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Creative Poems

Creative Poems

Poems On Creativity

Creativity comes in a variety of forms. Many people think of writing and artwork as the main ways to show creativity, but there are many others. Creating something is a powerful form of self-expression, and it can impact other people. The inspiration to create can be found anywhere. It can be found in the beauty of nature, the relationships that surround us, or the hurt that is within us. When we allow the creative side of our brain to take over, we never know the beauty that will come from it.

24 Creative Poems and Poems about Writing

1 - 20 of 24

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1. Tapestry

  • By Lesley Elaine Greenwood
  • Published by Family Friend Poems March 2013 with permission of the Author.

Analysis of Form and Technique

If I could take a brush and paint the mountains and the moors, I would splash the hillsides yellow and cover them in gorse. I'd take the finest needle and the darkest thread of green And sew a line of bracken along the landscape. In-between

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  • Shares 6253
  • Fav orited 13
  • Rating 4.41

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2. What Is Poetry?

  • By Alora M. Knight
  • Published by Family Friend Poems May 2018 with permission of the Author.

There is more to poetry Than rhythm and rhyme. It's a window to our souls, Undiminished by time.

  • Fav orited 43
  • Rating 4.33
Beautiful poem! Sometimes I question myself and if I have any business writing poems. Somehow I can see so much talent and beauty in other people's creation but fail to see the beauty in...

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3. The Listeners

Famous Poem

  • By Walter De La Mare

‘Is there anybody there?’ said the Traveller, Knocking on the moonlit door; And his horse in the silence champed the grasses Of the forest’s ferny floor:

  • Shares 1500
  • Fav orited 7
  • Rating 4.14

4. A Tapestry Of Memories

  • By John P. Read
  • Published by Family Friend Poems September 17, 2022 with permission of the Author.

A poem's but a whisper That lingers on the breeze. A few unspoken words Appear like falling leaves.

  • Fav orited 10
  • Rating 4.62

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5. Like The Wind

  • By Douglas J. Olson
  • Published by Family Friend Poems December 2020 with permission of the Author.

Inspiration comes and goes. Sometimes it ebbs, sometimes it flows. There is no rhyme or rhythm here. Sometimes it's far, sometimes it's near.

  • Fav orited 11
  • Rating 4.59

6. Someday I'll Be Okay!

  • By Britaney L. Adams
  • Published by Family Friend Poems August 2018 with permission of the Author.

This ink, it runs. This paper is stained Tears run free as I'm stuck in a daze.

  • Shares 2754
  • Fav orited 58
  • Rating 4.55

7. Blank Paper

  • By Kym Nunn
  • Published by Family Friend Poems March 2014 with permission of the Author.

A piece of colored paper, with no dialogue or animation, can strike a drawer's or writer's utter fascination.

  • Fav orited 12
  • Rating 4.51
Life is full of regrets. Well lets say I was born to face all these horrible things and make all these mistakes but even today the question is why don't we get caution signs so we can know...

8. Among The Stars

  • By Ann D. Stevenson
  • Published by Family Friend Poems September 2020 with permission of the Author.

I see your star, it's shining bright amongst the others of the night, a sight so blessed, as by my eye your soul now rests in symmetry.

  • Fav orited 16
  • Rating 4.47
That's a real compliment from you, who writes so well, thank you. Best wishes, Ann

9. To An Old House

  • By Rick W. Cotton

What have you seen in your hundred years? If asked, what would you say, Of the dozen families that lived in your walls, Of the hundreds of children at play?

  • Shares 1026
  • Fav orited 15
  • Rating 4.46
Thank you! So very glad you enjoyed it. As a former realtor, I have walked in many an old house, and always enjoy stopping to listen to the silent stories the houses tell.....they are quite...

10. My Life, The Artwork

  • By Binie Harlig
  • Published by Family Friend Poems May 2016 with permission of the Author.

Life is a work of art, something you paint or write with your heart, taking care to make every part a symphony of colors or words

  • Shares 1879
  • Fav orited 37
  • Rating 4.43
With the symbolic figures in the poem, I have learned that you need to mold life in the way you need it to be in order to live it right.

11. The Writer

  • By Bridie S. McPherson
  • Published by Family Friend Poems June 19, 2023 with permission of the Author.

She never liked to read, Because she was always in her own head. So she wrote of all the things she knew, And made her own stories instead.

  • Fav orited 0
  • Rating 4.42

12. Natural

  • By Eugene Grinman
  • Published by Family Friend Poems September 2018 with permission of the Author.

It just comes naturally to me, I confess. Writing a verse is like taking my next breath.

  • Fav orited 29

13. Sitting Here Pen In Hand, Brain In Neutral!

  • By Paul L. Kennedy
  • Published by Family Friend Poems January 2020 with permission of the Author.

I want to write a poem, but I don't know where to start. Should it be an ode to love and come straight from the heart? Or should it wax lyrical of sky and moon and stars,

  • Shares 1159
  • Fav orited 38
  • Rating 4.35

14. Why Can't I Write?

  • Published by Family Friend Poems December 8, 2023 with permission of the Author.

Lately, I have really struggled to write, I think of an idea, but I think "no, not tonight." I try and I try, but I can't seem to find my rhyme, I don't have the motivation, and I don't have the time.

I'm sure a lot of us can relate to this poem. We all have moments when the words just won't flow. Well done putting it into a poem. Best wishes, Ann

15. The Old Fella Out At Buck Creek

  • By Gordon B. Melton
  • Published by Family Friend Poems April 2008 with permission of the Author.

There is an old fella out at Buck Creek He's a little hard of hearing, so be loud when you speak He's lived many years and has seen many things He's as good as an angel but without the wings

  • Fav orited 5
  • Rating 4.25

16. Creativity

  • Published by Family Friend Poems November 2008 with permission of the Author.

I have no name Until you name me. I have no form Until you shape me.

  • Rating 4.24

17. A Place Like This

  • By Milo Shumpert
  • Published by Family Friend Poems July 2007 with permission of the Author.

It is an early morning I need an island in the sea, Away from you, away from me, Beyond the waves, beyond the wind,

  • Shares 1183
  • Fav orited 19
I love the personal longing for that special place. John

18. What Motivates You?

  • By Jordan A Murphy

Though my passion for poetry may be stronger than steel, It symbolizes a vulnerable extension of me I don't usually reveal. Read with care while you dissect every rhyme. My existence is dependent on every poetic line.

  • Rating 4.23

19. Music Is Poetry

  • By Kristine Black
  • Published by Family Friend Poems June 2015 with permission of the Author.

Music is poetry, An expression of the heart. I can feel it in me when the music starts. My blood is flowing,

  • Fav orited 17
  • Rating 4.22

20. The Bells

  • By Edgar Allan Poe

I. Hear the sledges with the bells— Silver bells!

  • Shares 1121
  • Rating 4.12

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Interesting Literature

10 of the Best Poems about Creativity

Poetry, as one of the creative arts, has often addressed the topic of creativity. Where do ideas come from? What is inspiration? What is the relationship between originality and creativity? Below, we introduce ten of the very best poems about creativity and creation of various kinds – not just artistic or poetic creativity but other forms of ‘making’ too.

1. Sir Philip Sidney, ‘ Loving in Truth ’.

Loving in truth, and fain in verse my love to show, That she, dear she, might take some pleasure of my pain,— Pleasure might cause her read, reading might make her know, Knowledge might pity win, and pity grace obtain,— I sought fit words to paint the blackest face of woe …

Let’s begin this pick of creativity poems with a trio of sonnets from the Renaissance, penned by three of the most celebrated poets of the Elizabethan era. Sidney (1554-86) wrote one of the first great sonnet sequences in English, Astrophil and Stella , and this opening poem from the sequence sees him biting his pen and trying to create a poem to honour his beloved, the woman ‘Stella’.

Sidney – or his fictional alter ego, ‘Astrophil’ (‘star-lover’; ‘Stella’ means ‘star’) – acknowledges that he truly loves the woman he is to write about, and wants to convey that through the poetry he writes, so that his pain – in being transmuted into great verse – will please the woman he loves. This will have the knock-on effect of making her want to read on, and through reading on she will come to know how deeply he loves her, and when she realises this she will pity him, and thus he will win her ‘grace’ or attention and blessing.

2. Edmund Spenser, ‘ One Day I Wrote Her Name upon the Strand ’.

One day I wrote her name upon the strand, But came the waves and washed it away: Again I wrote it with a second hand, But came the tide, and made my pains his prey …

Along with Sidney and Shakespeare, Edmund Spenser (c. 1552-99) was one of the leading sonneteers of the Elizabethan era. This poem from Spenser’s 1595 sonnet sequence Amoretti , which he wrote for his second wife Elizabeth Boyle, tells us that he wrote his beloved’s name on the beach one day, but the waves came in and washed the name away. He wrote his beloved’s name out a second time, but again the tide came in and obliterated it, as if deliberately targeting the poet’s efforts (‘pains’) with its destructive waves. But there’s a twist: here we have another take on the popular Renaissance conceit that the poet’s sonnet will immortalise his beloved.

3. William Shakespeare, Sonnet 83 .

I never saw that you did painting need, And therefore to your fair no painting set; I found, or thought I found, you did exceed That barren tender of a poet’s debt …

poem about creative writing subject

4. Elizabeth Bishop, ‘ One Art ’.

Bishop (1911-79) is now regarded as one of the great American poets of the twentieth century, although her reputation is still eclipsed by the confessional poets such as Sylvia Plath. ‘One Art’ considers losses and losings of all kinds, celebrating them as ‘art’: all loss, no matter how terrible and heart-breaking, can feed an artist’s creativity. The artful artifice of the villanelle form is here pressed into glorious service.

5. Dylan Thomas, ‘ In My Craft or Sullen Art ’.

This poem sees Thomas (1914-53) addressing that common question: why does a poet choose poetry as their vocation? Or does the calling choose them? What motivates a poet to devote their life to the creating of poetry?

The answer, in Thomas’ case, is romantic: the poet talks about labouring ‘by singing light’ not for money or out of ambition, but for the ‘common wages’ of the ‘secret heart’ of lovers down the ages.

6. John Ashbery, ‘ The Painter ’.

The hugely influential and popular American poet John Ashbery (1927-2017) gave us one of the finest poems about the art of creating a painting. In ‘The Painter’, he uses the difficult form of the sestina to describe a painter who depicts the sea in his paintings. Through utilising a half-dozen key words of the sestina (which stand in for the usual rhyme words), Ashbery brings together the buildings, the portrait, the painter’s brush, the canvas on which the portrait is painted, the idea of prayer, and the subject of the painting – with the painting itself being the subject of the poem.

7. Ted Hughes, ‘ The Thought-Fox ’.

This is probably Hughes’ greatest poem about poetic creativity, and it had its origins in his time as a student of English at Cambridge. He was losing his ability to write poetry because the practice of critically analysing poems by other writers was stifling his own creativity.

One night, while working on a literature assignment, Hughes was ‘visited’ by a fox which entreated him to stop analysing poems and start writing them. He did so, and this poem – which appeared in his first collection, The Hawk in the Rain (1957) – remains one of his best-known poems.

8. Sylvia Plath, ‘ Words ’.

As the poem’s title implies, ‘Words’ is a meditation on the very stuff of poetry, although it is neither wholly favourable nor wholly damning about the power of words. ‘Axes’, the opening word, immediately invites us to draw a link between title and opening line: words are axes, in that they are cutting, powerful, but also potentially deadly. After one has struck the wood of the tree or log with an axe, the wood ‘rings’. Like that axe felling a tree or slicing a log, words echo, and the echoes travel away from the ‘center’ (the one who has spoken or written those ‘words’?), galloping away like horses.

This poem is on this list because it explores both the creative and destructive power of words, which can be used to cut (like those axes) as well as echo down the ages.

9. Carol Ann Duffy, ‘ The Love Poem ’.

This poem appeared in Duffy’s 2005 volume Rapture, and is a poem about the difficulty of writing a love poem. Duffy explores this difficulty – the notion that ‘everything has already been said by everybody else’ – by quoting snippets from famous love poems from ages past, such as those by John Donne, William Shakespeare, and Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

‘The Love Poem’ shows that Duffy is aware of the rich tradition of love-poem sequences in English literature: it is a poem that feels the weight of these former masters – Shakespeare, Sidney, Donne, Shelley, Barrett Browning – and finds it difficult to write a love poem that won’t sound like a bad pastiche or copy of these literary greats. ‘I love you’, as Jacques Derrida was fond of pointing out, is always a quotation.

10. Claudia Emerson, ‘ Beginning Sculpture: The Subtractive Method ’.

Emerson (1957-2014) was an American poet who won the Pulitzer Prize for her 2005 collection Late Wife . In this poem, she describes the art of sculpture, referencing the famous line attributed to Michelangelo about subtracting bits from the block of marble until the sculpture emerges. Here, though, the setting is a class in which girls chisel away at blocks of salt.

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Home » Blog » 132 Best Poetry Prompts and Ideas to Spark Creativity

132 Best Poetry Prompts and Ideas to Spark Creativity

poem about creative writing subject

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Many great minds considered poetry to be the superior form of art. It transcends mortality and the transience of human life and becomes an eternal monument of people’s existence and creativity. Poetry that was written hundreds of years ago can still mesmerize, astonish, inspire, move, horrify, and elevate us.

There is an unlimited number of themes that can be used to produce great poetry. Inspiration can find its way in a myriad of ways, so this is a chance for you to get your creative juices flowing. Poetry prompts can be of great help when you are trying to find your poetic voice, or trying to step outside your comfort zone. We hope that these ten sets of themes will bring the best of your writing skills.

Ideas for poems about different types of emotions

It is no wonder that the first set is dedicated to emotions. Poetry is almost synonymous with people’s emotional footprint. These 10 prompts cover a wide range of human emotions, so dive in deep!

  • Write a poem about a moment when you felt overwhelmingly joyful. Try to convey this emotion by depicting the setting, the time, and what prompted this strong feeling of happiness and joy. Was it a personal success? Perhaps a wish you’ve had for years finally came true. Whatever it was, draw from your own life experience.
  • Sadness is a complex emotion that all of us have felt. Sadness often gives birth to the most poetical literary pieces because many people have experienced grief, or unhappiness at a certain point in their life. Write about the cause for your sadness. Perhaps you experienced a loss of a loved one, perhaps it was a professional failure.  Oftentimes, people feel sad when they had their trust betrayed by a person they considered a friend.
  • When was the last time you felt truly angry? Think of a moment when you suffered injustice at your workplace, or you were deceived by a person you love and trust. Writing a poem about anger can be a powerful poetic expression and a way to deal with your anger.
  • Write a poem about a time when you felt scared. It can be told from a perspective of a frightened child, or, perhaps, an adult afraid for his/her life. Sometimes fear is connected to certain expectations and uncertainties about the future.
  • Imagine that you feel very proud. What prompted this feeling of pride? Being proud is usually the result of an accomplishment on a personal or a private level.
  • Write a poem about a time in your life when you felt brave and powerful. Describe the circumstances that led to this outburst of bravery in a personal, or professional setting. Let the reader feel the confidence and resolution in your actions through the power of verse.
  • Alienation is a feeling that can be soul-crushing. All people experience some moments in life when they feel as if they don’t quite fit in, or are overlooked. The feeling of alienation is often linked to the feeling of low self-worth. Write about how you managed to overcome this feeling and who, or what helped you in the process. Many people will recognize themselves in a poem about personal alienation.
  • Another poetry prompt about an emotion is writing about anxiety. In these modern times filled with busy schedules, it is more than expected that people would feel anxious. Take a deep look within and try to discover the source of anxiety in your own life. Sometimes it is the workplace, sometimes it’s your love life, but sometimes people have existential crises that lead to anxiety due to life’s uncertainty and complexity.
  • Pessimism is a theme widely explored in poetry. People often feels pessimistic due to a variety of problems in their lives. Writing a poem about pessimism may inspire people to try and find another way to look at the world by seeing things in a new perspective.
  • On the opposite side of the specter is optimism. A poem about being optimistic often falls in the category of carpe-diem poems, or poems about seizing the day and making the best of every opportunity that presents itself in our lives. Write poetry about a bright time in your life when you felt that every new day offered a new chance to become better, happier, and more successful.

Ideas for poems about love

For many people love represents the meaning of life. With its so many forms, love is an eternal spring for inspiration all over the world and across generations.

  • A mother holding her baby for the first time is one of the most intense human experiences. Try to capture the deepest connection between two human beings that happens instantly. Find a new way to depict the unconditional love that is born with the birth of the baby.
  • Write a poem about love between siblings. Siblings, especially when they are younger, sometimes have strange ways of showing their love for one another. Write about the big and small gestures that describe the loving connection between brothers and sisters.
  • Do you believe in love at first sight? Describe the setting, the time, and the situation in which two strangers meet and instantly develop strong feelings of affection. You can write it in a form of a dialogue, or use love letters. You can also give their personal perspectives in different stanzas.
  • The theme is “a marriage proposal.” Imagine that this poem is written by a person who is planning to propose to their partner. List all the reasons why you think that these two lovers are perfect for each other.
  • Love stories are never absolutely perfect. Write about a fight between two spouses. Describe the circumstances and the reasons for experiencing anger towards the person you love. Present both sides of the argument. Try to find an elegant solution to the fight and end the poem with a reconciliation. 
  • Not every fight ends in making peace. Unfortunately, some love stories end in divorce. Write about the complex feelings that the two ex-lovers experience in the process.
  • Unrequited love can be horrible and depressing. The world’s greatest literature includes poem about unrequited love. Try to draw from either personal experience, or from people who are close to you. How did you try to win the other person over? What was the major obstacle? Were you disillusioned about love afterwards?
  • Write a poem about the one who got away. Start by describing the first date, the first kiss, the first fight, and the last fight before the end of the romance. Write about the expectations you both had from the relationships, the red flags, the disappointment, and the lost love.
  • Write a poem about the love between your grandparents. How did they show their affection for one another? Which small love gestures did you enjoy witnessing as a child? What did you learn from seeing how much they still care for each other? Try to portray the respect and devotion of a long-lasting relationship.
  • Talk about love in general. Write about the reasons why it is a vital part of human’s experience. Meditate upon your own experiences regarding different kinds of love. Write about the ways in which love makes us better people. Find different ways to depict the manner in which love enriches our souls.

Ideas for poems about life in general

Life is mysteriously beautiful, complex, difficult, and painful. You can show your appreciation for it, by writing on at least one of the following ten prompts.

  • Growing old is an important part of the life cycle. Some people fear the inevitable end so much that they don’t live their life to the fullest. Others are older and wiser, so they happily pass their knowledge and wisdom to the future generations. Write about your own experience, or how the old age of family members has affected your own life.
  • Write a poem about a specific accomplishment in your life and how it has improved you as a person.
  • The main theme of the poem is “the life cycle.” Everything which is born eventually dies, and the cycle starts again.
  • Write a poem about the experience of a couple who is expecting a baby. Write about the overwhelming emotions, love, affection, and care that the future parents feel.
  • There are many obstacles in life, and facing them is an important aspect in a person’s life. Write a poem about the potential hardships in life and how they affect people’s lives.
  • Write a poem from a child’s point of view. Remember how you used to perceive the world and how you tried to explain things to yourself using child’s logic. The poem will depict the sweetly naïve child’s perceptions of the world.
  • Write a poem about hope. Life is hard and complex as it is, so hope is often our driving force. Think of a time when you were hopeful.
  • Write a poem about a usual, boring day. Find poetry in the monotony of life.
  • Write a poem about travelling to a foreign country. Capture the essence of changing scenery, and dwell on the way travelling makes us more open-minded.
  • Think of a time when you were badly hurt. Write a poem about how you dealt with the pain.    

Ideas for poems about death

People from every culture and generation in the world have been obsessed with understanding death and what comes after it. It brings, sadness, nostalgia, wisdom. These ten prompts can stir your imagination and inspire philosophical thought about the most mysterious concept in the world.

  • Write a poem about the fondest memory you have of a person who had passed away. Why is this memory so special? How did you feel when this person died?
  • Death is often personified. Write a poem addressing Death as a person. What is it that you would like to tell him? What would you want to ask him?
  • Imagine that you are Death and you hate your vocation. How do you justify your actions? You can use a lighter tone for the poem.
  • Write a poem about a person who had a near-death experience. What happened to them? How did they survive? Did they change for the better after it?
  • Write a poem about a real or an imaginary genocide.
  • Write a poem about a person trying to deceive Death and reach immortality.
  • Write a poem about the death of a pet. What did you do to help you deal with the loss?
  • Imagine that you have only a day to live. What would you do?
  • Write a poem about the first time you understood the concept of death.
  • How do you want to be remembered after you die? Write a poem about how your death is going to affect your loved ones.

Ideas for poems about philosophy

People are gifted with intelligence, wisdom, and the power to think in abstract ways. People’s quest to understand the meaning of life and the world surrounding us is a fantastic basis for writing poetry.

