Poetry Prompt – 8: Addicted to…

For today’s inspiration, fill in the blank: “Addicted to ____.” Make this phrase the title or first line, or both. 

Your poem can be about an addiction to a person, emotions, life, habits (i.e. Addicted to Love, Addicted to You, etc.). It can be about something more material (Addicted to Chocolate, Addicted to Coffee, etc.). Or make the addiction a metaphor.

Addictions tend to be related to excess, lack of self-control, giving in to the things that eat you alive, and the fruitlessness of emotional highs. That being said, there is some room for play between the pleasure and pain of addiction and addictive behavior.

“The Moth don’t care when he sees The Flame.
He might get burned, but he’s in the game.
And once he’s in, he can’t go back, he’ll
Beat his wings ’til he burns them black…
No, The Moth don’t care when he sees The Flame. . .
The Moth don’t care if The Flame is real,
‘Cause Flame and Moth got a sweetheart deal.
And nothing fuels a good flirtation,
Like Need and Anger and Desperation…
No, The Moth don’t care if The Flame is real. . .” – Aimee Mann

Poetry Prompt – 7: Dream

The Knight's Dream by Antonio de Pereda (1655)
The Knight’s Dream by Antonio de Pereda (1655)

Dreams are often sources of inspiration for my poems. Their surreal, otherworldly, nostalgic, and subjective aspects lend themselves well to poetic expression.

For this exercise, just as you are falling asleep, think about dreams that you’ve had in the past. If you hardly remember your dreams, or don’t find them inspiring, practice daydreaming just as you are falling asleep. Really use this time to lose yourself and get lost in your imagination.

Keep a notebook and pen next to you. Then when you begin to wake up, either in the middle of the night or first thing in the morning, start writing your poem. Don’t hold back, let your words flow while you are still surrounded by the lucidity of your dreams.

Sweet dreams, form a shade
O’er my lovely infant’s head;
Sweet dreams of pleasant streams
By happy, silent, moony beams. –  William Blake

Poetry Prompt – 6: Sensory Poem

Photo by Stephane Mignon
Photo by Stephane Mignon

Today’s prompt is a modified version of a prompt from the Nov/Dec 2016 Issue of Poets & Writers magazine.

For today’s inspiration, go out into the world and look around you. Choose a scene, or scenery, and draw your inspiration from the sensory experiences. Start by making a list of words or phrases to “describe the surface textures, odors, […] colors,” and sounds you experience. It may be “bright puffy parkas or dark wool coats, the shiny prints and textures of patterned gift wrap, the stark tones of snow, […] the scents of fragrant conifers and baked desserts,” or the sounds of bells, crowds, laughter.

If you’re feeling up to it, write three poems with “each focusing on one type of sensory output.”

Poetry Prompt – 5: Formation

For today’s poem, write about “formation.” This can be the growth and development of a person or organism, an idea, or an identity. It could be the formation of a group or animals (like ants or geese), or even the creation of something inanimate, like pottery. If you’re feeling up to it, let the subject of your poem dictate the form of the poem, so that it visually reflects a kind of formation.

The self is not something ready-made, but something in continuous formation through choice of action. – John Dewey

Poetry Prompt – 4: The Insects Rejoice

Today’s prompt comes from the help of a random poem-line generator I was playing around with, by PoetsOnline.org. Write a poem that centers on the phrase “the insects rejoice.” This can be a positive or negative poem, depending on how you want to interpret the phrase. You can modify it to talk about a specific kind of insect, or insert the exact phrase into your poem, or use it in the title of your poem.

Large flocks of butterflies, all kinds of happy insects, seem to be in a perfect fever of joy and sportive gladness. – John Muir, 1867 October 9th, A Thousand-Mile Walk To the Gulf

The chirping cricket has ceased its noise, and is asleep in its hiding-place. A little white miller is flying about the light as though he thought it the most wonderful thing in the whole world…. That’s right, sweet creature, rest yourself and slumber, if you please, on the corner of that Holy Bible. He who wrote that book is as much your Father, as He is mine. At this silent hour and in this solitary place, you have come to minister to my delight. The thoughts which you have caused will make my rest this night more peaceful than it would have been but for you. – Charles Lanman, “Musings,” 1840

Poetry Prompt – 3: Shattered

Shattered by Quinn Dombrowski
Shattered by Quinn Dombrowski

For today’s poem, write about what comes to mind when you think on “shattered.” It could be about an object shattering, a shattered person, shattered dreams, or could even be used as the form of your poem, in which the words and phrases are visually shattered.

“Faith is the strength by which a shattered world shall emerge into the light.” – Helen Keller

“The maid that loves goes out to sea upon a shattered plank, and puts her trust in miracles for safety.” – Edward Young

Poetry Prompt – 2: Beautiful Words

Some words are so fantastic that their definition, or even the sound they make as they roll off your tongue, can inspire a whole piece of writing. For today’s poem, choose one of the four words below to inspire you. If you’re feeling ambitious, try writing a poem for each word. 

  • maudlin: (adj) self-pityingly or tearfully sentimental, often through drunkenness.
  • ennui: (n) a feeling of listlessness and dissatisfaction arising from a lack of occupation or excitement.
  • bucolic: (adj) of or relating to the pleasant aspects of the countryside and country life.
  • avuncular: (adj) Of or relating to an uncle, or resembling an uncle in attitude; kindly, genial, benevolent.

Poetry Prompt – 1: Tree Poem

You can live for years next door to a big pine tree, honored to have so venerable a neighbor, even when it sheds needles all over your flowers or wakes you, dropping big cones onto your deck at still of night. ~ Denise Levertov

If trees could scream, would we be so cavalier about cutting them down? We might, if they screamed all the time, for no good reason. ~ Jack Handey

Today’s poetry prompt is from the Sept/Oct 2016 Issue of Poets & Writers Magazine.

Write about a poem about a specific tree. It’s best if you can spend time actually observing the tree, looking at its texture, the sounds surrounding it, the colors of its leaves, etc. Try associating it with a memory, a metaphor, a rhythm, or wherever else your imagination takes you.

Another way to go about this is to write a series of short poems about the same tree, taking each poem in a different direction, perspective, or style.