Here are 100 prompts for promptly-written impromptu poetry.
Use these prompts for daily practice, for warm-ups, for intellectual party games, or to pen last-minute valentines.
Commit to the whole 100 days; flex your dactyls and indulge in spondaic spontaneity.
Life is short, art is long long short.
- A Shakespearean sonnet about music theory.
- Rotting roses, a tube stop, ecstasy.
- Turn a poem you love into its opposite.
- A triolet on toilet paper.
- Fake passport, dragons, sex.
- A dramatic monologue by a submarine captain.
- A sestina about a childhood holiday.
- Ink, blink, mink.
- A poem describing the last episode of your favourite TV series.
- Your mock-epic morning routine.
- A haiku about the end of the world.
- A rhyming couplet about couples.
- Love at third sight.
- Cold coffee, a möbius strip, a spiritual experience.
- A funny poem about art.
- Advice from your older self.
- “Higher and higher every day,”
- Write a found poem with words you can see from where you’re sitting.
- Write a villanelle with A-rhyme “few” and B-rhyme “press”.
- Write a poem around your favourite proverb. For inspiration: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poetrymagazine/poem/243216
- Self-love, champagne, science.
- Write a macaronic poem using false cognates: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_cognate
- Ne plus ultra.
- 2 lines about your mood.
- Humble, tumble, fumble.
- Write a poem composed of punctuation marks. For inspiration: Updike’s “Love Sonnet”.
- An ode to giving in.
- Write a poem about the most unpoetic thing you can think of.
- Touch, much, clutch.
- “There is no money in poetry…”
- Rhyming resolutions.
- “There was a young woman from Crewe…”
- Hitch, ditch, stitch, itch.
- Write a poem consisting only of direct speech.
- Your favourite poet, cut-up: http://www.languageisavirus.com/cutupmachine.html
- Green and gold.
- Turn a blues song into a villanelle.
- Necklace, essence, ascribe.
- Ask, mask, task.
- 2 lines of trochaic hexametre about feeling tired.
- Bank, thank, drank.
- “Upon the Russian frontier…” – Matthew Arnold.
- Write an eponymous poem.
- Write an ode to your favourite piece of clothing.
- Brown paper, irises, Guinevere.
- Write a poem about something you’ve never seen, heard, touched, tasted or smelled.
- A: none; B: trusted; C: brink; D: pair; E: rose; F: home; G: left.
- “Life and Thought have gone away…” – Tennyson.
- Write a modern alba. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alba_(poetry)
- Almond, allemande, à la mode.
- Include as many clichés & tropes as you can in a poem.
- Dress, chess, press.
- A ballad about a modern divorce.
- A poem titled, “Death in January”.
- Knelt, svelte, felt.
- “That is her book-shelf, this her bed…”
- Adore, shore, Theodore.
- Rewrite your daily horoscope in trimetre.
- Invent a new poetic form and give it your name.
- Enthusiasm, miasma, simian.
- Enter, interest, tern.
- Tryst, mist, wrist, exist.
- Invent a word that rhymes with “love”. There aren’t nearly enough…
- Hide a love poem for someone to find.
- Write a poem “blasoning” your lover. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blason
- “Roses are red, or purple, or pink…”
- “I never said I loved you, John…”
- An ode to the loveheart.
- A poem from one famous lover to another.
- Write a found poem on the road.
- Tangent, exigent, gigantic.
- A haiku about a missed rendezvous.
- An allegorical poem about rebirth.
- Foal, fool, foul, foil.
- “The day we made the final ascent.”
- Write a mnemonic poem to remember the zodiac.
- An acrostic for the word BLANKET.
- Explore the word, “stamp”.
- Write a poem with a crayon.
- Write an ekphrastic poem describing your favourite work of architecture.
- A prose-poem on the state of flow: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_(psychology)
- A ceremonial poem to be initiated as a poet.
- Capture the way the light looks.
- Write a poem with an extended metaphor about electric sockets.
- Write a haiku on a pebble.
- Peat, meet, sleet.
- A poem about a political event you care nothing about. *
- Write a dramatic monologue from the POV of a historical monarch.
- 2 lines of dactylic hexameter about a countenance.
- A poem in the form of an itinerary, planner, or almanac page.
- A sonnet on your favourite cup or mug.
- Thief, honeymoon, gold paint.
- Attempt to convey the call of a bird you love.
- A poem about a person who has been gardening, without mentioning gardening.
- Might, mitre, miner, mint.
- Compose a new rhyme to a children’s game.
- A limerick involving a blouse.
- Describe a food you dislike in as much disgusting detail as possible.
- Find something poetic in the history of a coin.
- A rhyming riddle to guess your favourite plant.
☞ You can download these prompts in PDF format in the Coterie.
A few books that may make you a better poet:
- A Poetry Handbook by Mary Oliver
- The Ode Less Travelled by Stephen Fry
- Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg
* For inspiration:
Poem with Tweezers by Orhan Veli Kanık
Not the atom bomb
Not the London Conference
Tweezers in one hand
Mirror in the other
What does she care?