  • Write a poem about what you perceive to be the meaning of life.
  • Friendship is a type of human connection that makes people happier and healthier in every possible way. Write a poem about your best friend, or somebody you’ve lost.
  • The thirst for knowledge is a concept that defines us as a human race. Write a poem about the eternal quest for knowledge.
  • Imagination is a distinctly human quality. Write a poem about the role imagination plays in creating art.
  • Write a poem inspired by the Machiavellian quote that the goal justifies the means.
  • Write a poem about people’s ancient desire to explain the natural phenomena by inventing elaborate mythological stories.
  • Write a poem about the good and the bad aspects of humility.
  • Patience teaches us a valuable lesson about controlling our desires. Write a poem about a time when you had to be patient when you wanted something.
  • Write a poem about the benefits from daily meditation.
  • Write a poem about perfection. Think of the combination of aesthetics and ethics and how perfection can be achieved.  

Ideas for poems about everyday things

Sometimes the most poetic compositions are created out of the simplicity of life. These ten prompts can help you find poetry in the smallest of things around you.

  • Write a poem about your everyday little rituals.
  • Write a poem about raindrops slowly falling down the window glass while you’re thinking about your life in general.
  • Write a poem about a relaxing walk in the park. Use natural imagery, but also try to depict the noises you hear: rustling, splashing, chirping, etc. 
  • Write a short poem about the simple pleasure one gets from eating a juicy piece of fruit.
  • Pets are an important part in our lives. Write a poem about the joyfulness from playing with your pet.
  • Everybody makes mistakes, so write a poem about apologizing to somebody for something you’ve done.
  • Write a poem about a sunny morning when you went out and bought some flowers from a flower shop.
  • Eating a dessert might be the most relaxing and enjoyable part of dinner. Write a short poem about eating a delicious dessert.
  • Write a poem about a time when you didn’t have electricity due to a heavy storm, so you had to read a book using a candlelight.
  • Think of an activity that relaxes you before falling asleep and write a poem about it. Perhaps the activity can be listening to Mozart!

Ideas for poems about time

Time, even for scientists, is one of the most interesting concepts. Its abstractness has served as an inspiration for many philosophical and literary works. The following prompts can guide you into writing poetry about different complexities of the notion of time.

  • Write a poem about a childhood memory that still brings you joy when you think about it.
  • Write a poem about the modern age we live it. What is positive and what is negative about living today
  • Think of a lost opportunity because the timing wasn’t right. Write a poem about the importance of using every opportunity, which is difficult because people often find excuses for their failures.
  • Write about a person who has wasted his/her youth. This person feels immensely remorseful.
  • Waking up after having spent a few months in a coma can make people reevaluate their life choices and decisions.
  • Write a poem about a time in the past when you experienced an epiphany – a sudden realization of great truth.
  • Write about the development of the human life, starting from the time a person is a toddler.
  • Describe the sunset and use it as a metaphor for the end of a person’s life.
  • Describe the sunrise and link it metaphorically to the concept of birth.
  • Write a poem about an antique clock.

Ideas for poems about different forms of art

Poetry has always been regarded as one of the most sophisticated aspects of human existence. As a form of art, it is inevitably connected to other forms of art. These ten prompts can inspire pieces that combine different artforms.

  • Write a poem about the feelings that overcome you while listening to your favorite music.
  • Write a poem about a Shakespearean play.
  • Write a poem about a mysterious painter.
  • Write a poem from the perspective of a ballet shoes.
  • Describe the images and stories painted on a Grecian urn.
  • Imagine that you are a famous painter looking at a freshly finished piece. Write a poem about the painter’s perceptions of a painting.
  • Write a poem about a day spent in a museum.
  • Write a poem about a film character that you admire.
  • Write a poem that will instruct actors on the manner that they should act, which is similar to prince Hamlet’s speech to the players.
  • Write a modernized version of a famous speech taken from a Renaissance play.

Ideas for poems about historical events

Historia est magistra vitae. Indeed, history teaches us about life. Numerous works have been written celebrating historical events, so this is your chance to use verses to do the same.

  • Imagine that you lived in the period of Alexander the Great. Write a poem about him.
  • Write a poem about the hardships in World War I.
  • Write a poem about life in the industrial revolution in England.
  • Write a poem about Martin Luther King.
  • Imagine that you are an archaeologist who makes a startling discovery in Egypt.
  • Imagine you saw the apple falling on Sir Isaac Newton’s head.
  • Write a poem about Queen Elizabeth I. She was an exceptional monarch that deserves literary praise.
  • Write a poem about the trial of Galileo Galilei.  
  • You are Alexander Bell, the person who invented the telephone. How is the world different because of you?
  • Write a poem about Archimedes and his “eureka” moment.   

Ideas for poems about religion and spirituality

If something truly separates us humans from the other forms of life on this planet, it is spirituality. The belief in a higher power is a distinctively human quality. Delve deeper into your own beliefs and spirituality and put your religious experience into words.

  • How can you restore the faith in God in somebody who seems to have lost it? How can you help this person find his way again?
  • Imagine that you are one of the three Magi following a star to Bethlehem.
  • Write a poem about a moment you felt that you are one with nature.
  • Describe your feelings after meditation. Write about the setting, your surroundings, and the feelings that come rushing in.
  • Write a poem about the afterlife. It doesn’t have to your own perception. It can be inspired by major religions.
  • Think of a religious temple you’ve visited. How did it make you feel? Where was it? Is it real, or imaginary?
  • Everybody has experienced personal hardships. Write a poem about a difficult period in your life and about your prayers to overcome it.
  • The death of a close family member, or a spouse can be the most traumatic experience in a person’s life. Write about your relationship to God after you lost somebody you loved. Did it change?
  • Write a poem about temptation. Did you give in to the temptation? How did you feel after that?
  • Imagine that you are God for only a day. What would you do with your power?

Ideas for poems about family life

The family life is in the core of a healthy society. Family ties can bring you joy, sadness, love, pride, etc. Use the following prompts to express your understanding of family life.

  • Write a poem about a child who gets a puppy as a Christmas present.
  • Describe a family trip to the ZOO. The tone can be lighter, and it can be told from the children’s point of view.
  • Write a poem about a family summer vacation. Draw inspiration from from jumping into the water, sunbathing, building sand castles, exploring cities’ architecture and culture. A summer vacation brings the best in every family, so you could go back to your own childhood in order to depict a realistic representation of the feeling.
  • You are celebrating Christmas with your extended family. Write a poem about the conversation around the dinner table.
  • Imagine that you are a mother, or a father expecting a child. You have created a new heartbeat in the world. Try to depict the wonders that surround procreation.
  • You are planning a surprise birthday party for you father and you’ve invited all of his close friends into his home.
  • Write a poem celebrating your parent’s 40-year anniversary. Tell them why this is a special event for you, how much they’ve touched your life, and how much affection you have for them.
  • Imagine that you are stuck with your sibling in an elevator for two hours. What are you going to talk about?
  • Write a poem about leaving the home you were born in and moving to anew place. Try to portray the strong feelings of nostalgia and the memories that arise from packing your life in card boxes.
  • Write a poem about an ill family member. Use your verses to make them feel better and to bring hope that everything will turn out alright in the end.

Ideas for poems about nature and travelling

Nature is a powerful and mesmerizing force that sustains us. We are a part of nature, and nature is within all of us. These ten prompts can serve as an inspiration for you to create an homage to this planet.

  • Write a poem about the beginning of spring and the new cycle of life. Use natural imagery, colors, and active verbs that would signify the awakening of nature.
  • Think of a city that you haven’t visited yet, but you really want to. Why is it so? Is it because it is exotic? Is it because of its architecture? Perhaps, you are more interested in the people and their culture.
  • Write a poem about a natural phenomenon. Are you astonished by it? Is it devastating for people? Focus on the power of nature.
  • Imagine that you are a raindrop and describe your journey.
  • Many poems have been written about the Sun and the Moon. Try to find a different angle when writing about them.
  • Write a poem about meeting an interesting/mysterious/funny person on a train in a foreign country. How did you start the conversation? How long did you talk? Did you explore the city together?
  • Imagine that you are on top of Mount Everest.  How do you feel? Who are you with? How can you inspire other mountaineers to conquer the highest mountain peak?
  • The ocean, unlike the earth, can’t be conquered by humans. The ocean is too powerful and people are it his mercy during every voyage, regardless of the length. Write a poem about the respect people should have for this large body of water.
  • Write a poem about the change of seasons and the passing of time.
  • Imagine that you’ve been granted to power to fly for a month. Where would you go? Why? How do you think your life and perceptions will change after that month?

Ideas for poems with supernatural elements

Human’s imagination is limitless and astonishing. Centuries ago people would come together to tell stories, often incorporating supernatural elements in their accounts. By doing so, they were able to cause catharsis. Mythologies were created because people couldn’t explain natural phenomena. The fight between personifications of good and evil have been of great interest for millions of literature lovers. Here are 12 prompts to help you get started.

  • Imagine that you are moving into what others believe to be a haunted house.
  • How far would you go to save a loved one? Would you make a deal with the devil?
  • You are sage who gives advice to people you believe have kind hearts.
  • You are a dragon defending your family from human invaders.
  • Write a poem about a princess locked in a high tower and who isn’t allowed to look at the real world outside her windows.
  • You find a magic ring in your grandmother’s old casket. You can heal whomever you want on the expense of another human being.
  • A man who presumably has died at sea returns on Halloween to his old house to visit his grieving mother.
  • You have the ability to communicate with trees and gain wisdom.
  • Write a poem from the point of view of a werewolf.
  • Write a poem about the three Fates who decide on the fate of a baby.
  • Imagine that world is slowly disappearing and nobody could explain how. Offer a solution to the problem.
  • You have the ability to foretell the future. You see a great tragedy on a large scale that is to happen in a month. What do you do to stop it? Can you really alter the future with your actions?

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A list of 50 inspirational topics for writing a poem

tips for writers: image of books at table

There is no one way to approach writing. The process of finding inspiration and then putting that inspiration into words is a unique and individual experience for each writer. Of course, you don't need prompts to write, but they can help you tap into your creative energy and feel part of a dialogue.

I've put together a list of 50 topics that can be particularly inspiring; thinking about these topics can help jumpstart the creative process.

When looking for inspiration, it's important to explore all aspects of your life and the world around you. By writing about what you know and feel passionately about, you can create poems that are authentic and meaningful to you and your readers. Of course, you can also allow the creative imagination to jump in--let some magic, some humor, some whimsy come into the writing experience. 

As a poet and writer, I've learned that the most important skill is to be open to and believe in the value of your own creativity . I've learned from reading others and from having others read and comment on my poems. As I wrote more and was more in alignment with myself, my writing got more understandable, more moving, and more skillful. But it was only when I really let go of the idea of wanting to please others and could listen more deeply to myself that I began to write my most powerful work.

The following list provides a variety of poem topics that can be used for inspiration when writing your next poem:

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50 Poem Topics And Ideas To Help You Write Your Next Poem

The beauty and mystery of nature can be a great source of inspiration for poets. Write about the changing seasons, a particular flower or tree, the stars or moon, the ocean, mountains, or any other aspect of the natural world that speaks to you. 

2. Childhood memories

Reflect on a time from your childhood that was particularly special or meaningful to you. Write about the sights, sounds, and smells of that time and what it meant to you then and now.

3. A significant event

Write about an event that has had a major impact on your life, whether positive or negative. Now write a poem describing how this event has changed you.

Express your deepest emotions and write about the power of love in all its forms. This could be a poem about romantic love, the love between friends or family members, or even self-love.

5. Happiness

What makes you happy? What are the small things in life that bring you joy? Write about the moments and people that make you smile and fill your heart with happiness.

6. Friendship

Write about the value of friendship, and how it has positively affected your life.  This could also be a poem about saying goodbye to a friend, or remembering a lost friend.

7. Overcoming adversity

We all face challenges in life, but how we deal with them can make us stronger. Write about a time when you faced and overcame a difficult situation. What did you learn from the experience?

8. Gratitude

Express what you are grateful for in your life, and why these things are important to you. If you haven't had a chance to read my interview with Ross Gay , poet, writer and visionary, I highly recommend it. In this interview, we talked about his new book Be Holding, his Book of Delights, Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude, and how to practice attention, gratitude, and care both in poetry and in our difficult but also joy-filled world. Just click here to read it . I'm sure you'll enjoy it!

A heart made of wood

                  Image by S. Hermann & F. Richter from Pixabay

How has your life changed over the years? What are some of the things that are different now than they were in the past? Write a poem about the process of change, and how it can be both scary and exciting.

10. Hope 

In spite of everything, we all need to believe that better days are ahead. Write a poem about hope, and how it can help us get through tough times. What gives you hope? Describe what hope feels like, and how it helps you in your life.

11. A moment in time

Write about a specific moment that was particularly memorable or significant to you. It could be a happy memory, a sad memory, or even a moment of realization or understanding.

12. A day in the life

Describe a typical day in your life, or write about a specific day that was particularly memorable.

13. Your favorite place

We all have a place that makes us feel safe and happy. Write about your favorite place, and what it is that you love about it. Write about what makes it so special, and how it makes you feel. 

14. An object 

Write  about a particular object that has special meaning to you. It could be something that you use every day, or something that you only see occasionally. 

15. A person

Write about someone who has had a major impact on your life, for better or for worse. This could be a family member, friend, teacher, or anyone else who has made a significant impact on you.

16. A memory

Reflect on a specific memory that is significant to you. What does it remind you of? Write a poem celebrating  a happy memory, or exploring a painful memory.

17. A feeling

Write about a feeling that is particularly intense or meaningful to you. Describe a specific emotion, and how it feels in your body and mind. No matter  what you write about, poetry can be a powerful way to express your thoughts and emotions. So don't be afraid to let your words flow freely and see where they take you.

image of landscape: the earth and sky with clouds

18. The earth

Express your love and appreciation for our planet, and everything that it has to offer. Write about the importance of taking care of it. Write a poem or prose using the phrase "the poetry of the earth." What does that phrase mean to you?  

19. A hobby

Write about something you enjoy doing, and why it is so important to you.

20. An experience

Describe a particular experience that was particularly memorable or impactful for you.

21. Your dreams

What are your hopes and dreams for the future? Write about what you want to achieve, and how you plan to get there.

22. Your fears

What are you afraid of, and why? What do these fears mean to you?

Explore the emotions associated with losing something or someone important to you. When you lose something, it's natural to feel pain, grief, and even anger. Writing about these feelings can help you to process them and move on .

sunset over water

24. A time when you felt lost

Describe a time in your life when you felt lost or confused. What helped you find your way again?

25. A time when you felt alone

Writing poetry can be therapeutic, and can help you to express feelings that you may not be able to express in any other way. We all feel alone at times, but it's important to remember that we are never truly alone. Write about a time when you felt alone, and how you coped with it. 

26. A time when you felt angry

We all experience a range of emotions, and it's okay to write about the negative ones as well. Use your anger to fuel your words, and write about whatever it is that made you angry.

27. A time when you felt sad

We all experience sadness at times. Write about a time when you felt particularly low, and how you coped with it.

28. Your hopes for the future

29. your favorite thing.

What is your favorite thing in the world? Write about why it is so important to you.

30. A time when you felt happy

What makes you truly happy? Write about a time when you felt this way, and why it was so special to you.

flowers in field

31. Your worst nightmare

Write a poem inspired by your deepest, darkest fears. Write about what this fear means to you, and how it affects your life.

32. A time when you were proud of yourself

We all have moments that we are proud of. Write about a time when you felt this way, and what it was that made you so proud.

33. A time when you laughed

Laughter is one of the best things in life. Write about a time when you laughed until you cried, and what made it so funny.

34. A time when you cried

We all cry at times. Write about a time when you felt particularly sad, and how you coped with it.

35. A time when you were disappointed 

A time when you were disappointed: We all have moments when things don't go the way we wanted them to. Write a poem inspired  by a time when you were disappointed and  had to pick yourself up and keep going. 

36. A time when you felt scared

37. a time when you helped someone.

Describe a time when you went out of your way to help someone else. What made you do it, and how did it make you feel?

38. A time when you felt supported

We all need support at times. Write about a time when someone was there for you, and how it made you feel.

39. Your favorite thing about yourself

What do you love about yourself? Write about why you are so special to you. Sometimes we forget why we are amazing! So take a moment and drop out some of your best qualities.

40. Your favorite thing about life

What do you love about life? Write about what makes it so precious to you.

41. Your favorite thing about people

What do you love about people? Write about what makes them so special to you.

42. Your favorite quote

Do you have a favorite quote? Write about what it means to you, and why it is so important to you.

43. A time when you felt proud of someone else

We all feel proud of others at times. Describe a time when you felt this way, and who it was that you were proud of.

44. Your favorite memory

What is your favorite memory? Write about what made it so special to you.

45. A time when you were surprised

We all experience surprise at times. Describe a time when something unexpected happened, and how it made you feel.

46. A time when you made a difference

We all have the ability to make a difference. Write about a time when you did just that, and how it made you feel.

47. A time when you felt loved

We all need love in our lives. Write about a time when you felt particularly loved and supported, and why it meant so much to you.

48. Something that you are passionate about

What are you passionate about? Write about what this passion means to you, and how it drives you.

49. Your hopes for the world

What are your hopes for the world? Write about what you would like to see change, and how you think we can make it happen.

50. Finally, last, but certainly not least, take inspiration from any of your favorite poems. 

Reading is one of the best ways to be inspired as a poet and to find poetry topics. Explore my list of 15 morning poems for some inspiration .  

These are just a few poem topics to get you started based on my own experiences and what I value most in life. Feel free to choose whichever topic speaks to you, or mix and match several different ones to create your own poem.

If none of these inspire you, think about what matters most to you and write about that. The most important thing is to be true to your own voice and express how you feel in your own words. 

So don't be afraid to experiment with different poem styles or subject matter until you find the right fit for you. Whatever you do, have fun with it and let your creativity flow!

I am a member of a group called Toastmasters. One of my favorite parts of our meeting is Table Topics, where a person responds with a 2 minute impromptu response to a speaking prompt, not unlike your fifty topics. Because of the eclectic diversity of our members, it is here where I get to know the soul of a member. I am going to use some of the 50 prompts when I am next, the table topic master.

I'm so glad that you find this helpful and will use it in your Toastmasters group. I agree, it's a nice way to get to know other people.

Can I get interesting poetry prompts for my poetry group

Thank u so much for helping me out

Poetry can be amazingly emotive. All things considered, artists, similar to the journalists of the best books ever and best book club books, have an approach to communicating feelings that we probably won't have the option to really express.

Yes, I completely agree!

Thanks for this web it really helps me with school to get some ideas for the poem I'm writing.

I'm so glad this was helpful for you!

Verse can be incredibly emotive. Taking everything into account, craftsmen, like the writers of the best books ever and best book club books, have a way to deal with imparting sentiments that we presumably will not have the choice to communicate truly.

Is a great article for all readers because you have described the ideas of poem topics there are many people or students are found to these ideas because they have need to write their poem and assignments and other writing

Thank you for your comments!

This was very helpful

I love love love these poem ideas! Keep up the work!

I'm so glad!

Hello, I am working on a poetry project, and these prompts were really helpful! Thanks for the tips! You're great, just keep doing what you're doing! 🙂

So glad it was helpful!

24 and 25 are basically the same, with feeling lost and feeling alone. other than that it's very helpful.

That’s really interesting: when we feel lost, we often feel alone. And when we feel alone, we often feel lost. But there are also differences between the two experiences, too. And we can feel surrounded by people, but also lost and alone but with a clear sense of direction. I’m glad you found the list helpful!

Great ideas but I feel that it's best to just write from the heart and do it because you want to. not because of a website. I want to say this to all people reading this website: Don't take the advice. Write what comes into mind and make a beautiful word formation. I have written so many of my own poems about how I feel and now I can write poems about anything. Please write what you feel in the moment even if it's sad. Anything makes a great poem so don't worry about what you need to write a poem about. Now I am going to say something to the person who made this website: I see why you made this. For people who don't know what to write about. I think your ideas are great, but it really is better to just write what comes to your mind. I have written over 50 poems and I had no guidance. Please take my advice. I don't ask that you delete the website but that you read this.

Yes, writing from the heart is great. And having prompts can be also helpful–and even help us write more from the hearth. Many tools. There is no one right way 🙂

It helps me a lot…… Thank you 🙏🏻 very much ☺️💯💯

hello. i am non established poet from india.. wanting to write my first ever poem to publish.. you article helped me a lot..

This realy helped

Number 51: A time when you felt free from all the bd things in life

thats what i will now write about

I am what is termed an automatic poet, a visionary compelled to channel by pen messages from within. Spiritual messages from God and Jesus flow through my pen I write the time the poem begins and ends as the lines flow like rushing rivers. I can’t even stop to think, I just write. I’ve never had courses in writing and never know my poems content until it is written. The titles come last. I am learning to be in the moment and not concern myself with what will others think of me when I read to them. I belong to a small writers group that often ask me, where do you come from that you write as you do. Maybe I’m channeling my many poet and author ancestors or maybe I’m just being me. I am the poet Snowflake. Thank you for enlightening me to be more free

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22 Poetry Prompts to Help You Write Your Next Great Poem

While there is so much joy associated with writing, there is one pitfall that we all fall prey to—the dreaded writer’s block. It can strike at any moment and fill our hearts with frustration. But never fear! Sometimes, all we need is a small spark of inspiration. Poetry prompts can be a great way to get the creative juices flowing after a dry spell. 

