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200 Poetry Prompts for your Next Poem

Poetry presents a powerful medium for self-expression and creativity.

Exploring thoughtful poetry prompts can help unlock stanzas that add beauty, meaning, and imagination to life. 

Whether honing your skills or processing emotions, quality poetry prompts inspire impactful writing. 

Prompts stimulate the brain and provide launching points for translating observations into verse. 

From sensory details to philosophical themes, poetry prompts flex creative muscles.

 An effective prompt intrigues and challenges the writer just enough. 

In this blog post, we will delve into diverse poetry prompts to ignite your inspiration. 

Get ready to let these prompts unfold your unique inner voice.

“Prompts in poetry also called Poetry Prompts are like little ideas or words that help poets get started with their poems. They can be a single word, a picture, a feeling, or a question. Poets use prompts to spark their imagination and create poems that express their thoughts and feelings. It’s like a jumping-off point for their creativity, giving them a starting place to write their poetry. So, prompts are like friendly helpers for poets to begin their poetic journey.”

Form Specific Poetry Prompts 

1. Haiku – Write a 3 line poem with 5 syllables in the first line, 7 syllables in the second line, and 5 syllables in the third line. Make it about nature.

2. Limerick – Write a 5 line silly or humorous poem with an AABBA rhyme scheme. Make the first, second, and fifth lines longer than the third and fourth lines.

3. Free Verse – Write any length poem without rhyme or meter. Use imagery and emotion.

4. Sonnet – Write a 14 line poem with an ABAB CDCD EFEF GG rhyme scheme. Make it about love. 

5. Villanelle – Write a 19 line poem with an ABA rhyme scheme using two refrains. Make it melancholic. 

6. Sestina – Write a 39 line poem with a set of 6 repeating end words. Make it about longing.

7. Pantoum – Write a poem with repeating lines in an ABCA BCBD CDC… rhyme scheme. Make it meditative.  

8. Ghazal – Write a series of couplets with a AA BA CA rhyme scheme. End them with a common refrain. Make them mystical.

9. Tanka – Write a 5 line poem with 5 syllables in the first line, 7 in the second, 5 in the third, 7 in the fourth, and 7 in the fifth. Make it thoughtful. 

10. Ode – Write a poem in 3 stanzas praising something or someone. Use an ABABCC rhyme scheme. Make it joyful.

11. Ballad – Write a narrative poem with a repeating refrain. Use ABXB rhyme scheme. Make it about a legend or hero.

12. Rondeau – Write a 15 line poem with two repeating rhymes and a rhyme scheme of AABBA AABR AABBA R. Make it charming.

13. Rubaiyat – Write a quatrain poem with an AABA rhyme scheme. Make it philosophic yet romantic.  

14. Ekphrastic – Write a vivid description of a painting or photograph in verse. Use imagery and metaphor. 

15. Clerihew – Write a short 4 line biographical poem with an AABB rhyme scheme. Make it humorous.

16. Acrostic – Use a name or word to begin each line and create a poem from the letters. Make it a tribute. 

17. Nonsense – Write a playful poem that celebrates language itself. Use made up words and absurd imagery. Make it silly.

18. Found – Create a poem using words and phrases cut out of magazines, newspapers, blogs, etc. Shape them into meaning.

19. Blackout – Take a piece of text and black out words to reveal a poem beneath. Use pages from old books or print articles. 

20. Visual – Create a shape poem or concrete poem using the visual arrangement of words on the page. Make the form match meaning.

21. Surrealist – Write an absurd dreamlike poem using strange imagery, juxtaposition, and free association. Make it irrational.  

22. List – Make a list poem using catalogs, litanies, aide memoires, and inventories as poetic form. Make it enumerative.

23. Shakespearean – Write a 14 line poem mimicking the rhythm, meter, imagery and form of a Shakespeare sonnet. Make it dramatic.

24. Praise – Write a poem extolling the virtues of someone or something meaningful using hyperbole and positive language. Make it adoring. 

25. Elegy – Write a mournful poem reflecting on the death of someone important. Use imagery of nature to convey loss. Make it contemplative.

26. Autobiographical – Write a personal poem about your own life and experience. Use sensory imagery and concrete moments. Make it reflective.

27. Protest – Write a poem speaking out against injustice or corruption. Use repetition, rhetoric, and emotion. Make it persuasive. 

28. Pastoral – Write an idealized poem about rural country life. Use nature metaphors and traditional form. Make it idyllic.

