Poetry Writing Prompts

Prompt Your Poetry

Creative poetry writing prompts can inspire you to compose more unique and unusual poetry than you may be accustomed to writing, and they can help you expand your poetry writing skills by challenging you to respond to the prompt in new and exciting ways. While there are many books, calendars, and journals filled with poetry prompts, there are also many other places you can look for inspiration.

Taste Your Creativity

Use a favorite food as a delicious poetry prompt, or choose a food you can't stand for a poem that forces you to contemplate the food more deeply than its taste. As a more creative alternative, consider the ingredients that make up your favorite dish and compose a poem to include them all.

Perspective Poems

Changing your personal perspective can be a wonderful poetry prompt. Instead of writing about a bird, pet, or animal, become that creature and write a poem that sees the world through their eyes. For a bigger challenge, choose two competing creatures - the bird and the cat that seeks to make a snack of it - and compose stanzas from each perspective.

Travel with Words

A famous destination can be a fun poetry prompt. Choose a location you wish you could visit and let your words take your readers on an exciting journey to exotic destinations and even fantasy worlds.

Colorful Poems

Embrace the abstract by allowing a single color to influence your poem. Create every image in that poem with that color, or use every sense except sight to describe the color.

Poetry to People

Many poets compose poems as odes about different individuals, but instead create a poem you want them to read. Share your hopes for a child, spouse, grandparent, student, or friend through the verses you create.

Natural Inspiration

Nature can be an inspiring catalyst for poetry, but when you use a natural scene for a poetry prompt, do more than just write about what you see. What emotions does the landscape evoke, where would you find the landscape, and why would you go there? Include those details for more meaningful poetry.

One Word Prompts

Poets don't need specialized prompt calendars or journals to challenge them: all you need is a dictionary. Open it to a random page and, with your eyes closed, point to one word. Use that word as your inspiration, either to include it in your poem or to use it as a focal point for the entire work.

Emotional Poetry

Emotions are present in everything your write, and emotions are particularly essential to good poetry. Love and sadness are the most common emotions expressed in poetry, so instead try a more creative approach and write about rage, lethargy, surprise, or trepidation.

Holiday Verses

Poems can be written for or about holidays. For a creative prompt, choose less popular poetry holidays such as Halloween, St. Patrick's Day, or the Fourth of July to serve as your inspiration, and compose a poem in a related form. A lengthy ode is perfect for Halloween, while a catchy limerick may be perfect for St. Patrick's Day and a stirring, powerful poem is best for the Fourth of July.

Read Poets

Sometimes the best poetry writing prompts come from already published poems. Read your favorite poets and think about what characteristics of their work you admire, then work those characteristics into your next poem.

Musical Muse

Music of any type can be inspiring. Write about music to make your poem sound like the beat, or choose pieces with unusual instruments such as the harpsichord, pan flutes, or steel drums to inspire unique stanzas of your own.

Everyday Prompts

Many poets make the mistake of trying to make every word of every poem grandiose and eloquent. For a more unique approach, choose an everyday object - a kitchen utensil, ordinary piece of clothing, or common piece of furniture - and work it into your poetry or compose a poem about it.

Weather Prompts

Weather is a common poetry writing prompt, from severe power of a thunderstorm to the gentle kiss of the springtime sun to the bitter shivers of a winter chill. To make your work more unique, pair the weather with an unusual characteristic, such as the romance in a blizzard or gentleness in a bolt of lightning.

Alphabetically Prompting

Poetry is made of words, and words are made of letters: let your next poem be inspired by a single letter, or create a single verse using all 26.

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Poetry Writing Prompts