If nothing else, it might be what prompts you to start putting pen to paper again. Even if you’re not always sure where a prompt or writing session will lead, try and choose a prompt or two and just start writing. It might start you down the path to your next major breakthrough. 

I hope these prompts help you focus and get excited about your poetic journey. Happy writing: 

1. Choose one of your five senses. Write a poem that focuses on your chosen sense.

2. write a poem inspired by a color., 3. write a poem based on something that happened to you this week. it could be something life-changing or something seemingly ordinary. tune into that moment and paint a story about it., 4. listen to one of your favorite songs and write a poem directly after based on the feelings and emotions it brought about in you. let music inspire poetry., 5. write about a lesson that you recently learned. , 6. think of a friend or family member who has played a huge role in your life. write a poem about the relationship. , 7. write a poem about the life advice you would give to your younger self. , 8. write about traveling—whether it’s taking a road trip or flying in a plane or spending the afternoon on a train. write about the feelings you experience while being en route to somewhere new or familiar. , 9. recall a favorite holiday memory and tell your readers about it. , 10. create a gallery of your heart. take readers on a guided tour of what they might see there. , 11. recall one of the strangest dreams you’ve ever had and write about how it made you feel or write it out in as much detail as you can remember. , 12. write about a time that your illusions of someone or something were shattered. , 13. write about a favorite childhood toy, movie, book, etc. and tie it back to the present day. , 14. you are renovating a home. imagine that you are this home. what serves as your foundation what are you working on fixing what needs to be replaced and what makes your house a home describe., 15. write a haiku inspired by an element of nature. (haikus are three lines. the first line has five syllables, the second line has seven syllables, and the third line has five syllables)., 16. write a poem where you are observing another time period as a detached observer. (this could be a time from your past or from another decade or era)., 17. write a poem from the perspective of your favorite pet. , 18. imagine that you switched places with someone for a day. (like in freaky friday). what would you learn from the experience , 19. write a piece about body positivity, as though you are looking into the mirror and speaking to your reflection. , 20. if you could freeze time in one moment of your life, what would it be write a poem in honor of that memory. , 21. imagine you are on a run through nature. describe your inner dialogue as you run through the trail at sunrise. what do you reflect on as you run , 22. has there ever been a time when you felt like the hero of your life how about the villain write yourself as the hero, then write yourself as the villain. paint the perspectives of each and explore the different aspects of the story from each lens. .

Have you written a masterpiece yet? I’m sure you are well on your way to a creative breakthrough. I hope you enjoyed this exercise and the opportunity to try your hand at a few different topics. 

Feel free to leave your poetry prompted poems in the comments for us to check out together. Also, if you have any prompts you would like to share, leave us a comment and let us know. Nothing is better than coming together as a group and inspiring some great writing! 

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100 poetry prompts to motivate and inspire you.

My first love in writing was poetry. In my early teens, writing poetry was a creative and cathartic way to explore my ideas and vent my emotions. Writing poetry was accessible — all I needed was some paper and a pen. It didn’t even require a huge investment of time. I scrawled words onto the page as fast as they flew through my mind, often writing a poem in just a few minutes. It was an exhilarating and satisfying way to express myself.

In time, I learned that poetry had many benefits beyond personal expression. I found myself searching for the perfect meaning, rhyme, and meter in my word choices. I counted out syllables and contemplated line breaks. I experimented with form and structure.

It wasn’t just about dumping my thoughts and emotions onto paper anymore. Writing poetry got me thinking about language. It made me aware of writing as a craft, not just as a form of self-expression or communication.

To this day, I find that there are some aspects of writing that are best learned through the study and practice of poetry, and poetry prompts can spark an idea that inspires a poem.

After all, the blank page can be intimidating. If we establish some constraints (such as writing a particular form of poetry) or put some guidelines in place (writing about a particular topic), the blank page often becomes less overwhelming.

  • Write a poem about colors without ever naming any colors in the poem.
  • Write a poem that tells a story.
  • Use the following words in a poem: under, thrust, harbor, wind, prance, fall.
  • Write a poem about the following image: an empty stadium with litter strewn about and one sneaker on the stadium stairs.
  • Write three haiku .
  • Write a poem about your first friend.
  • Write a poem that could be the lyrics to a song.
  • Use the following words in a poem: fire, spice, burn, chill, tangled.
  • Write a poem about the following image: an elderly couple lying in lawn chairs, looking at the stars from their backyard.
  • Write a poem in iambic pentameter (each line is five metrical feet, each foot consists of an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable: da DUM da DUM da DUM da DUM da DUM).
  • Write a poem about a wild animal.
  • Write a poem that contains dialogue.
  • Use the following words in a poem: waves, cliffs, dance, pound, rise.
  • Write a poem about the following image: a person kneeling at the edge of a lake, peering into the water.
  • Write a sonnet .
  • Write a poem about garbage (waste).
  • Write a poem that has a perfect rhyme at the end of each line.
  • Use the following words in a poem: dirt, squirm, fingers, sprout, shine.
  • Write a poem about the following image: an old, dilapidated barn with a caved-in roof and rotting walls.
  • Write a sestina .
  • Write a poem about the cosmos.
  • Write a poem that contains a surprising twist.
  • Use the following words in a poem: feet, bees, violet, moss, clunk.
  • Write a poem about the following image: a person (or animal) looking out a fogged-up window on a snowy day.
  • Write a blackout poem (start with a page of printed text and selectively black-out words; the remaining, unredacted text is the poem).
  • Write a poem about your country, city, or state.
  • Write a poem that contains no adverbs or adjectives.
  • Use the following words in a poem: hunger, curl, click, drill, run.
  • Write a poem about the following image: a ladder leaning against the side of a massive tree.
  • Write an ode (a tribute to someone or something).
  • Write a poem about your greatest accomplishment, personal or professional.
  • Write a poem that does not contain any rhymes.
  • Use the following words in a poem: cotton, float, foam, fizz, glam.
  • Write a poem about the following image: a bag of groceries sitting on the ground in a parking lot.
  • Write a palindrome poem .
  • Write a poem about your deepest fear, or write about courage.
  • Write a poem that contains six numbers but not the number six.
  • Use the following words in a poem: bow, shoulder, sprawl, whisper, brush.
  • Write a poem about the following image: a table piled with delicious food.
  • Write a tanka (five lines, with the following syllabic pattern: 5-7-5-7-7).
  • Write a poem about dancing.
  • Write a poem that engages each of the five senses: sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch.
  • Use the following words in a poem: spin, calculate, lie, march, retreat.
  • Write a poem about the following image: a phoenix rising from the ashes.
  • Write a rondel .
  • Write a poem about your future.
  • Write a poem that uses an ABABB rhyme scheme.
  • Use the following words in a poem: hail, port, send, kneel, salute.
  • Write a poem about the following image: a mountain range seen from a great distance.
  • Write an acrostic poem (the first letters of each line spell out a word).
  • Write a poem about the weather.
  • Write a poem that contains internal rhymes but no end rhymes.
  • Use the following words in a poem: meet, time, basket, neon, puddle.
  • Write a poem about the following image: a wild baby animal crouching in the brush, watching its mother from a distance.
  • Write a concrete (shape) poem (a poem that forms a shape on the page, which can be simple, abstract, or complex).
  • Write a poem about a momentous, life-changing event.
  • Write a poem that has exactly one hundred words.
  • Use the following words in a poem: book, carpet, stick, hide, wander.
  • Write a poem about the following image: an assembly line in a factory that produces home-assistant robots.
  • Write a poem that has at least four instances of repetition.
  • Write a poem about entertainment.
  • Write a poem that contains a running metaphor.
  • Use the following words in a poem: satellite, bunker, can, water, dig.
  • Write a poem about the following image: unusual footprints on a trail in the forest.
  • Write a ghazal .
  • Write a poem about childhood.
  • Write a poem that explores the concept of duality.
  • Use the following words in a poem: motherboard, lava, smolder, flow, sear.
  • Write a poem about the following image: gum, mirror, pen, speak, fan.
  • Write a list poem (for example, a poem that is also a grocery list).
  • Write a poem about the most thrilling experience you’ve ever had.
  • Write a poem that is set in a particular time and place.
  • Use the following words in a poem: lavender, horn, gold, hooves, trot.
  • Write a poem about the following image: a notebook that is partially burnt.
  • Write a prose poem (a poem written in paragraphs rather than in verse).
  • Write a poem about lacking something essential.
  • Write a poem that is abstract or open to interpretation.
  • Use the following words in a poem: barn, skyscraper, bicycle, climb, stack.
  • Write a poem about the following image: a crew of workers eating lunch.
  • Write a poem of three stanzas, each with three lines, and include the number “three” somewhere in the poem.
  • Write a poem about a journey.
  • Write a poem that includes onomatopoeia (words that sound like what they mean — for example, hiss ).
  • Use the following words in a poem: drink, desire, switch, swell, relish.
  • Write a poem about the following image: a polar bear on a tropical island.
  • Write a rondelet .
  • Write a poem about an ordinary day.
  • Write a poem that includes at least three instances of alliteration, including one each of assonance and consonance.
  • Use the following words in a poem: buckle, bend, kick, pot, shift.
  • Write a poem about the following image: an empty raft floating down a river.
  • Write a limerick (five lines with rhyme scheme AABBA and a naughty attitude).
  • Write a poem about building something.
  • Write a poem that contains a pun.
  • Use the following words in a poem: squeeze, type, mission, gate, blast.
  • Write a poem about the following image: a bird soaring through sky.
  • Write a cinquain (five lines, with two syllables in the first line, four in the second, six in the third, eight in the fourth, and two syllables in the final line).
  • Write a poem about gaining something you’ve never had before.
  • Write a poem that is optimistic and hopeful.
  • Use the following words in a poem: airplane, jungle, needle, hike, signal.
  • Write a poem about the following image: a child exiting the library with a stack of books.
  • Write a magic 9 poem (nine lines with rhyme scheme ABACADABA).

Did These Poetry Prompts Inspire You?

Which of these poetry prompts inspired you? Were you moved to write a poem? How often do you write poetry? Do you regularly use poetry prompts? What’s your favorite thing about writing poetry?

Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below, and keep writing poetry.

10 Comments

Yes No Wheel

I love these poetry prompts! They’re really inspiring and I’m looking forward to trying out a few of them.

Melissa Donovan

Thanks! I’m glad you love them!

V.M. Sang

Thanks for this. It’s just what I need. In December I decided to write a poem a day for a year. So far I’ve managed it;some long, some short (haiku, limericks, or just a short 4 line poem). I now have almost 60 poems! My idea is to publish them in 2 books January to June, and July to December so people can read a poem a day. I’ve written poetry since my teens, like you, but sadly, most have been lost. I wrote some more, and just before Christmas, they were released as a book. It made a change from novels.

What an exciting project: a poem a day. I like it!

jo Blackwood

that was a great thought out prompt list thank you for your time and yes inspired and made notes as i went along

You’re welcome! Thanks for commenting.

Emily

I stumbled across these poetry prompts today and am really excited to use some of them to create my own poems. Thank you so much for sharing.

I’m glad these prompts inspired you! Good luck!

Stefani Christenot

I want to try each one of these. YAY!! Love this list, gonna go and journal now. Thank a bunch….

You’re welcome! Have fun!

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Poem Ideas: 255 Prompts to Spark Your Creativity

By: Author Paul Jenkins

Posted on October 6, 2023

Categories Creativity , Creative Writing , Writing

Poetry is a timeless art form that allows writers to express their thoughts, emotions, and experiences in a creative way. Whether you’re a seasoned poet or just starting out, finding inspiration for new poem ideas can sometimes be a challenge. There are countless ways to spark your creativity and tap into the unique perspectives that can shape your poetry.

One way to approach writing poems is to explore your personal emotions and experiences, using language and imagery to convey these feelings to the reader. Connecting with nature and drawing inspiration from the world around you can also provide rich material for your poetry. Additionally, trying out various writing techniques and using prompts and themes can help you hone your skills over time, experimenting with different styles and voices.

Key Takeaways

  • Explore personal emotions and experiences to create authentic and moving poetry.
  • Connect with nature and the world around you for inspiration and unique perspectives.
  • Experiment with different writing techniques, prompts, and themes to enhance your poetic skills.

255 Poem Ideas

Here are 255 poem ideas grouped into themes:

  • A poem about watching the sunset over the ocean
  • A poem comparing a flower to a person
  • A poem about getting lost in the woods
  • A poem about the changing of the seasons
  • A poem personifying a tree through the seasons
  • A love poem using extended metaphor
  • A poem celebrating a first kiss
  • A poem mourning the end of a relationship
  • A poem about unrequited love
  • A poem giving advice about love
  • A poem about starting a new chapter
  • A poem about overcoming challenges
  • A poem about a major life change
  • A poem about finding your purpose
  • A poem about not giving up on your dreams
  • A poem reminiscing about your childhood home
  • A poem about childhood imaginary friends
  • A poem reflecting on lessons learned in childhood
  • A poem about childhood adventures
  • A poem about childhood innocence
  • A poem thanking a parent or grandparent
  • A poem about family traditions
  • A poem about family conflict
  • A poem about the bonds of siblinghood
  • A poem regretting not spending more time with family
  • An ode to your best friend
  • A poem about making new friends
  • A poem about drifting apart from friends
  • A poem celebrating your friends’ quirks
  • A poem about shared childhood memories
  • A poem exploring a social issue
  • A poem about conformity
  • A poem about social media’s influence
  • A poem examining racism
  • A poem about poverty
  • A poem about finding yourself
  • A poem wrestling with contradictory parts of yourself
  • A poem about not fitting in
  • A poem learning to embrace who you are
  • A poem about masks we wear in public
  • A poem reminiscing a happy memory
  • A poem about a memory you can’t let go of
  • A poem about a place that holds memories
  • A poem about forgetting people or moments
  • A poem about artifacts that hold memories
  • A poem exploring how quickly time passes
  • A poem regretting wasted time
  • A poem about making every moment count
  • A poem appreciating the present moment
  • A poem about learning patience over time
  • A poem reflecting on death
  • A poem exploring grief
  • A poem about leaving a legacy
  • A poem making peace with mortality
  • A poem marking a person’s passing
  • A grateful poem for everyday blessings
  • A poem thanking someone who changed you
  • A poem on the gifts of nature
  • A poem on the power of gratitude
  • A poem thanking an inanimate object
  • A poem encouraging hope in hard times
  • A poem envisioning a bright future
  • A poem seeing light in the darkness
  • A poem keeping hope alive
  • A poem inspiring hope through nature
  • A poem regretting words left unsaid
  • A poem regretting paths not taken
  • A poem making peace with regret
  • A poem learning from regret
  • A poem regretting a lost opportunity
  • A poem about seasons changing
  • A poem reflecting on personal growth
  • A poem about transition or transformation
  • A poem resisting unwanted change
  • A poem accepting the inevitability of change
  • A poem exploring a truth you’ve uncovered
  • A poem admitting a difficult truth
  • A poem searching for truth
  • A poem differentiating truth from lies
  • A poem revealing an ironic truth

Perseverance

  • A poem about overcoming obstacles
  • A poem encouraging persistence through challenges
  • A poem about defeating self-doubt
  • A poem on the rewards of perseverance
  • A poem urging self-belief during hard times
  • A poem about being brave in the face of fear
  • A poem about standing up for someone or something
  • A poem on finding inner courage
  • A poem celebrating everyday acts of courage
  • A poem about a historical act of courage
  • A poem imparting a life lesson or piece of wisdom
  • A poem appreciating the wisdom of elders
  • A poem gaining wisdom through suffering
  • A poem reflecting on the journey to wisdom
  • A poem debating the nature of wisdom
  • A poem learning from failure
  • A poem overcoming failure
  • A poem finding hope after failure
  • A poem accepting failure
  • A poem gaining perspective through failure
  • A poem celebrating a personal success
  • A poem cautioning against pride in success
  • A poem defining true success
  • A poem appreciating simple successes
  • A poem about success and failure going hand in hand

Opportunity

  • A poem about seizing opportunities
  • A poem regretting missed opportunities
  • A poem seeing opportunities in challenges
  • A poem urging boldness in taking opportunities
  • A poem grateful for second chances
  • A poem exploring injustice in society
  • A poem advocating for equality and fairness
  • A poem appreciating justice finally achieved
  • A poem lamenting a lack of justice
  • A poem on karma bringing justice
  • A poem envisioning world peace
  • A poem appreciating inner peace
  • A poem finding peace in nature
  • A poem yearning for peace of mind
  • A poem reflecting on the fragility of peace
  • An anti-war poem
  • A poem from a soldier’s perspective
  • A poem about the loss of innocence through war
  • A poem reflecting on the devastation of war
  • A poem urging peace and understanding
  • A poem about loneliness even when surrounded by others
  • A poem reflecting on the pain of loneliness
  • A poem finding comfort in solitude
  • A poem about superficial relationships
  • A poem advocating human connection to ease loneliness
  • A poem about losing a loved one
  • A poem processing a breakup
  • A poem about losing your sense of self
  • A poem reminiscing a lost friendship
  • An ode to your favorite song
  • A poem comparing music to magic
  • A poem exploring music’s power to transport you
  • A poem appreciating live music
  • A poem with song lyrics woven through it
  • An ekphrastic poem inspired by a painting
  • A poem exploring the process of creation
  • A poem appreciating fading beauty
  • A poem about finding truth in art
  • A poem celebrating an artist
  • A poem inspired by a dance style
  • A poem appreciating the artistry of dance
  • A poem using dance as a metaphor
  • A poem observing dancers
  • A poem capturing a dancer’s dedication
  • A poem praising the excitement of cities
  • A poem observing city-dwellers
  • A poem exploring urban isolation
  • A poem appreciating small town charm
  • A poem people-watching in a crowd
  • A poem imagining humanity’s future
  • A poem envisioning your personal future
  • A poem appreciating living in the present
  • A poem about worrying about the future
  • A poem exploring fear of the unknown
  • A poem considering technology’s benefits and risks
  • A poem satirizing social media
  • A poem exploring how tech changes communication
  • A poem appreciating simplicity without technology
  • A poem imagining fantastic future tech
  • A poem reflecting on getting older
  • A poem exploring fear of aging
  • A poem appreciating wisdom gained with age
  • A poem lamenting fading youth
  • A poem accepting the passage of time
  • A poem exploring a historical event
  • A poem appreciating past progress
  • A poem urging learning from the past
  • A poem regretting repeating past mistakes
  • A poem reflecting on change over time
  • A protest poem about a cause you care about
  • A poem exploring the corruption of power
  • A poem appreciating living in a democracy
  • A poem about feeling powerless
  • A poem examining political divisions

Environment

  • A poem appreciating the beauty of nature
  • A call to action poem about climate change
  • A poem exploring humanity’s impact on the earth
  • A poem connecting nature to emotions
  • A poem lamenting environmental destruction
  • A poem praising scientific discoveries
  • A poem warning about ethical dilemmas of science
  • A poem using scientific imagery
  • A poem exploring space’s mysteries
  • A poem appreciating science’s vast scope
  • A spiritual poem praising a higher power
  • A poem grappling with faith or doubt
  • A poem exploring religion’s contradictions
  • An anti-war poem using religious imagery
  • A poem finding divinity in nature
  • A poem inspired by a mythological creature
  • A poem modernizing a mythological tale
  • A poem drawing parallels to a mythic archetype
  • A poem exploring the role of myths in culture
  • A poem humanizing a god or hero
  • A poem wishing magic was real
  • A poem using magic as a metaphor
  • A poem seeing the magical in the mundane
  • A poem exploring ideas of spells, potions, etc.
  • A poem appreciating the magic of nature
  • A poem reminiscing about a travel destination
  • A poem about getting lost in a new place
  • A poem celebrating the excitement of travel
  • A poem appreciating the journey, not just the destination
  • A poem reflecting on what you learn through travel

Imagination

  • A poem celebrating the power of imagination
  • A poem reminiscing about an imaginary childhood friend
  • A poem exploring ideas of fantasy and escapism
  • A poem appreciating the imagination of children
  • A poem urging creative thinking and imagination
  • A poem reflecting on a meaningful dream
  • A poem exploring surreal dream imagery
  • A poem about wishes, hopes and dreams
  • A poem about nightmares or recurring dreams
  • A poem finding meaning or messages in dreams
  • A poem marveling at the vastness of space
  • A poem imagining alien life forms
  • A poem appreciating the beauty of stars and planets
  • A poem exploring feelings of insignificance compared to space
  • A poem using space exploration as a metaphor
  • A poem praising the magnificence of the ocean
  • A poem reflecting on the soothing sound of waves
  • A poem exploring ocean depths
  • A poem appreciating the freedom of sailing
  • A poem warning about ocean pollution
  • An ode to a beloved pet
  • A poem from an animal’s perspective
  • A poem about adopting a rescue pet
  • A poem exploring the bonds between humans and animals
  • A poem reflecting on losing a pet
  • An ode to a favorite childhood meal
  • A poem appreciating the simple pleasure of food
  • A poem exploring food memories and associations
  • A poem satirizing overconsumption
  • A poem urging awareness of hunger issues
  • A poem celebrating an athlete’s dedication
  • A poem exploring the parallels between sports and life
  • A poem appreciating the excitement of sports fandom
  • A poem reflecting on a meaningful sporting event
  • A poem satirizing hyper-competitiveness in sports
  • A poem on the value of learning
  • A poem appreciating an influential teacher
  • A poem exploring the atmosphere of school
  • A poem reflecting on the college experience
  • A poem critiquing the education system
  • A poem about the craft of poetry
  • A poem celebrating poetic language
  • A poem appreciating the wisdom and beauty of poems
  • A poem urging everyone to try writing poetry
  • A meta-poem about writing this poem

Understanding Poetry

Setting the tone.