29. Blank Verse – Write unrhymed lines in iambic pentameter like Shakespeare’s plays. Make it elegant and timeless.

30. Epigram – Write a very short satirical or humorous poem ending in a witty turn. Make it clever and pithy.  

31. Riddle – Write a short poem that describes something without naming it. Give clues so the reader can guess the subject. Make it mystifying. 

32. Symbolist – Use objects, images and metaphors to evoke emotion. Avoid direct statement. Make it indirect. 

33. Narrative – Write a poem that tells a story with a plot. Use techniques like pacing, dialogue, and imagery. Make it engaging.

34. Sonnet Sequence – Write a series of thematically connected sonnets with different moods and motifs. Make it varied. 

35. Romantic – Write an emotional personal poem valuing freedom, individualism, and nature. Make it passionate and idealistic.

36. Dramatic Monologue – Write a poem from the perspective of a specific character speaking. Reveal psychology through voice. Make it revelatory.  

37. Homeric – Write a grand epic poem in dactylic hexameter featuring gods, heroes, and mythic quests. Make it legendary.

38. Imagist – Write a precise visual poem focusing on images not ideas using free verse. Make it luminous. 

39. Confessional – Write an autobiographical personal poem emphasizing emotional extremes and intimate details. Make it self-revealing.  

See also  30 July Poetry Prompts (2024)

40. Speculative – Write a fantastical poem based in science fiction, fantasy or mythology. Make it otherworldly. 

41. Verse Novel – Write a poem that reads like a novel with characters, plot, setting and action. Make it narrative.

42. Procedural – Write a poem that follows an instruction manual, recipe or process. Make the form match function.

43. Erasure – Take a text and erase most of the words to create a poem from the remaining words. Make it fresh.  

44. Light – Write a short delicate poem subtly capturing a transient moment. Use imagery and quiet language. Make it luminous.

45. Blues – Write a melancholy poem originally accompanied by guitar in an AAB verse form. Make it soulful and haunting. 

46. Omen – Write a short ominous poem of prophecy using imagery and symbolism. Make it foreboding.  

47. Invocation – Write a ritualistic poem calling upon a muse or spirit for inspiration. Use rhythm and repetition. Make it spiritual.

48. Recipe – Write a poem detailing the ingredients and steps of an actual or invented recipe. Make it abundant and enriching.

49. Children’s – Write a short playful poem using repetition, rhyme and rhythm to delight children. Make it imaginative and fun.

50. Landay – Write a two line poem or Afghan women’s folk couplet with 9 syllables in the first line and 13 in the second. Make it wise yet simple.

51. Chance – Write lines using randomness like drawing words from a hat. Let the poem form organically. Make it unexpected.

52. Voice – Write a dramatic poem in the voice of an inanimate object like a tree, cloud or bicycle. Make it vivid and unorthodox.

53. Rhyme Royal – Write a poem using 7 lines with an ABABBCC rhyme scheme. Make it stately and elegant.

54. Tercet – Write a series of 3 line stanzas with an interlocking ABA BCB rhyme scheme. Make it harmonious. 

55. Cadence – Write lines of poetry built around the natural rhythmic cadence of walking or running. Make it embodied.

56. Recipe – Write a poem that reads like the directions for making or doing something. Make the form serve the function.  

57. Color – Focus a poem on descriptions of color using inventive language and synesthesia. Make it vibrant.

58. Memory – Write about a vivid memory using nostalgic details, sensory language and association. Make it evocative.  

59. Allusion – Write a poem referencing mythology, literature, history, or art through allusion. Make it learned and layered.

60. Elfchen – Write a tiny 5 line poem with 2 syllables in line 1, 3 in line 2, 4 in line 3, 5 in line 4, and 2 in line 5. Make it precise.

61. Dada – Write an avant-garde nonsensical poem using absurd imagery, made-up words, and wild juxtaposition. Make it weird!

62. Slam – Write a performance poem to be read aloud using voice, rhythm, and drama. Make it impassioned and inciting. 

63. Song – Write lyrics with meter, rhythm, repetition, and rhyme meant to be sung. Make it melodic.

64. Rap – Write rhyming lyrics meant to be spoken rhythmically over music sampling and beats. Make it fresh and lyrical.

65. Spoken Word – Write a poem using wordplay, storytelling, and performative language meant for live recital. Make it dynamic. 

