National Poetry Month Poetry Prompts

Dear Poetry Friends, 

In celebration of National Poetry Month the SDSPS board has compiled a treasure trove of writing prompts to encourage you to create some lovely new poems! If you develop one or two into your own treasures, remember to send them to the Society. We would love to consider them for inclusion in the Fall Pasque Petals, submissions due August 1. Happy writing!

General prompt ideas:

  1. Have you found love on a two way street or left on a lonely highway?
  2. Lust vs love
  3. How long does love last?
  4. Are you worthy of love?
  5. Would you rather be wanted or needed and for what?
  6. Where I’m From – you can link the original poem by Appalachian poet, George Ella Lyon, and then provide the following prompt of using “I am from” repeated throughout the poem.  Consider using sensory details to explain where you are from in the poem. Link to the original poem:
  7. Cold water: What feelings do you associate with cold water? Maybe it’s a refreshing cold glass of water on a hot day, or maybe you imagine the feelings associated with being plunged into the icy river in the winter.
  8. Grab the closest book. Go to page 29. Write down 10 words that catch your eye. Use 7 of words in a poem.
  9. Find a favorite recipe. Now write a poem inspired or in the style of that recipe about a family secret—yours or someone else’s. 
  10. Mine your favorite book of poetry for the best words and images. Consider why those images work especially well, and write some of your own images. Choose three of the words to use in your next poem.

Some prompt inspiration from the FA 2020 Pasque Petals (click here to purchase):

  1. Read S.D. Bassett’s poem “Just Asking” (p. 11) Brainstorm a list of 5-10 things you believe, whether associated with a religion or not, and write a poem about one of them. Why do you believe it? Is there anything you find noteworthy or strange or disturbing about this belief?
  2. Read Darla Biel’s poem “Meeting” (p. 12) What is the most beautiful thing you have seen lately? Describe in vivid detail why that was so strikingly beautiful to you in that moment.
  3. Read Shane A. Blake’s poem “Emptied” (p.13) and consider his line “I’m submerged in an ocean of shame and despair with loneliness strapped / to my back like an oxygen tank” What, if anything, do you feel is “strapped / to [your] back like an oxygen tank”?
  4. From that same poem, Blake asks “Can you long for something and fear it at the same time?” Answer this question using a variety of angles and images.
  5. From that same poem, he writes about finding a deep peace. Have you ever found this in your life? Where have you found it? How have you found it? Does it feel like he describes as an emptiness or a fullness or something in between?
  6. Read Eliza Blue’s poem (p. 15) “The Longest Day of the Year” in which she writes “My sadness used to be / like a room in a house.” Read through the way she continues this simile throughout. Consider an emotion you have been feeling more recently. Start a poem with a simile about that emotion.
  7. Read Phyllis Cole-Dai’s poem “On the Cemetery Road” (p. 24) and write a eulogy in which you use repetition.
  8. Read Brooklyn Gross’s poem “Pinky Promise” (p. 32). Consider a relationship in your life that has changed and write about that change through images and moments like Gross does here.
  9. Read Linda Hallstrom’s poem “Joy can be simple” (p. 34). Do you agree that joy can be simple? Or is it more elusive than that? Where do you find simple joys? Write about how you find solace in life.
  10. Read “For my Children” (p. 47) by Holly Moseley. Write a poem to people in the future, could be children, grandchildren, people who will live in your apartment/house next, a baby, or the next generation generally. What do you want them to know about you and your time?

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