When you begin your journey into poetry writing, it’s essential to set the tone of your poem. The tone plays a crucial role in conveying your message and emotions. To create a specific atmosphere in your poem, consider using elements like color and smell, which can enhance the reader’s experience.

Colors can evoke strong emotions in your writing. For example, red might represent love or anger, while blue can convey calmness or sadness.

Including descriptions of different smells can also help to stimulate the reader’s senses and create a more immersive experience. Be confident in your choices and use your knowledge of these elements to make your poetry engaging and clear.

Using Metaphors

Metaphors are powerful tools in poetry as they allow you to express complex emotions and ideas in an imaginative way. By using metaphors, you can create imagery that resonates with your readers, elevating your poetry to new heights.

A well-crafted metaphor can give depth to your writing, making it more engaging and thought-provoking.

In your pursuit of understanding poetry, don’t be afraid to experiment with different metaphors and analogies. Trust your ability to find unique and captivating ways to convey your emotions and observations.

Remember, poetry is a personal expression, and while it might not always be crystal clear to every reader, your goal is to make a connection with those who resonate with your words.

Tapping into Emotions

When writing poetry, one of the most powerful tools at your disposal is tapping into emotions. By allowing yourself to feel and explore various emotions, you can create poems that resonate with your readers.

In this section, we will briefly discuss four key emotional themes – love, fear, sadness, and joy – and how you can interweave them into your poetry.

Exploring Love

Love, in all its forms, is a universal emotion that can fuel the most emotive poetry. Whether you’re writing about romantic love, the love between friends or family members, or even self-love, you have the opportunity to tap into a deep well of emotions.

When exploring love, think about your own experiences as well as the emotional experiences of others. Dive into the intricacies of relationships and how love can elicit emotions such as happiness, jealousy, and even sadness.

Dealing with Fear

Fear is an emotion that everyone experiences at one time or another. Whether it’s the fear of death, the unknown, or even failure, tapping into this emotion can create powerful poems that your readers can relate to.

When writing about fear, consider how it can manifest itself in different situations and how it can impact your feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. By delving into this primal emotion, you can create poetry that captivates your audience and encourages them to confront their own fears.

Unravelling Sadness

Sadness, while often seen as a negative emotion, can serve as a source of inspiration and growth for your poetry. It can be brought upon by events such as experiencing loneliness, loss, or disappointment.

When unravelling sadness in your poems, consider the deeper emotions that come with it, such as regret, longing, and even hope. Challenge yourself to dig deep and capture the raw emotions that sadness evokes, allowing your readers to connect with your words on a profound level.

Finding Joy

Lastly, joy is an emotion that can bring vibrancy and light to your poetry. This emotion can sprout from countless sources, such as success, friendship, or the beauty found in everyday life.

When writing about joy, think about the moments that make your heart leap and the feelings that accompany them. Incorporate these moments into your poetry and show your readers the transformative power joy can have on our lives.

By tapping into this emotion, your poems can become a celebration of the human experience, inviting your audience to embrace the happiness that exists around them.

Expressing Personal Experiences

Drawing from dreams.

Dreams can be a treasure trove of inspiration for your poetry. They often contain vivid emotions, unusual events, and striking imagery. You can use your dream experiences to create surprising and engaging poems that transport your readers to another world.

To begin, keep a journal of your dreams and make it a habit to write them down as soon as you wake up. This practice can enhance your creativity and lend a touch of surrealism to your poetry.

Memory and Nostalgia

Poems about personal experiences often draw from memories and nostalgia. Writing about past events can help you process emotions, preserve important memories, and share your unique perspective with others.

When creating a poem based on memory, try to focus on specific moments and details. This can make your work more relatable and engaging to readers. Don’t shy away from exploring painful or regretful experiences, as they can elicit strong emotions and foster personal growth.

Writing about Relationships

Exploring relationships through poetry can be a powerful way of processing and expressing the complex emotions involved in connections with friends, family members, and romantic partners. From love, friendship, and admiration to loss, betrayal, and heartbreak, your experiences with others offer a rich well of inspiration for your poetry.

Remember to approach sensitive topics with empathy and respect, especially when writing about real people. This will help maintain authenticity while avoiding unnecessary negativity.

Reflecting on Growth and Change

One of the most rewarding aspects of writing poetry is the opportunity to reflect on your personal growth and change . By examining the transformation in your life, you can tap into themes of resilience, adaptability, and self-discovery.

Consider using metaphorical language to convey the process of growth and change, as it can help to illustrate abstract concepts in a more tangible way. Writing about your journey in the second person point of view may also invite readers to share in your experiences and find their own meaning in your work.

Connecting with Nature

Experiencing seasons.

As you explore the world of poetry, one captivating theme to consider is the ever-changing beauty of nature and its seasons. Each season has its unique qualities, from the awakening of spring to the crisp air of autumn. Writing about the seasons can be an opportunity to express your connection with the Earth and its natural cycles.

Close your eyes and picture the multitude of colors the leaves take on in the fall, or the first signs of blossoming flowers in the spring. The contrast of the sweltering summer sun against the icy chill of winter can also inspire emotions and memories that may translate well into poetry. In your writing, be sure to convey the distinct atmospheres and feelings each season brings.

Don’t hesitate to explore the intimate connections between nature’s transformations and your own personal growth.

Captivating Landscapes

Another way to connect with nature when writing poetry is by focusing on the diverse landscapes that make up our planet. Consider the vastness of the ocean, with its waves crashing onto the shore and the mysterious depths that remain unexplored. You can also find inspiration in the tranquil beauty of a forest or the striking grandeur of a mountain range.

When writing about landscapes, remember to depict the sky and weather as part of the scenery. This will help create a vivid picture for the reader, immersing them in the landscape, and evoking the emotions you wish to convey. Whether it be a calm, clear day or a stormy night, the sky plays a significant role in setting the tone and atmosphere of your poem.

As you craft your poetry, draw from your personal experiences and memories, as well as your imagination, to bring these scenes to life. The beauty of the natural world lays endless inspiration at your fingertips, allowing you to create meaningful and captivating poems that resonate with readers.

Using Writing Techniques

Incorporating rhyme and rhythm.

Rhyme and rhythm are essential components of many poems. They create a musical quality that can make your writing more engaging. When brainstorming poem ideas, try experimenting with different rhyme schemes and rhythmic patterns to elevate your work.

For example, during National Poetry Month, you might challenge yourself to write a new poem each day that follows a specific rhyme scheme or meter.

Rhythm can be achieved by varying the syllable count in each line or by using a particular stressed-unstressed pattern in your words. Remember the key is to be confident and maintain a clear tone in your writing.

Trying Out Poetic Structures

There are numerous poetic structures you can explore when seeking inspiration for your poetry. Here are a few to consider:

  • Acrostic: An acrostic poem is where the first letter of each line spells out a word or message when read vertically. This poetic form can be a creative way to convey your theme or introduce a hidden meaning.
  • Limerick: A limerick is a humorous, short verse comprising five lines with a strict AABBA rhyme scheme. The first, second, and fifth lines have a longer length, while the third and fourth lines are shorter. Limericks are perfect for showcasing your wit and playfulness.
  • Haiku: Haiku is a traditional Japanese poetic form consisting of three lines. The first and third lines have five syllables, while the second line has seven syllables. This structure challenges you to precisely convey your emotions and thoughts within its constraints. Haiku is often inspired by nature, but feel free to explore other themes.

Incorporating these writing techniques and structures in your poetry can help you discover new ways to express your thoughts and ideas. Remember to use resources like poetry prompts to further stimulate your creativity and experiment with different styles during National Poetry Month. Your poems will undoubtedly evolve as you gain confidence and become more knowledgeable about the art of writing poetry.

Incorporating Real Experiences

Turning travel into poetry.

Travel can be a powerful source of inspiration for your poetry. Whether you’re leaving home for a new adventure or simply exploring your surroundings, traveling offers a unique opportunity to capture the beauty and complexity of different places, cultures, and experiences.

When writing about your travels, pay attention to the sounds, sights, and emotions you encounter along the way. For example, you could write about the melody of a street musician, the bustling atmosphere of a marketplace, or the serenity of a hidden garden. Let these experiences enrich your poetry and invite readers to journey with you through your words.

Cultivating Inspiration from Food and Objects

Food and objects may seem like mundane subjects, but both can inspire meaningful and creative poetry. When writing about food, focus on the rich sensory experiences it evokes. Describe the aroma, taste, and texture of your favorite meal, or explore the cultural significance and memories associated with a childhood dish.

Similarly, everyday objects can serve as muses for your poetry. Consider the emotional connection you have with a cherished possession or the nostalgia tied to a certain item. Delve into the history and symbolism of an object, such as a piece of jewelry, a book, or even a musical instrument. By examining these seemingly ordinary items, you can unveil deeper layers of meaning and evoke strong emotions in your readers.

Remember to maintain a confident, knowledgeable, and neutral tone in your writing. By doing so, you’ll create a clear and engaging experience for your audience. So, let your travels and everyday experiences inspire your poetry, and enjoy the creative journey.

Using Prompts and Themes

Using quotes and news articles.

Utilizing quotes from famous personalities or snippets from news articles can be an effective way to inspire your poetry writing. It allows you to tap into emotions, experiences, and social issues that others have already explored. Pay attention to impactful lines from songs, books, or speeches, as well as thought-provoking news stories, and let their words be a springboard for your creativity.

Tapping into the Unusual

Embrace the unusual, such as time travel or unique aspects of nature when seeking inspiration for your poem ideas. Look for topics that are out of the ordinary and challenge yourself to weave them into a poetic narrative. This approach will not only stretch your creativity but also open doors for imaginative scenarios and descriptions. For example, you could write a poem about traveling to the future or delve into the enigmatic relationship between music and memories.

Reflecting through Spirituality

Incorporating spirituality into your poetry can provide a deeper meaning and connection to your work. Reflect on your own spiritual beliefs or explore others’ perspectives on the topic. You can also use spirituality to examine the nuances of human emotions and experiences. By connecting your poetry to the spiritual world, you’ll create an intriguing and thought-provoking piece.

Honoring Life’s Milestones

When you’re crafting a poem to honor life’s milestones, it’s essential to capture the emotions and sentiments surrounding these significant events. Poems can serve as a way to commemorate and celebrate these occasions and help invoke powerful memories.

For instance, when it comes to weddings , your poem can focus on the union of two souls, the love they share, and the significance of embarking on this new journey together. Consider incorporating themes of unity, commitment, and partnership, as well as the joy and excitement of entering this new phase. A wedding poem might include lines about love’s strength, the beauty of the couple’s bond, and well-wishes for their future.

On the other hand, if you want to write a poem about growing old , emphasize the wisdom, memories, and experiences that come with aging. You can also touch upon the beauty in the journey of life, reflecting not only on one’s accomplishments but also on the lessons learned along the way. It’s essential to approach this topic with sensitivity, respect, and admiration for the person being celebrated.

Keep your tone confident, knowledgeable, and neutral while maintaining clarity in your language. When celebrating life’s milestones through poetry, remember that you’re capturing a snapshot of a specific moment in time. Whether you’re writing for someone else or yourself, your words should resonate with sincerity and emotion.

Remember, the key to an impactful poem lies in its authenticity and ability to move the reader. So, as you write, draw inspiration from your own experiences and emotions, or those of the person you’re writing for. By doing so, you’ll create a piece that will leave a lasting impression and serve as a beautiful testament to the milestone being honored.

Creative Writing Techniques

Using personification.

Personification is a powerful tool in poetry, allowing you to give human-like qualities to inanimate objects or abstract concepts. This technique can enhance your poems by adding depth and emotion. Try to experiment with personification in your poetry by selecting a concept or object and attributing it human characteristics. For instance, you could write about how the wind whispers secrets through the trees or how the sun smiles down on the earth.

Writing Haikus and Limericks

Haikus and limericks are both short, structured forms of poetry that can provide an enjoyable challenge for poets of all levels. Haiku poems, inspired by Japanese tradition, comprise three lines with a syllable structure of 5-7-5. These poems often capture a moment in nature or an emotion. Limericks, on the other hand, are humorous five-line poems with an AABBA rhyme scheme. Experimenting with these structures can improve your poetry writing skills and offer creative writing ideas for your future works.

Creating a Descriptive Poem

Descriptive poems utilize vivid imagery and sensory details to transport the reader to a particular place, time, or experience. To create a descriptive poem, choose a specific setting or experience you want to bring to life through your words. Use all of your senses to craft a vivid picture for the reader, employing not only visual details but also sounds, smells, tastes, and tactile sensations. As you develop your descriptive poetry, you’ll find your ability to convey emotions and create vivid images in your reader’s mind enriches your overall poetry writing.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some common themes in poetry.

In poetry, there are several common themes that poets often explore, such as love, death, nature, time, and friendship. These themes help to convey universal human experiences, emotions, and ideas that are relatable to a wide range of readers.

How can I find inspiration for writing a poem?

Finding inspiration for writing a poem can come from various sources, such as personal experiences, emotions, memories, or ideas. Observing the world around you and immersing yourself in nature can also inspire your writing. Reflect on the feelings and thoughts you have while falling asleep, as these moments can often lead to unique and imaginative ideas.

What are some examples of different poem structures?

Different poem structures include free verse, sonnets, haikus, and acrostics, among others. Experimenting with various formats allows you to hone your craft and discover the style that best suits your voice. To practice, challenge yourself to write a sonnet a day to help empty your head and generate new ideas.

What are some tips for writing a poem about life?

When writing a poem about life, think about the specific aspects you want to explore and convey. You can focus on personal experiences, emotions, or observations of the world around you. Consider including sensory details and vivid imagery to help readers immerse themselves in your poem. Studying great poems about life can also serve as inspiration.

Can you suggest some poetry prompts for beginners?

For beginners looking to start writing poetry, it’s helpful to start with prompts such as writing a poem about a cherished friendship, exploring the transition between seasons, or describing a unique experience in your life. These prompts can serve as a starting point and inspire your creativity.

How do I incorporate emotion, such as sadness, into a poem?

To incorporate emotions like sadness into a poem, draw upon your own experiences and feelings. You can also use sensory details, imagery, and metaphors to evoke specific emotions and create a vivid picture for the reader. Reading poems that explore emotions can provide insight into how other poets successfully express emotions in their work.

  • How to write a story
  • How to write a novel
  • How to write poetry
  • How to write a script
  • How to write a memoir
  • How to write a mystery
  • Creative journaling
  • Publishing advice
  • Story starters
  • Poetry prompts
  • For teachers

Poem Starters and Creative Writing Ideas

Poetry ideas - write a poem about:.

  • A particular color
  • Being underwater
  • A person whose life you're curious about
  • Your mother's perfume
  • Falling asleep or waking up
  • Growing older
  • The feeling of getting lost in a book
  • How to know if you're in love
  • A bad dream
  • Your city, town, or neighborhood
  • An important life choice you've made
  • Spring, summer, fall, or winter
  • Something most people see as ugly but which you see as beautiful
  • Becoming a parent
  • An event that changed you
  • A place you visited -- how you imagined it beforehand, and what it was actually like
  • The speed of light
  • A voodoo doll
  • Reflections on a window
  • A newspaper headline
  • Your greatest fear
  • Your grandmother's hands
  • A particular toy you had as a child
  • Being invisible
  • A time you felt homesick
  • Having an affair, or discovering your partner is having one
  • A favorite food and a specific memory of eating it
  • An imaginary city
  • Driving with the radio on
  • Life in an aquarium
  • Walking with your eyes closed
  • What a computer might daydream about
  • Time travel
  • Brothers or sisters
  • Your job, or a job you've had
  • Leaving home
  • A historical event from the perspective of someone who saw it firsthand (You will have to do some research for this).
  • Holding your breath
  • Intimacy and privacy
  • A time you were tempted to do something you feel is wrong
  • Physical attraction to someone
  • A superstition you have
  • Someone you admire

seashells, stones, and jewel, representing poem starters, poetry ideas

Poem starters- the five senses

  • Write about the taste of: an egg, an orange, medicine, cinnamon
  • Write about the smell of: burning food, melting snow, the ocean, your grandparents' home, the inside of a bus, pavement after the rain
  • Write about the sound of: a radio changing channels, a dog howling, a football or baseball game, your parents talking in another room
  • Write about the sight of: lit windows in a house when you're standing outside at night, someone you love when he or she doesn't know you're watching, a dying plant, shadows on snow
  • Write about the feeling of: grass under bare feet, a really bad kiss, the headrush when you stand up too fast, sore muscles, falling asleep in the back seat of a moving car.

Poem starters- three elements

  • a dessert, a memory, and someone in your family
  • dancing, a pitch-black room, and the smell of lilacs
  • a balloon, smoke, and a keyhole
  • a secret box, an ice cube tray, and a velvet ribbon
  • a betrayal, soap, and a plane ticket

Poem starters - keep writing

  • Click here for even more poetry ideas .
  • Click here for a list of CWN pages with poetry prompts .
  • Click here to sign up for our online course, Essentials of Poetry Writing .
  • Click here for advice on how to write poetry .
  • Click here for story starters and fiction writing ideas .

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Poetry Writing: Invention

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The following resource provides the reader with a better understanding of invention and invention strategies for poetry writing. It includes a number of exercises that can be used to aid in the invention process.

Poetry is an exciting form because it allows for a great deal of exploration and experimentation. Most writers are acquainted with poetry at a young age, through nursery rhymes or through children’s poets such as Shel Silverstein or Jack Prelutsky. You may also be a fan of rhyming poetry, and of some of the set forms for poems, such as the sestina or the pantoum. These forms for poetry, along with the other existing forms, give a new poet a place to start—a container to be filled-in with one’s own ideas.

Most contemporary poets write in free-verse instead. Rhymes are not common here; instead, the poem draws its shape from the natural pauses between thoughts and images. Contemporary poets use line breaks, caesura, and stanza breaks to slow a reader down or to emphasize important ideas, instead of relying on the repetition of sounds. Sound is still a vital element of contemporary poetry, but the aesthetic principles (what we find beautiful) have changed from the days of Shakespeare or even Robert Frost. The white space on the page is a valuable tool for poets, as it gives the reader time to pause and to make leaps between moments in the poem.

The hardest thing about writing a poem is often finding a place to start. You may have been told to “write what you know”—always good advice. Sometimes, certain images/moments/experiences will strike you as somehow important ; something happens, and you find yourself thinking about it for days afterwards. It’s important, therefore, to always be aware of the world around you—always looking for inspiration.

Alternatively, you may sit down to write a poem with a specific agenda in mind. You want to make a statement about the world, maybe personal, maybe political, and you want to say it in through a poem. Poems written this way require a lot of reflection, as the poet works to find the images or narrative that will get their point across skillfully and artfully.

Poet H. L. Hix writes that a poem always has a “synoptic moment,” one in which “the whole is implicit in the part” (41). This moment could also be considered the heart or main idea of the poem. The poem may start with this moment—a technique Hix calls “expository” (41). Alternatively, the poem may build up to that moment in a “cumulative” way, meaning the point falls at the end (41). Many writers begin a poem with an image and “write into” the synoptic moment; they don’t know what that moment will be until they arrive there. The opposite approach is to set out with the synoptic moment already in mind. Nix writes:

Unless I reflect on—unless I choose —a poem’s aims, I remain confined to received aim, those most typical of my time and place (41).

In other words, by beginning with an aim/something you want to get across, you open yourself up to more possibility in terms of imagery and form. By starting with an image, or by not knowing the poem’s aims ahead of time, Hix suggests that you are limiting yourself to only the images you see, things that are thrown into your path by chance.