66. Cinquain – Write a short 5 line poem with a specific syllable count. Make it succinct.

67. Ablaut – Write a poem repeating vowel sounds as a form of wordplay. Make it musical and lyrical.

68. Name – Write a poem inspired by the letters and meanings of someone’s name. Make it personal and playful.

69. Cut-up – Randomly cut up words to reassemble them into a poem. Let chance determine the result. Make it unexpected.

70. Bio – Write a short biographical poem encapsulating the essence of someone’s life. Make it resonant.  

71. Kural – Write a short Tamil verse with two lines focused on a single idea, proverb, or theme. Make it wise.

72. Odin – Write a poem in three stanzas, two with four lines and one with three, using alliteration and kennings. Make it ancient and epic.  

73. Palindrome – Write a poem or poetic line that reads the same forwards and backwards. Make it clever.

74. Kennings – Write a poem using two-word metaphors compound words instead of nouns. Make it imagistic. 

75. Love – Write a love poem that captures the essence of desire, passion, heartbreak, or affection. Make it sincere.

76. Nature – Write a poem celebrating trees, storms, flowers, seasons, landscapes or animals. Make it lush.

77. Praise – Write a poem glorifying someone’s talents, deeds, character or accomplishments. Make it adoring.

78. Elegy – Write a mournful poem reflecting on someone’s death or a tragic event. Make it solemn yet beautiful. 

79. Satire – Write a humorous poem mocking a vice, shortcoming or societal issue. Use irony and wit. Make it thought-provoking.

80. Protest – Write a powerful poem speaking out against injustice and corruption. Make it political and fiery.

81. Prayer – Write a devotional poem praising a deity, invoking blessings or seeking solace in faith. Make it reverent. 

82. Epic – Write a long ambitious narrative poem like the Iliad or Odyssey featuring heroes and grand action. Make it majestic. 

83. Ode – Write an exalted lyric poem formally praising someone or something of significance. Make it lofty and dignified.

84. Lune – Write a three line poem with 5 syllables in the first line, 3 syllables in the second, and 5 syllables in the third. Make it minimalist.

85. Tanka – Write a concise unrhymed Japanese poem in five lines following a 5-7-5-7-7 syllable count. Make it vivid and evocative.

86. Senryu – Write a satirical or ironic Japanese poem structurally like a haiku but mocking human folly. Make it humorous and insightful.

87. Free Verse – Write an open, unmetered, unrhymed poem exploring images, thoughts and feelings. Make it reflective and conversational.

88. Sonnet – Write a 14-line poem in iambic pentameter with a specific rhyme scheme. Make it elegant, rhythmic and thematically unified.

See also  Weekly Poetry Prompts

89. Villanelle – Write a 19-line poem using only two rhymes with repeated refrain lines. Make it intense and hypnotic. 

90. Sestina – Write an elaborate 39-line poem with a complex repeating pattern of end words. Make it complex and mathematical.

91. Pantoum – Write a meditative poem using repeating lines in an interlocking chain. Make it cyclical and hypnotic.  

92. Ballad – Write a narrative folk song with short stanzas and a repeating refrain. Make it musical and storytelling.

93. Concrete – Write visual shaped poetry using the arrangement of words on the page to enhance the meaning. Make it vivid and imaginative.

94. Acrostic – Craft a poem where the first letters of each line spell out a word when read vertically. Make it playful and clever.

95. Paradelle – Write a meditative poem repurposing lines like a double sestina. Make it recursive and kaleidoscopic.  

96. Abecedarian – Write a poem where each line or stanza begins with a successive letter of the alphabet. Make it complete and exhaustive. 

97. Rhapsody – Write an ecstatic poem praising something intensely and effusively with enthusiasm and joy. Make it euphoric and rhapsodic.

98. Recipe – Write a poem detailing the steps for making food using vivid sensory descriptions. Make it abundant, enriching and delicious.

99. Inherited Forms – Use traditional fixed forms and adapt them to fresh modern subject matter. Make it surprising and inventive.

100. Experimental – Break conventions and explore new possibilities in poetic forms, language, and subjects. Make it radically creative.

General Poetry Prompts 

1. Write a poem from the perspective of a raindrop falling from the sky. Describe what you see and feel along the journey down.

