark and stormy night

Brought upon them

Chaos and plight

Due to the monstrous fem

Escaping in the night

(I think that any possible question about my poetic abilities has just been settled.)

Make the Simple Sublime Poem

Take any ordinary object - the more ordinary the better. Can be a cereal bowl, a fingernail, doesn't matter. Look at it. Really see it and then glorify it or decimate it in poetic verse. Bring that non-descript thing to life and give it meaning as something extraordinarily beautiful or awful.

In order to do this well, you are going to have to view that object through a creative eye. Connect with it, if you will, otherwise your words will lack real feeling and purpose.

If you need an example of what I mean, read Poe's work. I can't vouch for his poems (I have them, and his essays but haven't read them) though his stories are rich with emotion filled connections, not only to people. Sometimes an eye, an imaginary heartbeat, a cat.

In case you haven't figured it out yet, I'm a horror fan and don't know a lot about poetry.

The Affair Poem

No, not people. Let's make this really interesting. Choose two objects or plants and devise a love poem that gives honour to their affair of the heart or body. Are they maddly in love or lust? Is it unrequited love? Is there someone or something coming between them?

If you want to challenge yourself, you could make it all Twelfth Night-y and introduce a third character posing as the wrong sex. Let your imagination and poetic heart go wild. Above all, have fun with it!

Food, Immortalized

Write a poem about your favourite food. What do you think when you see it? How does the anticipation of eating it make you feel? Wrap it up with your final thoughts or feelings about being sated by it.

Sporty Poem

Craft a sonnet about a sports figure or sporting event. Honour your subject or make them villanous. Naturally, you can write a tribute to someone who has retired from a sport or passed away, but I think it might be more of an exercise if you use someone living and still involved.

Presidential Poem

You have just been elected President/Prime Minister/Queen of the country. Put your thoughts and feeling into rhyming prose. To do this one justice, you will likely need to take some time to really imagine how it would be before you write anything down.

Poetry Prompts / Starters

Warning! These just came out of my head!

Below are single lines of prose. Take one or more lines and construct a poem using them.

Though it was dark, I clearly saw your eyes....

His pride was always strong, as was his will....

Colourful string and bright yarn....

Love flows, sweetly and purely...

Such a summer's day as this...

It wafted warm and aromatic...

The crew, drifting alone in that wreck of a boat...

That night burned itself in my memory...

He was alive with hope, thought it was the beginning...

Purgatory is real they told me...

The wind rippled through the long grass of the moors...

You think I've forgotten...

Red was the colour of her dress and hair...

Trapped beneath a heavy object...  (contributed by B.T. Evilpants


Writing Prompts - Exercise Your Inner Poet

Will you use any of the ideas in this hub?

See results

I Did It!

Whew! I made it through my first poetry writing prompt hub!

I am interested to know if these writing prompts and exercises have helped the poets among you. I may not know poetry, but I can appreciate it and those who do know it.

Happy writing, and please let me know how it goes using these ideas.

Henry David Thoreau

American poet, Henry David Thoreau (born 1817)
American poet, Henry David Thoreau (born 1817)

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