At times, you may feel less inspired—you may not have a set agenda or “synoptic moment” in mind. That’s perfectly okay. Your own daily life experience is rich in images and material for poetry; you just have to focus in on the material to find a starting point. When you want or need to write something, you may have to prod your subconscious into it—find a hidden moment or image that can become something. Generative exercises are helpful for starting from scratch when you think you’re out of ideas, and some might help you figure out what happens next. The links below provide a few generative exercises to get you going:

Works Referenced:

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20 Easy Poetry Writing Prompts and Exercises

a journal, pen, and coffee

Although I mostly write fiction now, I started out writing poems. My MFA is even in poetry. I’ve taught beginning poetry workshops at university and also in some fairly unusual settings.

I know a lot of people can use ideas for poems, poetry writing prompts, and inspiration. Even if you write poetry all the time, one of these idea starters might spark your muse or take your writing in a fresh direction. And if you’re a teacher—whether you teach creative writing, English, or grade school—you might be able to adapt one of these for your class!

My favorite thing about poetry is that there aren’t any real rules about how to write a poem. When you find your creative inspiration—whether it’s love, life, or something else—you can just let the words flow. (You can always shape it up later.)

Here are some idea starters, prompts, and exercises that have worked for me before as a poet. You might want to pin or bookmark them for future reference!

20 Easy Poetry Writing Prompts and Exercises #ideas for poems #how to write a poem #classroom #creative writing #idea starters

1. Pick a song on your iPod, phone, or a playlist at random and let it influence you as you quickly write a first draft of a poem.

2. Go to a café, library, or fast food restaurant. Sit where you can see the door. Write a poem about the next person who walks in.

3. You can also do this in a public place where there are a lot of people talking: write a poem based on an overheard conversation.

4. Write a poem about a wild animal. Mary Oliver, who passed away recently and who was such a great talent and inspiration, has written many poems like this, including “The Hermit Crab,” “ The Shark ,” and “ Wild Geese .”

5. Write a poem inspired by a piece of art. (By the way, the word for a poem or literary work inspired by visual art is ekphrasis . Pretty cool, right?)

6. Write a poem with a refrain: a line or a few lines that repeat, like the chorus of a song.

7. This isn’t the easiest poetry-writing exercise…but I’ve gotten some good poems this way!

Set your alarm for two hours earlier than you usually wake up. Put a notebook and pen next to your bed. When you wake up, free-write for about fifteen minutes. (“Free-writing” means “writing down whatever pops into your head, without thinking too hard about it.”) If you woke up in the middle of a dream, use the dream as inspiration; otherwise, just write whatever comes into your head. Go back to sleep. Later, turn your free-writing into a poem.

8. Write a poem that’s an open letter to a whole group of people.

9. Write a poem that’s a set of directions or instructions.

10. Write a poem about a food. The poet Kevin Young has many examples to inspire you, including “Ode to Gumbo”:

11. Write a poem in which every line begins with the same word. You can change that in revision…or maybe you won’t want to.

12. For this one, you’ll need to either write in a notebook or journal, or on your phone. Go to a store that would be a weird place to write a poem—like a convenience store, a department store, or a drugstore—and write a quick poem.

13. Write a poem that focuses on one color. Federico García Lorca’s poem “Somnambulist Ballad,” translated from the Spanish, or Diane Wakoski’s poem “Blue Monday” might inspire you.

14. Pretend you’re a fictional character from a book, movie, or TV show. Write a poem in their voice.

15. Write an acrostic poem. The first letter of each line spells out a word vertically down the left-hand side of the page. Even for serious poets who would never try to publish an acrostic poem, this is a great exercise to get creative juices flowing.

16. lose your eyes, flip through a book, and put your finger on a page. Whatever word you’re pointing at, use it as a poem title and write that poem.

17. Write a poem late at night, by hand, by candlelight.

18. Fill a page with free-writing using your non-dominant hand. This can help you tap into less rational, more creative thought patterns.

19. Write a poem with very long lines. Walt Whitman’s collection Leaves of Grass might inspire you.

20. Write a poem saying goodbye to someone or something. It could be a happy poem, a sad poem, or both.

poem about creative writing subject

I hope you enjoyed this list of creative writing exercises and poetry prompts!

Would you like some more ideas? My book 5,000 Writing Prompts  has 80 more poetry-writing exercises in addition to the ones on this list, plus hundreds of master plots by fiction genre, dialogue and character prompts, and much more.

poem about creative writing subject

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Do you have a method or exercise that inspires you? Let us know in the comments! I’ve said it before, but I learn so much from the comment section, and I always appreciate it. Thanks for reading, and happy writing!

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5 JOURNAL EXERCISES FOR SELF-ESTEEM #journal exercises for healing #journal prompts #journal exercises for depression #journal ideas #journal exercises for anxiety #mental health #creativity

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13 thoughts on “ 20 easy poetry writing prompts and exercises ”.

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I took a class I thought was on creative writing but the instructor turned out to be a poet. She had us write a short story about a snow storm. She gave us specific things that had to be in it, like a snow shovel and various other objects. Over the next few meeting we condensed the story down until we had the basis for a poem. At the end of the semester, after we had moved on to other things, she asked me if she could submit my poem in a contest for submission in the school’s literary publication. I did not win butI I was thrilled to be nominated. I did however, have a haiku poem in that publication. At the time, I was disappointed the class was slanted more to poetry than creative writing, but what I learned there helped me win some poetry contests along my journey.

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Bonnie, I love it that something that started out disappointing turned out to have a silver lining! We really do learn from all kinds of writing.

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Thank you for sharing this wealth of information! I have many methods of exercise when it comes to writing. Being creative in other ventures helps my writing and helps me move past “blocks.” I will write poetry or listen to music, but I find the most helpful is being outside, in my garden or simply playing fetch with my dog and looking around at nature to inspire me.

Hi, Savannah! Being outside inspires me, too, and it’s really easy for me to forget about that. I’m so glad you brought that up!

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What a wonderful list. While I don’t (can’t?) write poetry, I do enjoy reading it. I had to laugh at #18. When I write with my non-dominant (left) hand I tend to write backward. Others need a mirror to read it, but I don’t. I will be back to try out a couple of your prompts. Thanks for sharing.

Hi Jo! I think anyone can write poetry, but that doesn’t mean everyone enjoys it, of course! That’s funny about writing backwards with your left hand—I don’t think I could do that if I tried. Thanks for reading, and commenting!

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Thanks, for sharing this, and I took a creative writinh class in college and even found a website that has all sorts of poetry styles, and forms with examples of each one and definitions as well. It definitely helped me with my poetry, and I also read two books on wriing poetry as well.

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Thank you so much!

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  • Nov 27, 2021

Creative Writing 101: Insights on Writing Poetry

Creative Writing 101 articles serve as one of the academic courses in the field of Literary Theory and Literature. The course, which is a fundamental guide within the scope of general knowledge compared to the technical knowledge of Literary Theory and Literature, also addresses students and the general readership alike. With this goal in mind, the author has opted to write the article in very plain and basic English to convey just the necessary understanding of Creative Writing by making the article merely an introduction.

Creative Writing 101 is mainly divided into five chapters including:

- Creative Writing 101: Into the Writer’s Creative Mind: Overview & Dynamics

- Creative Writing 101: Theorizing Creative Writing as a Discipline

- Creative Writing 101: Insights on Writing Poetry

- Creative Writing 101: Insights on Writing Short Stories

- Creative Writing 101: Insights on Writing Novels

The establishment of poetry-writing as a discipline in Creative Writing studies has been subject to multiple experimentations by scholars and poet-teachers at many levels, such as form, vocabulary, syntax, tone, and measure, to enhance the writing/compositional skills of the novice young poets soon to become professional poets. In the third article of the Creative Writing 101 series, the concern will be on elaborating the reflections of well-known poets on writing and composing better poems along with a list of some recommended books related to writing poetry, before drifting to an examination of the dynamics of writing poetry in class, serving as an instance of experiential learning method proposed and applied in poetry-writing class at American universities.

“A poem is analogous to a painting, a piece of sculpture or a musical composition. Its material is language, and often that language will be almost mosaically fitted together, with words as the pieces of the mosaic.” (O'Brien, pp. 196).

The task of composing poetry is not just a simple task as describes Morley (2007), it is rather a whole phenomenon, whereby the poet’s senses and feelings are activated while creating through words what is being visually perceived by the poet. Morley (2007) uses the instance of Wisława Szymborska’s poem “Unwritten poem reviewed” to explain his thoughts on the matter. In her book People on a Bridge: Poems, the Polish poetess Szymborska gives an insightful description of the shadow of a butterfly over her hands, emphasizing, thus, the beauty of eye perception portrayed in the shape of words.

“Nearby a white butterfly flutters in the air

with wings that are wholly his

and the shadow that flies over my hands

is not other, not anyone’s, but his very own.

Seeing such sights I lose my certainty

that what is important

is more important than the unimportant.”

( “Unwritten poem reviewed” , Wisława Szymborska)

Coupled with Morley’s reflection on the writing process of poetry, the British poet O’ Brien (2007) states that the creative process of writing a poem needs to be synchronized by many elements included altogether, such as “rhyme, rhythm and metre, refrains, the stanza, enjambment , local and extended musical effects.” (pp.187). All these elements constitute the form of the poem, and for the form to be coherent, it has to be accompanied as well by “sentence structure and rhetorical devices involving balance, contrast, amplification and repetition.” (O’ Brien, 2007, pp. 187). For instance, poetic form varies from one period to another and can be illustrated in the English sonnet form through Shakespeare’s Sonnets and also in epic poetry such as Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey .

poem about creative writing subject

St. Martin’s Press. (1992). [Book Cover of The Art of Poetry Writing: A Guide for Poets, Students and Readers by William Packard] . Bookdepository.com.

https://www.bookdepository.com/Art-Poetry-Writing-William-Packard/9780312076412

The free-verse poem, in contrast to metred poems, is characterized by a deconstructed form following no “fixed patterns of metre and rhyme” (Morley, 2007, pp.205). Nonetheless, the freedom of the poetic verse at the level of form is ornamented by other components like “alliteration, figures of speech and imagery.” (Morley, 2007, pp.205), making it far more difficult to produce than formal and conventional poetic verse. The instance of D.H Lawrence's unmetred poetry referred to by Morley (2007) in accordance with the English poet James Fenton is thought to be far much better than his metred poetry. A Small section of D.H. Lawrence’s poem “Bavarian Gentians” illustrates the effect of the free verse on the reader, showing the brilliance of the poet’s mind behind the words.

“Reach me a gentian, give me a torch

let me guide myself with the blue, forked torch of this flower

down the darker and darker stairs, where blue is darkened on

even where Persephone goes, just now, from the frosted

to the sightless realm where darkness is awake upon the dark …”

( "Bavarian Gentians" , D.H. Lawrence)

Moreover, other instances of free verse poets such as Ezra Pound and T.S. Eliot are mentioned by O’Brien (2007) to emphasize the idea of free verse poetry as a non-abandonment of poetic form, but rather a new way of approaching poetry through a modern and unconventional way of composing poetry.

“April is the cruellest month, breeding

Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing

Memory and desire, stirring

Dull roots with spring rain.

Winter kept us warm, covering

Earth in forgetful snow, feeding

A little life with dried tubers.”

(The Burial of the Dead, "The Waste Land" , T.S. Eliot )

The instance of a small section of T.S. Eliot’s poem “The Waste Land” echoes the explanation of O’Brien (2007) when attempting to approach T.S. Eliot’s ideology of Poetry as having a communicative purpose before aiming at being grasped by the reader. In this way, it is important for the poet, according to O’Brien (2007), to play the role of the poet as a reader and not only the poet as a writer, for reading as many poems as possible is considered to be one of the best exercises to do. Morley (2007) advocates the practice of reading poetry out loud— reading other poets’ poems and personal poems, too—up to five poems to be read on daily basis before being able to read any other poet’s collection over a week with no limitation to one single language or one single literary era. The more various and diverse the poems are, the better the poet’s outcome will be while composing. In fact, such exercise for novice poets will pave the way for the betterment of their poetic composition as it will be enhanced by measure, giving another time dimension to their written output, which is thought “to regulate, therefore to institute or control time, to stop time, or to shield objects from the effects of time.” (Kunin, 2007, pp. 221).

poem about creative writing subject

Oxford University Press. (2007). [Book Cover of Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes]. Bookdepository.com. https://www.bookdepository.com/Oxford-Dictionary-Rhymes-Oxford-University-Press/9780192806888

To give an illustration of the importance of the measurement of the poetic form by time in contemporary poetry, Challis (2018) explores one of the British poet Sean O’Brien’s poem noir , entitled “Hammersmith”, whereby imagination is examined by “ matters which seem separable from each other in the waking world, such as historical and political facts and actual places, and the forms and locations they assume in reverie, personal impressions and memories, the known and the dreamed, merge, shift and re-combine.” O’Brien plays with time by quickening it through the use of long sentences before shortening time again through the use of shorter sentences, emphasizing its impact on one’s past, one’s present moment, and one’s consciousness.

“Oh loneliness, your name is Hammersmith.

The river fills again, the barges wake and shift

On skating blackness. Now would be the time

To find her coming to the dance

Among a crowd of other girls, the time to know

This room, the empty stairs, the empty street,

The high tide of the gale,

As an annunciation… ”

( “Hammersmith” , Sean O’Brien)

The poem noir becomes, thus, the embodiment of the dark reality of the poet’s world, a poetic version of the Film Noir, as describes Challis (2018), treating common people who find themselves driven to experience particular situations, most of the time inspired by criminal themes, leading thus to an identity crisis and a requestioning of the self that may trigger personality change.

poem about creative writing subject

Greene, R., Cushman, S., Cavanagh, C., Ramazani, J., Rouzer, P., Feinsod, H., Marno, D., & Slessarev, A. (2012, August 26). [Book Cover of The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics: Fourth Edition]. Https://Press.Princeton.Edu. https://press.princeton.edu/books/paperback/9780691154916/the-princeton-encyclopedia-of-poetry-and-poetics

As a reaction to the frustration and struggle of his Creative Writing students expressed throughout the compositional process of writing poems in class, the American poet Jake Adam York proposed to experiment with a well-known method already used by psychologists and neuroscientists in the learning process of language, and which enhances the learning of composing high-quality poems. York (2008) explains that the task duration varies from five up to nine hours and the work has to be done in a media lab, where audio and video editing equipment will be used by Creative Writing students, for they are invited to record themselves uttering and reading words from poems they are still composing and look at the sound variations of language through “a continuous stream of sound with peaks and valleys and silences of various degrees.” (York, 2007, pp.25). In these terms, what students are supposed to learn from such poetry-writing exercise is to feel and experience the words through a phonotext in order to be able to explore language while composing their poems, highlighting thus, “its sonic and its graphic, not just its semantic – dimension.” (York, 2007, pp.23). After the experience of poetic composition at the lab, York (2008) returns with the students to class, where the following task is to compose without the audio, but rather with the use of other reading materials, such as texts of the writer Tristan Tzara. The students are free to cut, search for and play with words, found already in the texts, as far as they help them complete their poems. Such experiential exercise of poetic composition proposed by York aims to boost the creativity of the students, inciting them to be further stimulated to write and compose.

poem about creative writing subject

Oxford University Press. (2006). [Book Cover of The Poetry Handbook by John Lennard (2nd Edition)]. Amazon.co.uk. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Poetry-Handbook-John-Lennard/dp/0199265380

All things considered, the poetry-writing discipline as part of Creative Writing studies is still experimented to find suitable practices of the poetic composition both taught and learned in class. The challenge for such discipline is to promote better poets, who are gifted writers predisposed initially to become professional poets, and so to keep on searching for novel pedagogic methods for such areas of expertise. No matter how advanced the Creative Writing students are, there are certain rules within the discipline of poetic composition to stick to and bear in mind, that of the poetic form and language, going hand in hand together to construct good poems regardless of their genres—poem noir, free verse poem, sonnet, epic poem, and other poetic genres. More Insights on poetry and poetry-writing are at the core of recommended readings, such as The Teachers & Writers Handbook of Poetic Forms [2nd edition] (2007) and Writing Poems by Michelle Boisseau, Robert Wallace, and Randall Mann [7th edition] (2008).

Image Sources

St. Martin’s Press. (1992). [Book Cover of The Art of Poetry Writing: A Guide for Poets, Students and Readers by William Packard]. Bookdepository.com. https://www.bookdepository.com/Art-Poetry-Writing-William-Packard/9780312076412

Challis, J. (2018, October 24). Permanent Afternoons: The Underworld in the Poetry of Sean O’Brien . Https://Wildcourt.Co.Uk. Retrieved November 24, 2021, from https://wildcourt.co.uk/features/permanent-afternoons-underworld-poetry-sean-obrien/

Challis, J. (n.d.). The Poem Noir . Https://Poetryschool.Com. Retrieved November 24, 2021, from https://poetryschool.com/new-courses/the-poem-noir/

Corbett, B. (2013, October). People on a Bridge (Poetry) by Wislawa Szymborska . Http://Faculty.Webster.Edu. Retrieved November 24, 2021, from http://faculty.webster.edu/corbetre/personal/reading/szymborska-people.html

Greene, R., Cushman, S., Cavanagh , C., Ramazani , J., Rouzer, P., Feinsod, H., Marno, D., & Slessarev, A. (Eds.). (2012). enjambment. In The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics (4th ed., pp. 435–436). Princeton University Press. Retrieved November 22, 2021, from https://cloudflare-ipfs.com/ipfs/bafykbzaceah6fu4uxxtnp5pbdtjjbhrgwi3ycnj4etf22ctgi7kb4rw27dqpg?filename=%28Princeton%20reference%29%20Ramazani%2C%20Jahan_%20Feinsod%2C%20Harris_%20Slessarev%2C%20Alexandra_%20Rouzer%2C%20Paul%20F._%20Cavanagh%2C%20Clare_%20Greene%2C%20Roland_%20Cushman%2C%20Stephen_%20Marno%2C%20David%20-%20The%20Princeton%20Encyclopedia%20of%20Poetry%20an.pdf.

Greene, R., Cushman, S., Cavanagh , C., Ramazani , J., Rouzer, P., Feinsod, H., Marno, D., & Slessarev, A. (Eds.). (2012). form. In The Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics (4th ed., pp. 497–499). Princeton University Press. Retrieved November 22, 2021, from https://cloudflare-ipfs.com/ipfs/bafykbzaceah6fu4uxxtnp5pbdtjjbhrgwi3ycnj4etf22ctgi7kb4rw27dqpg?filename=%28Princeton%20reference%29%20Ramazani%2C%20Jahan_%20Feinsod%2C%20Harris_%20Slessarev%2C%20Alexandra_%20Rouzer%2C%20Paul%20F._%20Cavanagh%2C%20Clare_%20Greene%2C%20Roland_%20Cushman%2C%20Stephen_%20Marno%2C%20David%20-%20The%20Princeton%20Encyclopedia%20of%20Poetry%20an.pdf.

Kunin, A. (2007). New Poetries. In S. Earnshaw (Ed.), The Handbook of Creative Writing (pp. 211–228). Edinburgh University Press.

Morley, D. (2007). Writing Poetry. In The Cambridge Introduction to Creative Writing (pp. 194–214). Cambridge University Press.

O’Brien, S. (2007). Introduction to Poetry. In S. Earnshaw (Ed.), The Handbook of Creative Writing (pp. 183–198). Edinburgh University Press.

Poetry Foundation. (n.d.). The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot . Poetryfoundation.Org. Retrieved November 24, 2021, from https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/47311/the-waste-land

The Poetry Archive. (n.d.). Bavarian Gentians by D.H. Lawrence . Https://Poetryarchive.Org. Retrieved November 23, 2021, from https://poetryarchive.org/poem/bavarian-gentians/

York, J. A. (2008). Let Stones Speak: New Media Remediation in the Poetry Writing Classroom. In G. Harper & J. Kroll (Eds.), Creative Writing Studies Practice, Research and Pedagogy (pp. 21–35). Multilingual Matters Ltd.

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127 Creative And Fun Poetry Writing Prompts

Whether you’re writing a poem for your own collection or a significant other, you’re here with one question in mind: “How do I get ideas to write a poem?”

This isn’t some random, “Let’s get this over with” assignment, after all. You want this poem to be worth writing — and worth sharing. 

You need the kind of poetry inspiration to help you take your thoughts, memories, and experiences and turn them into something beautiful and memorable. 

Fun should be as much a part of the process as feeling.

You’ll find both in this list of 127 poetry prompts. 

127 Creative and Fun Poetry Writing Prompts 

Make a note of your favorites as you go through this list of poetry prompts . Some will stand out more than others, thanks to your unique perspective and experiences. Jot down some ideas as you go along, and enjoy creating a list of your own to play with. 

1. Childhood Home. Describe a particular home you remember from your childhood. 

2. Growing Pains. Describe a uniquely painful time of transition. 

3. Haiku Challenge. Write a haiku (7 syllables, 5 syllables, 7 syllables) about the perfect morning or evening. 

4. The End of Something. Describe an end to a relationship, a job, or something else you remember with regret or satisfaction. 

