Poetry Prompt – 18: Oxymoron

I’m back! Sorry for my complete slack in writing poetry prompts this month. Time to get back into it…

Genuine Fake Watches by Rachel Fujita

Today’s poem will be all about oxymoron.

An oxymoron is (according to Google) “a figure of speech in which apparently contradictory terms appear in conjunction.” Often this is displayed in a couple words (i.e. living dead, original copy, act naturally, jumbo shrimp, etc.), but it also can be displayed in a sentence or phrase. I love the example Google gives, Continue reading “Poetry Prompt – 18: Oxymoron”

Poetry Prompt – 17: 8 Words

As you write today’s poem, use at least four of the eight words listed below. Use all eight if you’re feeling ambitious. If you need a little inspiration, before you write think about the way these words can connect and let it form a picture or story in your mind. Let the words guide your subject.

  • believe
  • foreign
  • milk
  • foster
  • consumption
  • plenty
  • freeze
  • baking

Poetry Prompt – 16: Beautiful Words #2

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 three words below to inspire you. If you’re feeling ambitious, try writing a poem for each word.

petrichor: /peˌtrīkôr/ (noun) a pleasant smell that frequently accompanies the first rain after a long period of warm, dry weather.

coruscant: / kəˈrəskənt/ (adjective) glittering; giving forth bright flashes of light

hiraeth: [Welsh word] /here-eyeth/ (noun) a homesickness for a home to which you cannot return, a home which maybe never was. “It’s an unattainable longing for a place, a person, a figure, even a national history that may never have actually existed. To feel hiraeth is to feel a deep incompleteness and recognize it as familiar.” [The Paris Review]


Short Story Prompt – 3: Attractive Ugliness

Timothy Dalton as Edward Rochester and Zelah Clarke as Jane Eyre

For today’s short story, write about a person who is “ugly” by conventional societal standards and make this ugliness resonate with the main character. The person may be ugly in their actions, in their soul, or physically unattractive, but make something about their ugliness unique, tragic, pleasurable, sinful, appalling, or simply human. Regardless, have the ugliness of the character connect somewhere deep inside your MC, and reveal something about them both.

There are numerous examples of this theme in literature and movies (more than you might think), but the first relationship that comes to mind for me is Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester.

For an excellent short story on attractive ugliness, try reading “Sarah Cole: A Type of Love Story” by Russell Banks.

Poetry Prompt – 15: The Moth and the Butterfly

Photo by Paul Horner
Photo by Robert Verzo

For today’s prompt, write a “moth” poem and a “butterfly” poem.

These can be two complementary poems – with the “moth” representing one aspect of a metaphor, and the “butterfly” the other – or two entirely separate poems with each as an individual subject.

You could also try combining the two subjects into one poem, giving each one a distinct identity against the other.

As you’re brainstorming, look at various photographs and videos of moths and butterflies. Or, if you’re able, examine them in real life. Research their metamorphoses, their similarities and differences. But, most importantly, relate them to your own personal perspective.

Poetry Prompt -12: Wild Animal

Write a poem about a wild animal. Watch videos of the animal, look at photos, or observe the animal in real life if you’re able. What makes this animal mysterious, or beautiful, or terrifying? How does this animal behave, and how can that behavior be metaphorical for something we find in humanity? Is there something pure about this animal? Something inherently monstrous? Something alien about it, or something strikingly familiar? Let your observations expand your imagination and wonder.

The Tyger

by William Blake

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright,
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?
In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare sieze the fire?
And what shoulder, & what art,
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? & what dread feet?
What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?
When the stars threw down their spears,
And water’d heaven with their tears,
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?
Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

Poetry Prompt – 11: Literary Character

Renfield from "Dracula" (1931)
Renfield from “Dracula” (1931)

For today’s poem, think of one of your favorite fictional characters from literature. What makes this character unique? What interesting attributes does he/she possess? What role does he play in the story, and how does she interact with other characters? Sketch out these details, until you find something about the character that inspires you. Then write a poem reflecting that inspiration.

The character I chose for my poem is Renfield from Bram Stoker’s Dracula (hence the photo), but here is an excerpt of a poem from Jane Eyre written by Charlotte Bronte, which applies nicely to the character of Jane Eyre.

The Poor Orphan Child (excerpt)

by Charlotte Bronte (from Jane Eyre, Chapter III)

My feet they are sore, and my limbs they are weary;
Long is the way, and the mountains are wild;
Soon will the twilight close moonless and dreary
Over the path of the poor orphan child.

Why did they send me so far and so lonely,
Up where the moors spread and grey rocks are piled?
Men are hard-hearted, and kind angels only
Watch o’er the steps of a poor orphan child.


Check out the rest of the poem here.


Short Story Prompt – 1: Fairy Tale

"The Five Sisters" by Annie Stegg
“The Five Sisters” by Annie Stegg

For a change of pace, today is a short story prompt. However, if short story writing isn’t your thing, this prompt can easily be tailored to poetry.

For today’s story, re-tell or modernize (or horror-ize) a fairy tale. It could be one of the classics, like “Snow White” or the “Princess and the Pea,” or a holiday-themed tale, like Frosty the Snowman, Santa Claus, or Krampus, or even an original story of your own invention that has fairy tale qualities and characters. Some good sources are, of course, Grimm’s Fairy Tales and stories by Hans Christian Andersen. Use the story itself, or a specific character, or the overall moral lesson from the fairy tale to influence your writing. Whatever the case, make it your own original creation.

Poetry Prompt – 10: William Wordsworth

Daffodils by Mike Mozart
Daffodils by Mike Mozart

Today, write a poem inspired by William Wordsworth’s “Daffodils.” You could borrow the subject and write about flowers, or something specific to nature, or peaceful pleasure. Another option would be to have an entirely different subject, but use the same rhyme scheme as Wordsworth (ABABCC). Or you could focus on an often overlooked item and write about it in the Romantic style. Whichever way you choose, let Wordsworth inspire you.


by William Wordsworth

I wandered lonely as a cloud
  That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
  A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
  And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
  Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
  Outdid the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
  In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
  In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
  Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.