Poetry prompts

Let these recent personal photos and original collages inspire a new poem (or work with some of these more detailed — and soon to be updated! — writing and poetry prompts). You can also jump to the bottom of the page for a little background on prompts and how to use them.

What are poetry prompts, anyway?

Writing prompts are instigators. They want to start something. No matter what form they take — instructions, images, articles, lists of words, etc. — their intent is the same: inspire you to get words on the page. Sometimes it feels like a gentle nudge into a room. Other times, it’s more like the first shove out of the nest. Either way, for those who love them, their generative power is prized and praised.

Need writing inspiration? Bookmark these poetry prompts from @caroleebennett! (Yup, she’s at it again!)

How can I use these prompts?

However you like! If you’re a prompt pro, just dig in. You know what to do. If you’re new to prompts, here are a couple of suggestions:

  • Set a timer and write without stopping for 12-15 minutes. Later, you can harvest phrases and lines and turn this free write into a first draft.
  • Go with anything and everything that comes. No editing permitted. The idea is to let it flow. If you get stuck, repeat the current phrase until something new emerges that entices you to follow it.
  • Follow the prompt as loosely or as closely as you want. Think of it like a planet. You can depart from it on a rocket and view it from far above or leave it behind entirely. Alternately, you can scrape away at its layers with a back hoe if that’s how you roll or a toothbrush if that’s more your style.
  • Let the prompt add new texture to a revision by incorporating elements of the prompt into an existing draft.

Feel free to ask questions in the comments and/or let me know how you use poetry prompts!