5. Social Misfit. Describe a moment where you felt like the odd one out. 

6. Street Signs. Write about a street sign that stood out for you. 

7. Statistics. Write about a statistic that surprises you or has personal meaning. 

8. Bug’s Eye View. Write from the perspective of an insect at a busy park. 

9. Ghostwriter. You wake up to short notes written by a diseased former resident.

10. Insta-ration. Go to a friend’s Instagram and write about a post that stands out. 

man and woman discussing book poetry writing prompts

11. Grandma’s House. Write about your grandmother’s house (or how you imagine it).

12. Ice Cold. Write about the sensation of drinking (or wearing) something cold. 

13. Beach Walk. Write about a solitary walk on the beach and what you see and hear.

14. Curio . Write about a souvenir you keep visible and what it means for you. 

15. How’s the weather? Describe today’s weather and how it’s affecting you. 

16. Neighbors. Describe one of your neighbors in a poetic snapshot. 

17. First Crush. Describe the first crush you ever had and what it taught you. 

18. First Friend. Describe the first real friend you made and the difference they made. 

19. Radio. Turn the radio on and write about a song that makes you stop to listen.

20. Fangirl. Describe a favorite character or celebrity crush from a favorite series. 

21. How To . Describe a daily process most people rush through or do without thinking. 

22. Under 21. Write a poem of fewer than 21 words about whatever comes to mind. 

23. Far From Home. Write about your imaginary home planet (not Earth). 

24. A Reality Apart. Write about a separate reality you came from and how it differs. 

25. Check Your Privilege . Describe an unearned privilege you enjoy that some do not.

26. Prejudice . Describe what you feel when someone treats you as less than human.

27. Chameleon. Describe a time you changed your persona to fit and how it went.

28. Face to Face. Describe a time you came face to face with a nemesis or mentor. 

29. Complete . Describe the feeling of finishing a labor of love (or an arduous project).

30. Uncertainty. Describe a moment when you struggled to make a decision. 

31. Tea & Sympathy. Describe a difficult time when someone was there for you. 

32. The Elements. Describe the four elements and what each represents to you. 

33. Written in the Stars. Describe your daily horoscope or your birth chart. 

34. Creature Comforts. Describe something that helps you feel calm and comforted. 

35. Wandering. Describe a time when you wandered off and got lost. 

36. Phobias. Describe a phobia you have and what you would do without it. 

37. Homecoming. Describe a return to a place that once felt like home. 

38. Hobbies. Describe a favorite hobby and what you love about it. 

39. Compare and Contrast two very different people you know. 

40. Storytime. Describe a time when someone told you a story that stayed with you. 

41. I’d rather… Describe something you don’t want to do and what you’d rather do. 

42. Numb. Describe a time when part or all of you felt numb and what it was like.

43. Dreaded Sound. Describe a sound you’ve come to associate with danger or dread.

44. Anticipation. Describe what you feel when you’re waiting for something. 

45. Mistaken Identity. Describe someone you mistook for someone you know. 

46. Circus Performer. Describe an experience as the circus performer of your choice. 

47. Knowing By Touch. Describe a strange feeling you got from touching an object. 

48. Off the (Spice) Rack. Compare a spice to something or someone in your life. 

49. Unexpected Test. Describe a test you weren’t prepared for and how you did.

50. Mad Scientist. Describe a real or imagined experiment gone horribly wrong.

51. Doppelganger. Describe an imaginary look-alike who shows up and complicates your life. 

52. DIY Repairs. Describe something of yours that’s broken and how you might fix it.

53. Amateur Sleuth. Someone you know is dead, and you’re reviewing the suspects.

54. Political News. Write an opinion letter in poem form (rhyming or not).

55. What’s In A Name. Include words for each letter in your name in a poem. 

56. Scentsation. Write about memories or thoughts evoked by a scent. 

57. Waiting Alone. Write about a moment spent waiting for someone to show up. 

poetry on paper poetry writing prompts

58. Make a List. Describe an unusual list (grocery, to-do, etc.) you made or received.

59. White Elephants. Describe an unwanted or useless gift you received. 

60. Recipe. Write a recipe in the form of a poem (rhyming or not). 

61. After Party. Describe a party scene after all the guests have left. 

62. Stranger Than Fiction. Write about an incident that struck you as bizarre. 

63. Drive-through. Describe a memorable experience with a fast-food restaurant.

64. Unemployed. Describe the feeling of being laid off or fired from a job. 

65. Hired. Describe the feeling of being hired for the job you know you’ll love. 

66. Box of Memories. Describe a sealed box (and its contents) from your parents’ attic. 

67. Trapped. Describe an experience that made you feel pinned down or trapped. 

68. Inner Voice. Describe a time when your inner wisdom led you to a better choice.

69. Medical Advice. Describe a piece of advice you received from a doctor or nurse.

70. Unplanned. Describe an unexpected gift and/or challenge that changed your life. 

71. Ode to a First Car. Write an ode to the first car you ever owned or drove. 

72. Queen. Write a poem from the perspective of a queen (#BornLikeThis). 

73. From the First Taste. Describe a first taste experience that was a revelation to you.

74. First Pet. Describe your first pet or the closest thing you’ve ever had to a pet.

75. Near Miss. Describe a moment when you nearly missed your target and how it felt.

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108 Engaging And Creative Nonfiction Writing Prompts

76. Candlelight Memories. Describe a pleasant memory involving candles. 

77. “Does This Spark Joy?” Write a poem about decluttering your inner or outer life . 

78. Sarcasm . Write a sarcastic poem to drive a particular point home. 

79. “You’re Wrong.” Describe a moment when you spoke up in defense of the truth. 

80. Don’t cry. Write a poem about a moment when you did your utmost not to cry.

81. Silver Linings . Write about the good you can see in something terrible. 

82. You got this! Write a poem to build up someone’s confidence. 

83. Jingle Bells. Write a poem involving a bell or chime and what it meant for you. 

84. Best Wishes, Warmest Regards. Write about a fond farewell or welcome back.

85. Because Reasons. Write a poem about the reasons you might have for strange behavior.

86. Jello Shots. Write about something regrettable you did under the influence. 

87. Losing It. Describe a moment when you felt you were losing your mind. 

88. What a Ride! Write about a carnival ride you enjoyed or regretted more than you anticipated.

89. No, Virginia … Describe how you felt when someone crushed a childhood belief. 

90. Lost Opportunity. Describe a moment when you had to say no to something that lit you up inside. 

91. New Opportunity. Describe a moment when you said yes to an opportunity with a cost. 

92. All or Nothing. Write a poem about black-and-white thinking. 

93. Catastrophizing. Write a poem where you imagine things going from bad to worse.

woman sitting on floor reading a book poetry writing prompts

94. Paranoia. Write about a suspicion you had that others dismissed as paranoia. 

95. Spirit Animal. Write about your spirit animal and what you have in common. 

96. Memento. Write about a special memento, where you got it, and what it means to you. 

97. Pants on Fire. Write about a lie someone told you and how you learned the truth.

98. Procrastination . Write about an especially costly example of procrastination. 

99. Sleepless. Write a poem about a sleepless night, and what kept you awake. 

100. I Quit! Write about a job you quit or wanted to quit and why. 

101. I Surrender. Write a moment of surrender to someone or something. 

102. You’ve Changed! Write about someone who changed — and not in a good way.

103. Numbers. Write about a number or numbers that have special meaning for you. 

104. The Good Place. Write about your vision of the afterlife — or life between lives.

105. Shelter. Write about a person or place that gave you shelter from a storm. 

106. Cafeteria. Write about a memorable experience in a school or hospital cafeteria.

107. Dusty Instruments. Write about a musician who hasn’t touched their instrument in years (and why). 

108. Betrayal. Write a poem about someone who betrayed your trust. 

109. Ladder to the Sky. Write about an imaginary ladder you take through the clouds. 

110. Dear Reader. Write a letter in poem form to your future readers. 

111. Synchronicity. Describe a meaningful coincidence and any feelings connected to it.

112. Catch the Baby. Describe childbirth in a poem. 

113. Burning at Both Ends. Write a poem about burnout. 

114. What is your quest? Write a poem about a bridge or crossroads in your life? 

115. Your mother was a hamster… Write a poem about a devastating insult. 

116. Everything is Awesome. Write a poem about relentless optimism. 

117. Bad News. Write a poem about a diagnosis that changed your plans. 

118. Bad Ending. Write about a disappointing end to a story you were enjoying. 

119. Innocuous. Write about something “harmless” that does tremendous harm. 

120. Stuck in Traffic. Write about something you witnessed or experienced while stuck in traffic. 

121. Self-Discovery. Write a poem about learning something surprising about yourself.

122. Outdoorsy. Write a poem about your first experience of camping or hiking. 

123. First Heartbreak. Write a poem about the first time someone broke your heart.

woman writing outside poetry writing prompts

124. First Credit Card Debt. Write about the moment you became a debtor. 

125. Hidden Self. Write about something you’ve kept hidden from most, if not everyone.

126. First Enemy. Write about the moment you realized someone disliked you for you. 

127. Discovering Poetry. Write a poem about the poet who made you love poetry. 

Are you ready to use these poetry writing prompts?

Now that you’ve looked through this list of poem topics, which ones stood out for you?

Make your own shorter list of ideas and keep it handy for inspiration. You could even start a poetry journal and make the first page your list of favorite poetry prompts. 

Whatever gets you writing at least a few lines of poetry every day will help you develop your skills. Imagine holding a book of published poetry with your name on it! 

Until then, practice getting those thoughts onto the page. Who knows where they’ll lead?

You need the kind of poetry inspiration to help you take your thoughts, memories, and experiences and turn them into something beautiful and memorable. Fun should be as much a part of the process as feeling. You’ll find both in this list of 127 poetry prompts.

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Writers.com

Great poetry can be any length: long poems can sprawl across pages like interstate highways, but short poems can be just as moving and powerful. Short form poetry, which includes forms like micropoetry, pack lots of meaning in a small amount of space.

The best short poems make each word carry tremendous weight, and this article is all about how to write a short poem powerfully.

How do poets condense so much meaning in such a small space? Let’s take a deeper look at short form poetry, including some famous short poems and strategies for how to write a short poem.

Qualities of Short Poems

Micropoetry, famous short poems, how to write a short poem in 6 easy steps, features of short poems.

There’s no commonly accepted definition for what makes short poetry short. In fact, it’s not even a genre of poetry. Unlike long poetry—which comprises epic and narrative poems , as well as much of Modernist poetry—short poems don’t have specific conventions ascribed to them.

In other words, if you ask different poets what counts as a short poem, you’ll get many different answers.

For the purposes of this article, we’ll define short form poetry as anything 9 lines and under, OR any poem that uses 60 words or less. This definition is somewhat arbitrary, but poetry that is over 9 lines and/or 60 words tends to use both abstract and concrete images to explore an idea. As we discuss later, short poetry should focus on the concrete.

We define short form poetry as anything 9 lines and under, or any poem that uses 60 words or less.

The sonnet , for example, is a 14-line poem that often grapples with love , and though sonnets are by no means “long,” they often have abstract qualities not found in short poems.

Short poems are, well, short. But the best short poems share certain qualities that make them potent pieces of literature.

Short form poetry should have all or most of the following features:

  • Concision: In addition to omitting needless words , every word should do a lot of work in the poem. Small words, like articles and conjunctions and adverbs, should be sparse and only used to connect concrete nouns and verbs.
  • Concreteness: Short poems should present clear, concrete images. Often, these concrete images will work as symbols, representing abstract ideas in juxtaposition with each other.
  • Ephemerality: Often, short poems will represent fleeting moments of emotion—feelings that occur in a concrete moment of time. Short form poetry presents slices of life: moments of emotions crystalized into language.
  • Simplicity: A short poem should be easy to understand. The language should be accessible, and the ideas should be clear to the reader, even if they’re abstract and open-ended.
Short form poetry presents slices of life: moments of emotions crystalized into language.

Common literary devices in short poetry are metaphor, symbolism, and juxtaposition.

Types of Short Form Poetry

Many examples of short poems are free verse , meaning they don’t follow a specific form, style, length, or rhyme scheme. Additionally, there are a few forms of poetry that are always short. These include:

You can explore some of these forms at our article What is Form in Poetry? 10 Poetic Forms to Try .

One contemporary type of short form poetry is the micropoem. Micropoetry (sometimes stylized as micro poetry) is a distinctly 21st century invention, and its prominence has risen alongside the world of text messaging and microblogging.

A micropoem is a poem that fits within the confines of modern messaging tools. Examples of micropoetry include poems that fit inside tweets, captchas, or SMS messages. Many micropoems are also haikus or monostiches .

A micropoem is a poem that fits within the confines of modern messaging tools.

You’ll find micropoetry most frequently on sites like Twitter, such as these uplifting pieces . There are also certain literary journals dedicated to the publication of micropoetry, many of which are listed here at Poets & Writers .

Before we discuss how to write a short poem, let’s look at some famous short poems in action.

For each example, we’ll examine how it fits within the 4 main qualities of short form poetry, as well as the poem’s use of literary devices.

Dreams By Langston Hughes

Hold fast to dreams For if dreams die Life is a broken-winged bird That cannot fly. Hold fast to dreams For when dreams go Life is a barren field Frozen with snow.

Langston Hughes (1902-1967) was a prominent Jazz Poet and member of the Harlem Renaissance . His poetry embodied black life and was written specifically for a black audience, transcribing his daily experiences in brief, emotive language.

An important feature of Jazz Poetry is its serendipity: the Jazz Poem is not planned for, it simply emerges, following the improvisations of the writer like a jazz musician experiments with instruments. Many works of Jazz Poetry, including much of Hughes’ work, counts as short form poetry.

In “Dreams,” Hughes presents two simple metaphors. Life without dreams is both “a broken-winged bird” and “a barren field / frozen with snow.” Each image is equally haunting: a bird without flight has no meaningful life to live, and a barren field cannot support life even after the seasons change.

In many ways, this poem is a warning: once a life loses its dreams, it is near-impossible to retrieve those dreams. The images in this poem are paradoxical, forcing the reader to consider if a life without dreams is life at all.

  • Concision: The poem is 8 lines and 33 words. Within this, the poem offers two stark images, each of which presents a similar metaphor, and each metaphor building a sense of irony and caution.
  • Concreteness: The poem’s central images are a flightless bird and a frozen, barren field. Each image invoked is haunting and absolute. One cannot help but consider a winter of the soul.
  • Ephemerality: The poem’s brevity highlights the fleeting nature of dreams, and the imperative to hold them as tight as possible.
  • Simplicity: The language of the poem is clear and accessible. It is structured so that an image and metaphor are presented in two sets of four lines, and when juxtaposed, those images reinforce each other.
  • Literary Devices: “Dreams” makes powerful use of metaphor, juxtaposition, and paradox.

Old Pond By Matsuo Bashō

An old silent pond… A frog jumps into the pond, splash! Silence again.

“Old Pond” is a beautiful, striking poem—but much of that beauty is lost in translation. The haiku , like many short poems, is near-impossible to translate meaningfully, so some background is necessary here.

Matsuo Bashō (1644-1694) was a prominent poet of Japan’s Edo period and is considered a master of the haiku form. Haiku were used to summarize a longer passage of prose, often acting as prologue to larger works.

Additionally, the haiku tradition often involves reminiscences about nature, juxtaposing two images before linking them in some surprising way. Bashō’s haiku combine Japanese symbolism with his own experiences travelling through the wilderness.

Although it’s not apparent in the poem’s word choice, “Old Pond” is actually about the changing of the seasons. In Japanese poetry, frogs symbolize the springtime; here, a frog (Spring) jumps (suddenly arrives) into an old silent pond (Winter). In other words, the frog is breaking the ice over an immobile pond, and the “splash!” is both a literal and symbolic celebration. Winter is truly over; the world rejoices.

The “silence again” leaves the haiku open-ended. Different translations of the haiku don’t include this part, and it may have been written to adapt the poem to 5/7/5 syllables in English. Nonetheless, “silence again” might suggest the dead quiet of the coming summertime, or else the quickness with which seasons change before the long quiet of Winter.

  • Concision: The poem is 3 lines and 17 syllables, which is common of most haiku (though variations exist in translation and among different poetry schools).
  • Concreteness: The poem provides a simple concrete image: a frog splashing in water.
  • Ephemerality: “Old Pond” focuses on a brief moment in time, using this moment to signify the passing of seasons.
  • Simplicity: Bashō’s haiku is written and translated in accessible language, using a clear image to represent a global idea.
  • Literary Devices: In keeping with the haiku tradition, “Old Pond” makes use of symbolism to tell a story.

Triad By Adelaide Crapsey

These be Three silent things: The falling snow… the hour Before the dawn… the mouth of one Just dead.

Adelaide Crapsey (1878-1914) is widely heralded as the inventor of the modern cinquain . This form—like the poem “Triad” above—is composed of 5 lines. The first and fifth line have 2 syllables; the second line has 4 syllables, the third 6, and the fourth 8.

Following this 2/4/6/8/2 format, “Triad” juxtaposes three images which, though seemingly unalike, are each united in their quietude.

The “falling snow” and “the hour / Before the dawn” are both natural images, each hushed in their own way. This makes the image of “the mouth of one / Just dead” all the more surprising. Perhaps by juxtaposing images of nature, the cinquain suggests that there’s still a moment of life in the dead mouth, though it remains forever silenced.

  • Concision: “Triad” is 5 lines, 22 syllables, and 19 words. Three images are cleverly juxtaposed in this limited space.
  • Concreteness: The poem presents three images, each concrete and unique in their own way.
  • Ephemerality: Each image in “Triad” is a brief moment in time. The central image of a dead person’s mouth reinforces this sense of ephemerality: it has just happened and yet suggests something fleeting.
  • Simplicity: The cinquain’s language is accessible and its images are cleanly juxtaposed.
  • Literary Devices: “Triad” makes use of juxtaposition to suggest likeness between three different images.

My Heart Leaps Up By William Wordsworth

My heart leaps up when I behold A rainbow in the sky: So was it when my life began; So is it now I am a man; So be it when I shall grow old, Or let me die! The Child is father of the Man; And I could wish my days to be Bound each to each by natural piety.

William Wordsworth (1770-1850) was a prominent poet of the English Romantics. As a poetic movement, Romanticism rejected Enlightenment ideals, praised the beauty of the natural world, and sought to embody “the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings.”

[Poetry is] the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings. —William Wordsworth

“My Heart Leaps Up” achieves these 3 goals. The central image of the poem is a rainbow, but the poem itself focuses on the speaker’s emotions in that moment of recognizing the rainbow. In praising the rainbow’s beauty, the speaker hopes never to lose that child-like awe of nature—going so far as to say that “The Child is father of the Man”, or that adults learn how to love the world through children.

  • Concision: “My Heart Leaps Up” is 9 lines and 61 words. It just borders our definition of short form poetry; even at this length, the poem starts to deal with abstract concepts like “natural piety.” Nonetheless, Wordsworth walks us through a philosophy of life—appreciating nature’s beauty—using simply the image of a rainbow.
  • Concreteness: In addition to the main image of a rainbow, the poem offers us the line “The Child is father of the Man.” It seems as though Wordsworth is imploring the reader to picture the rainbow for themselves: imagine a rainbow so radiant and mysterious that it invokes a child’s sense of awe.
  • Ephemerality: In the moment of observing this rainbow, the speaker’s “heart leaps up,” meaning this poem examines merely a heartbeat. This keeps with Wordsworth’s definition of poetry as “the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings.”
  • Simplicity: “My Heart Leaps Up” uses accessible language, which isn’t always true of Romantic-Era poetry. Additionally, it only focuses on one core image, keeping it clear in the reader’s mind.
  • Literary Devices: Wordsworth uses personification to describe his heart’s reaction to the rainbow. Additionally, the rainbow is juxtaposed with the image of a child being father to man.

We Real Cool By Gwendolyn Brooks

The Pool Players. Seven at the Golden Shovel.

We real cool. We Left school. We

Lurk late. We Strike straight. We

Sing sin. We Thin gin. We

Jazz June. We Die soon.

Gwendolyn Brooks (1917-2000) was a prolific poet of the 20th century, transcribing inner city life into 20 collections of poetry. Written in 1959, “We Real Cool” is one of the the most famous short poems of Jazz Poetry, and the poem inspired Terrance Hayes’ invention of The Golden Shovel form.

As suggested by the poem’s subtitle, “We Real Cool” is about seven boys playing pool at a bar called The Golden Shovel. The poem explains why the boys think they’re “real cool”—they leave school, stay up late, get in fights, drink, etc. Through this, the final line comes as a surprise: “We / Die soon” is unexpected coming from the speaker, given the poem’s boastful nature. This final, climactic line shows us the poet’s tone towards these truant boys, underscoring the poem’s themes of youth and rebellion.

Perhaps most intriguing about the poem is that most lines end with “we.” The conventional advice given to poets is to end each line on concrete nouns and verbs. So, why end 7 lines with a pronoun? In interviews , Brooks has said that the “we” should be read softly, perhaps suggesting the boys’ lack of identity outside of their debauchery. “We” also connects each line, suggesting that the boys’ revelry is goaded on by each other.