2. Pick a color and write a poem using imagery and metaphors related to that color.

3. Observe a friend or family member without their knowledge. Write a poem describing their subtle habits and quirks. 

4. Compose a poem using the items currently visible in your room as inspiration. Give each item symbolic meaning. 

5. Describe your perfect day in vivid sensory detail through poetry. Let your imagination run free.

6. Go outside and find an interesting natural object, like a flower or insect. Describe its details and connect it to a deeper meaning.

7. Recall a time you felt truly alive and free. Convey that feeling in a poem.

8. Think back to your very first memory. Describe it visually using poetic devices like alliteration, rhyme, repetition. 

9. Pick an emotion and write a poem that rouses that exact emotion in the reader.

10. Choose an historic event or person. Write a poem from their perspective. 

11. Describe your biggest dream or goal in life in a short uplifting poem.

12. Write a poem about a struggle you overcame. Convey the obstacles and your strength.  

13. Observe people in a public space. Write a poem incorporating snippets of overheard conversations.

14. Pick a song with personal meaning. Write a poem inspired by the mood, lyrics, or melody.

15. Write a poem as a letter of gratitude to someone who impacted your life.

16. Use rhythm and rhyme to turn a daily routine, like brushing your teeth, into an energetic poem. 

17. Go to a park or natural area. Write a poem personifying an aspect, like the trees swaying or water flowing.

18. Write a silly or humorous poem using puns, nonsense words, or literal meanings. 

19. Describe a delicious meal so vividly the reader can almost taste it.  

20. Use metaphor and abstract imagery to describe a state of mind like bliss, anger, grief. Allow the reader to interpret.

21. Pick an animal and describe its movements and characteristics in a poem. Think beyond physical features.

22. Write a poem describing yourself to a stranger. Convey your personality with carefully chosen details. 

23. Compose a poem using repetition of the first line at the end of each stanza. 

24. Use similes and comparisons to describe a simple object in an imaginative way.

25. Write a poem with each line containing a color that conveys the mood of that line.

26. Use personification to let an object or place tell its own story and history. 

27. Describe a picture, painting or other visual art in a poem. Move beyond the physical details.  

28. Write a poem structured as a debate between two opposing things, like love and loss.

29. Pick an issue important to you. Write a poem rallying people to action.  

30. Write a poem where the first letter of each line spells out a hidden message vertically.  

31. Compose a poem using natural imagery to describe your feelings about a relationship.

32. Use rhyming pairs of opposites throughout your poem, like dark/light, brave/afraid.

33. Choose a quote and write a poem expanding on its meaning line by line.

34. Write a poem describing a walk you took, journey you made, or trip you went on.  

35. Observe strangers and write a poem imagining their hopes, struggles, dreams.

36. Describe a sound you find comforting using literary devices like alliteration and onomatopoeia. 

37. Pick an issue in the news. Write a poem from the perspective of someone affected.  

38. Choose a monster or mythical creature. Describe its origins and purpose.

39. Use metaphor to describe a friendship or relationship in a new way.

40. Write a poem describing how you have changed over time. 

41. Use rhyme and rhythm to turn a list of items into an energetic poem.

42. Describe a moment when you felt utter joy and connection to the world. Convey this elation through poetry.  

43. Take on the point of view of an animal in nature. Describe a day in its life.

44. Write a poem sharing words of encouragement and motivation. Uplift the reader.

45. Describe a memorable experience involving one of the five senses: sight, smell, sound, taste, touch. 

46. Observe the moon. Write a poem personifying it and conveying its changing faces.  

47. Write a poem made up entirely of questions that explore an abstract theme like love, fear, hope.

See also  31 October Poetry Prompts 2024

48. Pick a place you visited, liked, and left. Convey your fondness for it through poetry.

49. Write a poem describing a work of art that moved you or left an impression. 

50. Use metaphor and imagery to describe an emotion without naming it. Let the reader infer based on your descriptions.

51. Write a poem describing a spiritual experience or moment of deep reflection.

52. Observe people interacting. Write a poem incorporating snippets of imaginary conversation.   

53. Use rhyme and repetition to describe a process, like making a cup of tea. 

54. Convey the feeling of experiencing something for the first time, like riding a bike. Describe the excitement and fear.