  • Concision: “We Real Cool” is 8 lines and 32 words long (including the subtitle). Despite this brevity, it covers themes of youth and rebellion.
  • Concreteness: In addition to the subtitle, which sets the scene of the poem, “We Real Cool” includes images of late nights, fist fights, gin, and leaving school.
  • Ephemerality: The poem doesn’t linger on any specific image. This is to emulate the speed at which these boys live life, flitting from one pleasure to another, as well as the speed with which they seem to careen towards death.
  • Simplicity: The language of the poem is clear and accessible, as well as lyrical and compelling. The only phrase which may be confusing is “Jazz June.” Some readers have interpreted “Jazz” in a sexual way, though Brooks included this line simply to set the scene (Jazz music in June).
  • Literary Devices: “We Real Cool” makes use of juxtaposition, symbolism, and epistrophe, which is the use of the same word or phrase at the end of a line. Several lines of the poem are allusions to the Seven Deadly Sins.

[you fit into me] By Margaret Atwood

you fit into me like a hook into an eye

a fish hook an open eye

Margaret Atwood (1939- ) is a prolific poet and author. Best known for her novel The Handmaid’s Tale , Atwood has also published numerous collections of poetry.

[you fit into me] was written in 1971. (The title is in brackets because it is also the poem’s first line.) The first stanza describes a simple image: a hook in an eye. This is a sewing reference: hooks and eyes are small metal devices that discreetly fasten ripped or undone clothes. In other words, the first stanza suggests that “you” and “me” fit each other perfectly.

The second stanza alters this image entirely. A fish hook in an open eye presents an uncomfortable and disquieting image: something trapped, sharp, painful.

This poem exposes Atwood’s mastery of short form poetry. She presents two very different images that use very similar language, suggesting that “you” and “me” have a seemingly perfect relationship, but it’s actually agonizing for the speaker, the “eye.” Additionally, the “open eye” suggests that the speaker is fully aware of this agony, watching herself be punctured by the hook, but is trapped beneath the surface of their perfect-sounding relationship.

Atwood has a knack for word play and gutting imagery, which she shows us in this concise example of short poetry.

  • Concision: [you fit in me] is 4 lines, 2 stanzas, and 16 words long. It presents two contrasting images, each with similar word choice. This poem is micropoetry length, though the micropoetry genre is a 21st century invention.
  • Concreteness: Both images are expressed clearly to the reader. Though the reader may not be familiar with the sewing terminology in the first stanza, the second stanza’s imagery is uncomfortable and painful.
  • Ephemerality: This poem’s brevity highlights the painful intensity of the speaker’s relationship, and the soundless pain of a hook fitting in an eye.
  • Simplicity: The word choice in [you fit in me] is clear and accessible, with each image using similar words but presenting starkly different images.
  • Literary Devices: Despite its brevity, this poem is heavy with symbolism. “Hook” represents “you” and “eye” represents “me.” The juxtaposition of these two images further describes the speaker’s intense feelings.

Did you find yourself inspired by these famous short poems? Want to write short form poetry or micropoetry yourself? Follow these 6 steps.

1. Consider Short Poetry Forms

You may decide to write your short poems in free verse, but first do some research on poetry forms. You might decide you like the challenge of the haiku, the cinquain, or the triolet, and having a form to work with can help you think critically about your word choice .

2. Start with a Moment of Emotion

In most of our examples of short poems, the speaker considers a simple moment in time: the sight of a rainbow, a frog leaping in a pond, the mouth of someone who just died, etc.

Follow this example. Think of a brief moment you’ve observed that led to some powerful emotions. Observe the image in your mind and consider your feelings: what thoughts, ideas, or sentiments bubble to the surface?

For more on this writing process, you may be interested in our article Writing for Mindfulness .

3. Describe That Moment with Concrete Imagery

Start writing down your observations in that moment. What do you see, hear, smell, taste, or feel?

You don’t need to describe the moment itself—you can also embody your emotions in concrete language. When Langston Hughes describes life without dreams as “a barren field / Frozen with snow”, he’s probably not observing that field directly, but experiencing and transcribing his emotions through imagery.

Some short form poetry has only one central image, but many pieces juxtapose multiple images together. Jot down the sensations you experience—without trying to be “poetic” or sophisticated—and let the poem take shape of its own accord.

4. Experiment with the Placement of Those Images

Juxtaposition is a powerful tool in the hands of poets, especially writers of short poems. Play around with the images you’ve written down, paying attention to how each image interacts with the other.

Juxtaposition is a powerful tool in the hands of poets.

You may find that different juxtapositions result in different stories and emotions; observe this, consider each placement thoroughly, and let the poem decide what’s best. Eschew the impulse to control the poem’s meaning, and allow the poem to sweep you off your feet. You’ll know how to place these images based on how they resonate in your heart.

5. Look for Literary Devices

The best short poems use imagery to build metaphors and symbols. Does your poem’s imagery represent something deeper or more abstract? Can you insert “like” or “as” to make similes? Can you insert “is,” “was,” “are,” “were” or other being verbs to make metaphors?

The best short poems use imagery to build metaphors and symbols.

Don’t try to force literary devices into the poem, but use them to highlight meanings that are already taking shape.

6. Cut or Add Words Where Necessary

Lastly, consider the poem’s sound. Does it flow from line to line? Does its musicality capture the rhythm of your emotions? You may have to add, cut, or edit words to make this happen. Continue to experiment with word choice, play with sounds relentlessly, and consider the weight of each word.

Chipping and refining the poem like this will feel like cutting a diamond with another diamond: using words to sharpen other words, the poem’s final form emerges.

For additional advice on how to write a short poem, check out our article How to Write a Poem, Step-by-Step .

Write Brilliant Short Poems at Writers.com

Whether you’re writing short form poetry or long form epics, the courses at Writers.com are designed to polish and enhance your writing. Take a look at our upcoming poetry courses , and join our Facebook group for our one-of-a-kind writing community.

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Sean Glatch

13 comments.

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This information was very appreciated! It has been far too much time passed since I first learned about short forms of poetry in school. Hopefully I can experiment with these different writing styles and push that block out of my way!

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thanks for the tips they are real handy

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slowly and sadly we laid him down in the field of his fame, fresh and gory And we carved not a line and we raised not a stone But we left him a.one in his glory

who wrote this?

Hoping someone remembers this quote ! Thanks

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That’s “The Burial Of Sir John Moore At Corunna” by Charles Wolfe. 🙂

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So, the poems with 2 stanzas be called short poems?

Good question! “Short” relates more with the number of lines, not the number of stanzas. A two stanza poem might be short, but if both stanzas had 12 lines, for example, then it would not be a short poem (as based on our somewhat-arbitrary definition).

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I love that we real cool. I’ll try writing my own version of it.

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https://grand-little-things.com/submission-information/

Site to publish short poems.

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I appreciate your helpful articles on poetry. I would like to print them out and keep them all together. Is there a way to get PDF copies? I wish they were compiled in a book 🙂

I’m so glad you find these articles helpful! You can save a PDF by Typing “CTRL+P” (on a mac: “command+P”)—this will pull up the “print” page, where you can save the article as a PDF onto your computer.

Happy writing!

Thanks so much!

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ThinkWritten

365 Creative Writing Prompts

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Here are 365 Creative Writing Prompts to help inspire you to write every single day! Use them for journaling, story starters, poetry, and more!

365 creative writing prompts

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If you want to become a better writer, the best thing you can do is practice writing every single day. Writing prompts are useful because we know sometimes it can be hard to think of what to write about!

To help you brainstorm, we put together this list of 365 creative writing prompts to give you something to write about daily.

Want to Download these prompts?  I am super excited to announce due to popular demand we now have an ad-free printable version of this list of writing prompts available for just $5. The  printable version  includes a PDF as a list AND print-ready prompt cards. {And all the design source files you could ever need to customize any way you would like!}

Here are 365 Creative Writing Prompts to Inspire:

Whether you write short stories, poems, or like to keep a journal – these will stretch your imagination and give you some ideas for topics to write about!

1. Outside the Window : What’s the weather outside your window doing right now? If that’s not inspiring, what’s the weather like somewhere you wish you could be?

2. The Unrequited love poem: How do you feel when you love someone who does not love you back?

3. The Vessel: Write about a ship or other vehicle that can take you somewhere different from where you are now.

4. Dancing: Who’s dancing and why are they tapping those toes?

5. Food: What’s for breakfast? Dinner? Lunch? Or maybe you could write a poem about that time you met a friend at a cafe.

6. Eye Contact: Write about two people seeing each other for the first time.

7. The Rocket-ship: Write about a rocket-ship on its way to the moon or a distant galaxy far, far, away.

rocket ship writing prompt

8. Dream-catcher : Write something inspired by a recent dream you had.

9. Animals: Choose an animal. Write about it!

10. Friendship: Write about being friends with someone.

11. Dragon : Envision a dragon. Do you battle him? Or is the dragon friendly? Use descriptive language.

12. Greeting : Write a story or poem that starts with the word “hello” or another greeting.

13. The Letter: Write a poem or story using words from a famous letter or inspired by a letter someone sent you.

14. The Found Poem : Read a book and circle some words on a page. Use those words to craft a poem. Alternatively, you can cut out words and phrases from magazines.

15. Eavesdropper : Create a poem, short story, or journal entry about a conversation you’ve overheard.

16. Addict: Everyone’s addicted to something in some shape or form. What are things you can’t go without?

17. Dictionary Definition : Open up a dictionary to a random word. Define what that word means to you.

dictionary success

18. Cleaning: Hey, even writers and creative artists have to do housework sometimes. Write about doing laundry, dishes, and other cleaning activities.

19. Great Minds: Write  about someone you admire and you thought to have had a beautiful mind.

20. Missed Connections: If you go to Craigslist, there is a “Missed Connections” section where you can find some interesting storylines to inspire your writing.

21. Foreclosure : Write a poem or short story about someone who has lost or is about to lose their home.

22. Smoke, Fog, and Haze: Write about not being able to see ahead of you.

23. Sugar: Write something so sweet, it makes your teeth hurt.

24. Numbers:  Write a poem or journal entry about numbers that have special meaning to you.

25. Dread: Write about doing something you don’t want to do.

26. Fear: What scares you a little? What do you feel when scared? How do you react?

27. Closed Doors: What’s behind the door? Why is it closed?

poem about creative writing subject

28. Shadow: Imagine you are someone’s shadow for a day.

29. Good Vibes: What makes you smile? What makes you happy?

30. Shopping:  Write about your shopping wishlist and how you like to spend money.

31. The Professor: Write about a teacher that has influenced you.

32. Rewrite : Take any poem or short story you enjoy. Rewrite it in your own words.

33. Jewelry: Write about a piece of jewelry. Who does it belong to?

34. Sounds : Sit outside for about an hour. Write down the sounds you hear.

35. War and Peace: Write about a recent conflict that you dealt with in your life.

36. Frame It: Write a poem or some phrases that would make for good wall art in your home.

37. Puzzle: Write about putting together the pieces of puzzles.

38. Fire-starters: Write about building a fire.

39. Coffee & Tea: Surely you drink one or the other or know someone who does- write about it!

40. Car Keys: Write about someone getting their driver’s license for the first time.

41. What You Don’t Know: Write about a secret you’ve kept from someone else or how you feel when you know someone is keeping a secret from you.

42. Warehouse : Write about being inside an old abandoned warehouse.

warehouse writing prompt

43. The Sound of Silence: Write about staying quiet when you feel like shouting.

44. Insult: Write about being insulted. How do you feel? Why do you think the other person insulted you?

45. Mirror, Mirror: What if you mirror started talking to you? What might the mirror say?

46. Dirty: Write a poem about getting covered in mud.

47. Light Switch : Write about coming out of the dark and seeing the light.

48. The Stars : Take inspiration from a night sky. Or, write about a time when “the stars aligned” in your horoscope.

writing prompt star idea

49. Joke Poem : What did the wall say to the other wall? Meet you at the corner! Write something inspired by a favorite joke.

50. Just Say No : Write about the power you felt when you told someone no.

51: Sunrise/Sunset : The sun comes up, the sun goes down. It goes round and round. Write something inspiring about the sunrise or sunset.

52. Memory Lane : What does Memory Lane look like? How do you get there?

53. Tear-Jerker : Watch a movie that makes you cry. Write about that scene in the movie.

54. Dear Diary: Write a poem or short story about a diary entry you’ve read or imagined.

55. Holding Hands : The first time you held someone’s hand.

56. Photograph : Write a story or journal entry influenced by a photograph you see online or in a magazine.

57. Alarm Clock: Write about waking up.

58. Darkness: Write a poem or journal entry inspired by what you can’t see.

59. Refreshed: Write a poem about a time you really felt refreshed and renewed. Maybe it was a dip into a pool on a hot summer day, a drink of lemonade, or other situation that helped you relax and start again.

60. Handle With Care : Write about a very fragile or delicate object.

61. Drama: Write about a time when you got stuck in between two parties fighting with each other.

62. Slip Up: Write about making mistakes.

63. Spice: Write about flavors and tastes or a favorite spice of yours.

64. Sing a New Song: Take a popular song off the radio and rewrite it as a poem in your own words.

65. Telephone: Write about a phone call you recently received.

66. Name: Write a poem or short story using your name in some way or form.

67. Dollhouse: Write a poem or short story from the viewpoint of someone living in a doll house.

68. Random Wikipedia Article : Go to Wikipedia and click on Random Article . Write about whatever the page you get.

69. Silly Sports: Write about an extreme or silly sport. If none inspire you, make up the rules for your own game.

70. Recipe : Write about a recipe for something abstract, such as a feeling.

71. Famous Artwork: Choose a famous painting and write about it.

72. Where That Place Used to Be : Think of a place you went to when you were younger but it now no longer there or is something else. Capture your feelings about this in your writing.

73. Last Person You Talked to: Write a quick little poem or story about the last person you spoke with.

74. Caught Red-Handed: Write about being caught doing something embarrassing.

75. Interview: Write a list of questions you have for someone you would like to interview, real or fictional.

76. Missing You: Write about someone you miss dearly.

77. Geography: Pick a state or country you’ve never visited. Write about why you would or would not like to visit that place.

geography writing prompt

78. Random Song: Turn on the radio, use the shuffle feature on your music collection or your favorite streaming music service. Write something inspired by the first song you hear.

79. Hero: Write a tribute to someone you regard as a hero.

80. Ode to Strangers: Go people watching and write an ode to a stranger you see on the street.

81. Advertisement: Advertisements are everywhere, aren’t they? Write using the slogan or line from an ad.

82. Book Inspired: Think of your favorite book. Now write a poem that sums up the entire story in 10 lines.

83. Magic : Imagine you have a touch of magic, and can make impossible things happen. What would you do?

84. Fanciest Pen: Get out your favorite pen, pencils, or even colored markers and write using them!

85. A Day in the Life: Write about your daily habits and routine.

86. Your Muse: Write about your muse – what do they look like? What does your muse do to inspire you?

87. Convenience Store : Write about an experience you’ve had at a gas station or convenience store.

88. Natural Wonders of the World: Choose one of the natural wonders of the world. Write about it.

89. Status Update: Write a poem using the words from your latest status update or a friend’s status update. If you don’t use sites like Facebook or Twitter, you can often search online for some funny ones to use as inspiration.

90. Green Thumb: Write about growing something.

91. Family Heirloom: Write about an object that’s been passed through the generations in your family.

92. Bug Catcher: Write about insects.

93. Potion: Write about a magic potion. What is it made of? What does it do? What is the antidote?

94. Swinging & Sliding: Write something inspired by a playground or treehouse.

95. Adjectives: Make a list of the first 5 adjectives that pop into your head. Use these 5 words in your story, poem, or journal entry.

96. Fairy Tales: Rewrite a fairy tale. Give it a new ending or make it modern or write as a poem.

97. Whispers: Write about someone who has to whisper a secret to someone else.

98. Smile: Write a poem about the things that make you smile.

99. Seasonal: Write about your favorite season.

100.  Normal: What does normal mean to you? Is it good or bad to be normal?

101. Recycle : Take something you’ve written in the past and rewrite it into a completely different piece.

102. Wardrobe: Write about a fashion model or what’s currently in your closet or drawers.

103. Secret Message : Write something with a secret message hidden in between the words. For example, you could make an acrostic poem using the last letters of the word or use secret code words in the poem.

104. Vacation: Write about a vacation you took.

105. Heat: Write about being overheated and sweltering.

106. Spellbinding: Write a magic spell.

107. Collection : Write about collecting something, such as salt shakers, sea shells, or stamps.

108. Taking Chances: Everyone takes a risk at some point in their life. Write about a time when you took a chance and what the result was.

109. Carnival: Write a poem or story or journal entry inspired by a carnival or street fair.

110. Country Mouse: Write about someone who grew up in the country visiting the city for the first time.

111: Questions: Write about questions you have for the universe. Optional: include an answer key.

112. Rushing: Write about moving quickly and doing things fast.

113. Staircase : Use a photo of a staircase or the stairs in your home or a building you love to inspire you.

114. Neighbors: Make up a story or poem about your next door neighbor.

115. Black and Blue: Write about a time you’ve been physically hurt.

116. All Saints: Choose a saint and create a poem about his or her life.

117. Beach Inspired: What’s not to write about the beach?

118. Shoes: What kind of shoes do you wear? Where do they lead your feet?

119. The Ex: Write a poem to someone who is estranged from you.

120. My Point of View: Write in the first person point of view.

121. Stray Animal: Think of the life of a stray cat or dog and write about that.

122. Stop and Stare : Create a poem or story about something you could watch forever.

123. Your Bed: Describe where you sleep each night.

124. Fireworks : Do they inspire you or do you not like the noise and commotion? Write about it.

125. Frozen: Write about a moment in your life you wish you could freeze and preserve.

126. Alone : Do you like to be alone or do you like having company?

127. Know-it-all: Write about something you are very knowledgeable about, for example a favorite hobby or passion of yours.

128. The Promise: Write about a promise you’ve made to someone. Did you keep that promise?

129. Commotion: Write about being overstimulated by a lot of chaos.

130. Read the News Today : Construct a poem or story using a news headline for your first line.

131. Macro: Write a description of an object close-up.

132. Transportation : Write about taking your favorite (or least-favorite) form of transportation.

133. Gadgets: If you could invent a gadget, what would it do? Are there any gadgets that make your life easier?

134: Bring on the Cheese: Write a tacky love poem that is so cheesy, it belongs on top of a pizza.

135. Ladders: Write a story or poem that uses ladders as a symbol.

136. Bizarre Holiday : There is a bizarre holiday for any date! Look up a holiday for today’s date and create a poem in greeting card fashion or write a short story about the holiday to celebrate.

137. Blog-o-sphere : Visit your favorite blog or your feedreader and craft a story, journal entry, or poem based on the latest blog post you read.

138. Mailbox: Create a poem, short story, or journal entry based on a recent item of mail you’ve received.

139. Sharing : Write about sharing something with someone else.

140. Cactus: Write from the viewpoint of a cactus. What’s it like to live in the desert or have a prickly personality?

141. It’s a Sign : Have you seen any interesting road signs lately?

142. Furniture: Write about a piece of furniture in your home.

143. Failure: Write about a time you failed at something. Did you try again or give up completely?

144. Mystical Creatures: Angels or other mystical creatures – use them as inspiration.

145. Flying: Write about having wings and what you would do.

146. Clear and Transparent: Write a poem about being able to see-through something.

147. Break the Silence : Record yourself speaking, then write down what you spoke and revise into a short story or poem.

148. Beat: Listen to music with a strong rhythm or listen to drum loops. Write something that goes along with the beat you feel and hear.

149. Color Palette: Search online for color palettes and be inspired to write by one you resonate with.

150. Magazine: Randomly flip to a page in a magazine and write using the first few words you see as an opening line.

151. The Grass is Greener : Write about switching the place with someone or going to where it seems the “grass is greener”.

152. Mind & Body: Write something that would motivate others to workout and exercise.

153. Shaping Up : Write something that makes a shape on the page…ie: a circle, a heart, a square, etc.

154. Twenty-One: Write about your 21st birthday.

155. Aromatherapy: Write about scents you just absolutely love.

156. Swish, Buzz, Pop : Create a poem that uses Onomatopoeia .

157. What Time is It? Write about the time of day it is right now. What are people doing? What do you usually do at this time each day?

158. Party Animal: Have you ever gone to a party you didn’t want to leave? Or do you hate parties? Write about it!

159: Miss Manners : Use the words “please” and “thank you” in your writing.

160. Cliche: Choose a common cliche, then write something that says the same thing but without using the catch phrase.

161. Eco-friendly : Write about going green or an environmental concern you have.

162. Missing You: Write about someone you miss.

163. Set it Free: Think of a time when you had to let someone or something go to be free…did they come back?

164: Left Out : Write about a time when you’ve felt left out or you’ve noticed someone else feeling as if they didn’t belong.