55. Personify an emotion like loneliness or heartbreak. Give it human qualities and have it narrate a poem.

56. Write a loving poem from a mother’s point of view looking at her new baby.

57. Describe someone you admire without naming them. Use metaphors to hint at who it is.

58. Pick an issue in your community. Write a rallying poem to inspire change.  

59. Observe the sky. Personify the clouds, sun, moon, and stars in your poem.

60. Write a poem around a central theme or message you want to convey to readers.  

61. Write a poem describing a work of music, like a song or symphony. Convey the sounds and feeling it evokes.

62. Pick a place that no longer exists, like a childhood home. Describe fond memories of it in a poem.  

63. Use your senses to describe a pleasant memory associated with a loved one who passed away.

64. Compose a free verse nature poem focusing on sights, sounds, and imagery.

65. Write a short philosophical poem contemplating a deep question or issue in life.  

66. Describe a failure or bad day poetically, showing what you learned from the experience. 

67. Use metaphor and imagery to describe your life’s purpose or personal philosophy.

68. Pick an object and personify it, giving it human abilities to interact with its environment and share its life story.

69. Write a poem sharing an important life lesson you learned the hard way. Offer wisdom through poetry.

70. Compose a poem made up of advice you would give your younger self.

71. Use rhythm, rhyme, and literary devices to describe the experience of being on a rollercoaster or thrill ride. 

72. Pick a job and write a poem about it from the worker’s perspective using sensory imagery.  

73. Choose a fairy tale or story. Write a poem from an alternate perspective, like the wolf’s or the giant’s.

74. Use a string of metaphors to describe someone you love in a new imaginative way.

75. Take on the voice of a supernatural or mythical being like a ghost, vampire, or mermaid. Describe your world.

76. Write a free verse poem describing yourself or your life using nature metaphors and similes.

77. Compose a poem of thanks or praise to something abstract like creativity, hope, or your childhood.

78. Write a poem sharing words of support or encouragement for someone going through a hard time.

79. Pick an issue or cause important to you. Write a poem rallying others to lend their voice or take action.  

80. Describe a beautiful landscape you visited powerfully using poetic imagery and devices. Allow the reader to envision it.

81. Use personification to let an object tell the story of its creation and history. Imagine if it could talk.  

82. Pick an emotion and write a five line poem using each line to convey it more strongly. Build intensity.

83. Describe a stranger you saw in a public place, imagining their life and personality beyond their appearance.  

84. Write a poem structured as a debate between two conflicting emotions, like joy and grief.  

85. Compose a poem sharing an important life lesson through a metaphor or symbolic story. Offer wisdom obliquely.

86. Describe a type of weather using poetic devices. Convey the sensations and experiences it evokes.

87. Take on the voice of a plant or tree in nature. Describe your limited but rich perspective on the world.

88. Write a poem celebrating a historical figure or event through praise and vivid imagery. 

89. Pick an item that symbolizes a relationship, time in your life, or experience. Describe it in detail.

90. Observe people in public. Compose a poem incorporating imagined snippets of conversation that hint at their lives. 

91. Use a central metaphor extended through a poem to describe your life’s journey or personal growth.

92. Write a poem sharing words of gratitude or praise for someone who helped you through a difficult time.  

93. Describe a memorable, fleeting moment in nature through poetry in great detail. Convey its power and beauty.

94. Pick a place you love. Use rhythm and imagery to take the reader on a poetic tour of its sights and sensations. 

95. Compose a free verse poem describing a spiritual experience, enlightening realization or moment of clarity.

96. Write a rhyming poem describing a process through a string of verbs, like chopping, mixing, folding, baking.  

97. Use similes and vivid imagery to describe a simple, everyday object in a fresh imaginative way.  

98. Take on the voice of an animal. Describe a day in your life using humor and your unique perspective.

99. Describe someone you love without naming them. Use metaphors and objects to creatively hint at who they are.

100. Free form poem: Write freely about any topic or experience important to you. Let your inner voice guide the pen.

Conclusion

Poetry prompts are invaluable tools for stimulating creativity and self-discovery.

 However, don’t become overly attached to any single prompt. 

Allow them to gently provoke and guide, not control. 

Keep practicing the art of channeling insights into imaginative verse. 

Appreciate that poetry’s beauty lies in capturing fleeting moments and intangible concepts. 

Your authentic experiences deserve expression. 

Revisit your poems occasionally to appreciate your evolution.

 Though rewarding, translating life into poetry requires courage and vulnerability. 

By opening up, we better know ourselves and connect with others. Keep these prompts close by whenever inspiration strikes.

By Onyemechi Nwakonam

Hi ,I write poetry and short prose. I am excited to help you organise your writing journey.

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