165. Suitcase: Write about packing for a trip or unpacking from when you arrive home.

poem about creative writing subject

166. Fantasy : Write about fairies, gnomes, elves, or other mythical creatures.

167. Give and Receive : Write about giving and receiving.

168. Baker’s Dozen: Imagine the scents and sights of a bakery and write.

169. Treehouse: Write about your own secret treehouse hideaway.

170.  Risk: Write about taking a gamble on something.

171. Acrostic : Choose a word and write an acrostic poem where every line starts with a letter from the word.

172. Crossword Puzzle: Open up the newspaper or find a crossword puzzle online and choose one of the clues to use as inspiration for your writing.

173. Silver Lining : Write about the good that happens in a bad situation.

174. Gloves: Write about a pair of gloves – what kind of gloves are they? Who wears them and why?

175. All that Glitters: Write about a shiny object.

176. Jealousy: Write with a theme of envy and jealousy.

Want to Download these prompts?  I am super excited to announce due to popular demand we now have an ad-free printable version of this list of writing prompts available for just $5. The  printable version  includes a PDF as a list AND print-ready prompt cards. {And all the design source files you could ever need to customize any way you would like!}

177. How Does Your Garden Grow? Write about a flower that grows in an unusual place.

178. Jury Duty : Write a short story or poem that takes place in a courtroom.

179. Gifts: Write about a gift you have given or received.

180. Running: Write about running away from someone or something.

181. Discovery: Think of something you’ve recently discovered and use it as inspiration.

182. Complain:  Write about your complaints about something.

183. Gratitude: Write a poem or journal entry that is all about things you are thankful for.

184. Chemistry: Choose an element and write a poem or story that uses that word in one of the lines.

185. Applause: Write about giving someone a standing ovation.

186. Old Endings Into New Beginnings:  Take an old poem, story, or journal entry of yours and use the last line and make it the first line of your writing today.

187. Longing: Write  about something you very much want to do.

188. I Am: Write a motivational poem or journal entry about positive traits that make you who you are.

189. Rainbow : What is at the end of a rainbow? Or, take a cue from Kermit the Frog, and ask yourself, why are there so many songs about rainbows?

end of the rainbow writing idea

190. Museum: Take some time to visit a nearby museum with your journal. Write about one of the pieces that speaks to you.

191. Cartoon: Think of your favorite cartoon or comic. Write a poem or story that takes place in that setting.

192. Copycat: Borrow a line from a famous public domain poem to craft your own.

193. From the Roof-tops:  Imagine you could stand on a rooftop and broadcast a message to everyone below – what would you say?

194. Time Travel: If there was a time period you could visit for a day, where would you go? Write about traveling back in time to that day.

195. Changing Places: Imagine living the day as someone else.

196. Neighborhood: Write about your favorite place in your neighborhood to visit and hang out at.

197. Pirates: Write about a pirate ship.

198. Interview : Write based on a recent interview you’ve read or seen on TV or heard on the radio.

199.  Hiding Spaces : Write about places you like to hide things at. What was a favorite hiding spot for you as a child playing hide-and-seek?

200. Extreme Makeover: Imagine how life might be different if you could change your hair color or clothing into something completely opposite from your current style.

201. Empathy: Write about your feelings of empathy or compassion for another person.

202. Opposites: Write a poem or story that ties in together two opposites.

203. Boredom: Write about being bored or make a list of different ways to entertain yourself.

204. Strength : Think of a time when you’ve been physically or emotionally strong and use that as inspiration.

205. Hunger: Write from the perspective of someone with no money to buy food.

206. Greed: Write about someone who always wants more – whether it be money, power, etc. etc.

207. Volcano: Write about an eruption of a volcano.

208. Video Inspiration : Go to Vimeo.com or YouTube.com and watch one of the videos featured on the homepage. Write something based on what you watch.

209. Sneeze: Write about things that make you sneeze.

210. Footsteps on the Moon:  Write about the possibility of life in outer-space.

211: Star-crossed: Write a short modern version of the story of Romeo and Juliet or think of real-life examples of lovers who are not allowed to be together to use as inspiration for your writing.

212. Font-tastic: Choose a unique font and type out a poem, story or journal entry using that font.

213. Schedule: Take a look at your calendar and use the schedule for inspiration in writing.

214. Grandparents: Write about a moment in your grandparent’s life.

215. Collage: Go through a magazine and cut out words that grab your attention. Use these words to construct a poem or as a story starter or inspiration for your journal.

216. Oh so Lonely: Write a poem about what you do when you are alone – do you feel lonely or do you enjoy your own company?

217. Waterfall: Think of a waterfall you’ve seen in person or spend some time browsing photos of waterfalls online. Write about the movement, flow, and energy.

218. First Kiss: Write about your first kiss.

219. So Ironic: Write about an ironic situation you’ve been in throughout your life.

220. Limerick: Write a limerick today.

221. Grocery Shopping: Write about an experience at the grocery store.

daily writing prompt ideas

222. Fashion : Go through a fashion magazine or browse fashion websites online and write about a style you love.

223. So Close: Write about coming close to reaching a goal.

224. Drinks on Me: Write a poem or short story that takes place at a bar.

225. Online Friends: Write an ode to someone online you’ve met and become friends with.

226. Admiration: Is there someone you admire? Write about those feelings.

227. Trash Day: Write from the perspective of a garbage collector.

228. Mailbox: Open your mailbox and write something inspired by one of the pieces of mail you received.

229. Fresh & Clean: Write about how you feel after you take a shower.

230. Energized: Write about how you feel when you’re either at a high or low energy level for the day.

231. Rhyme & No Reason: Make up a silly rhyming poem using made up words.

232. Tech Support: Use computers or a conversation with tech support you’ve had as inspiration.

233. Hotel: Write from the perspective of someone who works at a hotel or staying at a hotel.

234. Underwater: Write about sea creatures and under water life. What’s under the surface of the ocean? What adventures might be waiting?

underwater life picture

235. Breathing: Take a few minutes to do some deep breathing relaxation techniques. Once your mind is clear, just write the first few things that you think of.

236. Liar, Liar: Make up a poem or story of complete lies about yourself or someone else.

237. Obituaries: Look at the recent obituaries online or in the newspaper and imagine the life of someone and write about that person.

238. Pocket: Rummage through your pockets and write about what you keep or find in your pockets.

239. Cinquain: Write a cinquain poem, which consists of 5 lines that do not rhyme.

240. Alphabetical: Write a poem that has every letter of the alphabet in it.

241.  Comedy Club: Write something inspired by a comedian.

242. Cheater: Write about someone who is unfaithful.

243. Sestina: Give a try to writing a sestina poem.

244. Fight: Write about witnessing two people get in an argument with each other.

245. Social Network : Visit your favorite Social Networking website (ie: Facebook, Pinterest, Google, Twitter, etc.) and write a about a post you see there.

246. Peaceful: Write about something peaceful and serene.

247. In the Clouds: Go cloud watching for the day and write about what you imagine in the clouds.

248. At the Park: Take some time to sit on a park bench and write about the sights, scenes, and senses and emotions you experience.

249. Sonnet: Write a sonnet today.

250. Should, Would, And Could: Write a poem or story using the words should, would, and could.

251. How to: Write directions on how to do something.

252. Alliteration: Use alliteration in your poem or in a sentence in a story.

253. Poker Face: Write about playing a card game.

254. Timer: Set a timer for 5 minutes and just write. Don’t worry about it making sense or being perfect.

255. Dance: Write about a dancer or a time you remember dancing.

256. Write for a Cause: Write a poem or essay that raises awareness for a cause you support.

257. Magic : Write about a magician or magic trick.

258. Out of the Box: Imagine finding a box. Write about opening it and what’s inside.

259. Under the Influence: What is something has impacted you positively in your life?

260. Forgotten Toy : Write from the perspective a forgotten or lost toy.

261. Rocks and Gems: Write about a rock or gemstone meaning.

262. Remote Control: Imagine you can fast forward and rewind your life with a remote control.

263. Symbolism: Think of objects, animals, etc. that have symbolic meaning to you. Write about it.

264. Light at the End of the Tunnel: Write about a time when you saw hope when it seemed like a hopeless situation.

265. Smoke and Fire : “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.” Use this saying as inspiration to write!

266. Railroad: Write about a train and its cargo or passengers.

poem about creative writing subject

267. Clipboard: Write about words you imagine on an office clipboard.

268. Shipwrecked: Write about being stranded somewhere – an island, a bus stop, etc.

269. Quotable: Use a popular quote from a speaker and use it as inspiration for your writing.

270. Mind   Map it Out: Create a mind map of words, phrases, and ideas that pop into your head or spend some time browsing the many mind maps online. Write a poem, story, or journal entry inspired by the mind map.

271. Patterns : Write about repeating patterns that occur in life.

272. Scrapbook : Write about finding a scrapbook and the memories it contains.

273. Cure: Write about finding a cure for an illness.

274. Email Subject Lines: Read your email today and look for subject lines that may be good starters for writing inspiration.

275. Wishful Thinking: Write about a wish you have.

276. Doodle : Spend some time today doodling for about 5-10 minutes. Write about the thoughts you had while doodling or create something inspired by your finished doodle.

277. Chalkboard: Imagine you are in a classroom. What does it say on the chalkboard?

278. Sticky: Imagine a situation that’s very sticky, maybe even covered in maple syrup, tape or glue. Write about it!

279. Flashlight : Imagine going somewhere very dark with only a flashlight to guide you.

280. A Far Away Place : Envision yourself traveling to a fictional place, what do you experience in your imaginary journey?

281. On the Farm : Write about being in a country or rural setting.

282. Promise to Yourself: Write about a promise you want to make to yourself and keep.

283. Brick Wall : Write a poem that is about a brick wall – whether literal or figurative.

284. Making a Choice: Write about a time when you had to make a difficult choice.

285.  Repeat: Write about a time when you’ve had to repeat yourself or a time when it felt like no one was listening.

286. Outcast : Write about someone who is not accepted by their peers. (for example, the Ugly Ducking)

287. Scary Monsters: Write about a scary (or not-so-scary) monster in your closet or under the bed.

288. Sacrifice: Write about something you’ve sacrificed doing to do something else or help another person.

289. Imperfection: Create a poem that highlights the beauty in being flawed.

290. Birthday Poem: Write a poem inspired by birthdays.

291. Title First : Make a list of potential poem or story titles and choose one to write from.

292. Job Interview : Write about going on a job interview.

293. Get Well : Write a poem that will help someone who is sick feel better quick!

294. Lost in the Crowd: Write about feeling lost in the crowd.

295. Apple a Day: Write about a health topic that interests you.

296. Cravings: Write about craving something.

297. Phobia: Research some common phobias, choose one, and write about it.

298. In the Moment: Write about living in the present moment.

299. Concrete : Write about walking down a sidewalk and what you see and experience.

300. Battle: Write about an epic battle, whether real, fictional or figurative.

301. This Old House : Write about an old house that is abandoned or being renovated.

302. Clutter: Is there a cluttered spot in your home? Go through some of that clutter today and write about what you find or the process of organizing.

303. Go Fly a Kite: Write about flying a kite.

304. On the TV: Flip to a random TV channel and write about the first thing that comes on – even if it is an infomercial!

305. Fruit: Write an ode to your favorite fruit.

306. Long Distance Love: Write about a couple that is separated by distance.

307. Glasses: Write about a pair of eyeglasses or someone wearing glasses.

308. Robotic : Write about a robot.

309. Cute as a Button: Write about something you think is just adorable.

310. Movie Conversation: Use a memorable conversation from a favorite movie to inspire your writing.

311. Easy-Peasy : Write  about doing something effortlessly.

312. Idiom: Choose from a list of idioms one that speaks to you and create a poem around that saying or phrase. (Ie: It is raining cats and dogs)

313. Playground: Whether it is the swings or the sandbox or the sliding boards, write about your memories of being on a playground.

314. Romance: Write about romantic things partners can do for each other.

315. Rock Star: Imagine you are a famous rock star. Write about the experience.

rock star life

316. Come to Life: Imagine ordinary objects have come to life. Write about what they do and say.

317. Airplane: Write about meeting someone on an airplane and a conversation you might have.

318. Health & Beauty: Take some time to peruse your medicine cabinet or the health and beauty aisles at a local store. Write a poem, short story, or journal entry inspired by a product label.

319. Determination: Write about not giving up.

320. Instrumental Inspiration: Listen to some instrumental music and write a poem that matches the mood, beat, and style of the music.

321. Wait Your Turn: Write about having to wait in line.

322. Personality Type : Do you know your personality type? (There are many free quizzes online) – write about what type of personality traits you have.

323. Decade: Choose a favorite decade and write about it. (IE: 1980’s or 1950’s for example)

324. I Believe: Write your personal credo of things you believe in.

325. Lost and Found: Write about a lost object.

326. Say it: Write a poem or story that uses dialogue between two people.

327. The Unsent Letter: Write about a letter that never made it to its recipient.

328. The Windows of the Soul: Write a poem about the story that is told through someone’s eyes.

329. Trial and Error: Write about something you learned the hard way.

330. Escape : Write about where you like to go to escape from it all.

331. What’s Cooking: Write something inspired a favorite food or recipe.

332. Records : Go through your file box and pull out old receipts or records…write something inspired by what you find!

333. Banking: Write about visiting the bank.

334. Sweet Talk: Write about trying to convince someone of something.

335. Serendipity: Write about something that happened by chance in a positive way.

336. Distractions: Write about how it feels when you can’t focus.

337. Corporation: Write about big business.

338. Word of the Day: Go to a dictionary website that has a word of the day and use it in a poem, story or journal entry you write.

339. Pick Me Up:  What do you do when you need a pick me up?

340. Unfinished: Write about a project you started but never completed.

341. Forgiveness: Write about a time when someone forgave you or you forgave someone.

342. Weakness: Write about your greatest weakness.

343. Starting: Write about starting a project.

344. Mechanical: Think of gears, moving parts, machines.

345. Random Act of Kindness : Write about a random act of kindness you’ve done for someone or someone has done for you, no matter how small or insignificant it may have seemed.

346. Underground: Imagine living in a home underground and use that as inspiration for writing.

347. Classic Rock: Pick a classic rock love ballad and rewrite it into a story or poem with a similar theme.

348. Night Owl : Write about staying up late at night.

349. Magnetic : Write about attraction to something or someone.

350. Teamwork: Write about working with a team towards a common goal.

351. Roller-coaster : Write about the ups and downs in life.

352. Motivational Poster: Look at some motivational posters online and write a poem or journal entry inspired by your favorite one.

353. Games: Write about the games people play – figuratively or literally.

chess game story starter

354. Turning Point: Write about a point in life where things turned for the better or worse.

355. Spellbound: Write about a witch’s spell.

356. Anniversary: Write about the anniversary of a special date.

357. Gamble:  Be inspired by a casino or lottery ticket.

358. Picnic: Write about going on a picnic.

359. Garage: Write about some random item you might find in a garage.

360. Review: Review your week, month, or year in a journal entry or poem format.

361. Detective: Write about a detective searching for clues or solving a mystery.

362. Camera: Take your camera for a walk and write based on one of the photographs you take.

363. Visiting : Write about visiting a family member or friend.

364. Trust: Write about putting trust in someone.

365. Congratulations : Did you write a poem, short story, or journal entry every day for a whole year? Write about what you’ve learned and celebrate your achievement!

We hope you enjoy these creative writing prompts! And of course, if you write anything using these prompts, we’d love to know about it! Tell us how you’ll use these everyday creative writing prompts in the comments section below!

And of course, if you’d like the printable ad-free version of these prompts to reference again and again or to use in your classroom, you can find them at our Etsy shop !

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Chelle Stein wrote her first embarrassingly bad novel at the age of 14 and hasn't stopped writing since. As the founder of ThinkWritten, she enjoys encouraging writers and creatives of all types.

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191 comments.

I have been on a reading binge since being on vacation from school. By rereading Little House, Anne of Green Gables, and Little Women among others, one wonders about writing a book. I stumbled across this while looking up unit supplements for my kiddos, and thought, hey, write a page a day and see what happens! Thank you for this collection of prompts! I’ve linked back to this page several times so others can try their hand at writing. Thank you again!

The Flicker, The Teeth, and A Warehouse in the Dark (the warehouse prompt)

I am in a large abandoned warehouse with a flickering light The only light in the whole room. It flickered leaving me in temporal darkness It flickered again and as it was dark I swore I saw something glowing It looked like glowing teeth The lights return and I see nothing Flickers on Flickers off I see the teeth closer Flickers on I see nothing Flickers off The teeth so close Flickers on An empty warehouse Flickers off The glowing teeth are inchings away bright red blood drips from their tips Flickers on Panic rises in my chest but nothing is there Turns off The mouth of bloody teeth is before my eyes I wait for the light to flicker back on I wait in complete darkness I wait And wait And wait The teeth open wide I try to scream by the darkness swallows it A hear the crunch of my bones I see my blood pore down my chest But I wait in darkness for the pain I wait And wait And wait The mouth of teeth devours my lower half I wait for pain and death I wait And wait And wait The light flickers on I see no monster Only my morphed body And blood And blood And blood And so much blood The light flickers off The monster eats my arm Flickers on I wait for pain Flickers off I watch as the creature eats my limbs Flickers on I wait for death Flickers off Slowly the teeth eat my head All I see is dark I wait for it to flicker on Where is the warehouse light? Where is the only light in the room? Where is the flicker? Where am I? Where are the bloody teeth? I wait for the light to come back And wait And wait And wait And wait And wait And wait And wait in eternal darkness

WOW. Thank you!

This is such a helpful tool! I’ve learned a lot about my self through picking a random prompt and writing the first thing that comes to mind. I’d love to see a follow up list of possible! Definitely a recomended sight!

I agree. Very helpful.

I am new at the blogging game. You have provided some wonderful ideas for blog posts. Great ideas just to get used to writing every day. Thanks

This list is really impressive and useful for those of us who are looking for good topics to blog about. Thanks!

Thank you! That somes in handy

Very nice list. Thanks for compiling and posting it. It’s not only good for bloggers, but poets, as well.

yess im using it for my new years resolution, which is to write a poem daily!

Wow, thanks so much for all these wonderful prompts! They are lots of fun and very helpful. I love how you’ve provided 365 of them–A prompt for every day of the year! 🙂

Not if it’s a leap year…

Haha. Yea. This is great though all the same.. ;-;

Lol actually there’s 364 days in a year and 365 in a leap year so……yeah

are you fucking stupid

There are actually 366 days in a leap year so… yeah

I use this for my homeschooling-I love it! Thank you so much!! This is a wonderful list. So creative! 🙂 🙂

Thanks! I’m preparing for writing every day next year and this will come in really handy. It’s just 364 writing prompts though. 164 is missing. 😉

MiMschi is wrong 164 is there i looked

I think they meant that as a joke, 164 is called left out…

Good it is useful

no its not you nonce

You Don’t Love Me, Damn You

things left unsaid

and then some

anger strangles the baby

in its crib,

flowers wilt,

rivers dry up

harsh words clatter upon the day,

echo unfortunately

till silence smothers

in its embrace

you wish you could take it back

what’s done is done

never to be undone

though things move on

part of you remains

locked in the middle of protesting

one last thing,

mouth open,

no words emerging

why must you be misunderstood?

why must everything you say

no way of straightening things out

gestures halted mid-air

an accusatory finger

shoulders locked

in sardonic shrug

dishes smash on the floor

spray of fragments

frozen mid-air

slam the door

it doesn’t open

but in spite of yourself

you turn and look

one last time…..

(Greg Cameron, Poem, Surrey, B.C., Canada)

Love these. Thank you!

This is really amazingly deep. I love it so much. You have so much talent!!

Thanks SOOO much for the prompts but I have another suggestion!

A Recipe for disaster- write a recipe for a disastrous camping trip…

that one sounds awesome.

Haha. Reminds me of the old twin’s show.. what was it.. where the two girls switch places when they meet at camp?

Pretty sure I know what you’re talking about. The Parent Trap, right? Never seen the whole movie, but it seems funny.

and also #309, everyone should have thought of a hamster “write” away XD!

May I have permission to use this list at my next Ozarks Chapter of the American Christian Writers meeting. Thank you for consideration.

Hi Leah, please send some more info here: https://thinkwritten.com/contact

i am using it for my homeschooling and i love it

i am using it for my homeschooling

where is prompt 165?

sorry I meant 164, my mistake.

well kay, there is a 164 AND 165. So your head is clearly ????????????

What I like most about these is how you can combine them and get really weird ideas. For example, empathy from the rooftops: what if you shouted something positive in public every day – or if everyone did so? It might be fun to try, and then write a diary about it. Online time travel: if people could live virtually in incredibly well=constructed versions of different time periods, what would the effects be on today’s society? Could it change our language or customs?

It would be cool if we could have goggles that showed places during a certain time period. Like Seattle 1989. And you could buy special plugins, like specific people you want to hang out with, famous or non.

That one about online time travel is crazy brilliant!!! And highly thought-provoking.

It is amazing what creative writing could do to you. Daily prompts have proven to be very inspiring and overtime writers develop their own style of writing depending on how passionate they are about it. I would love to write about all 3, online, space, and time travel. cheers! and Don’t stop writing!

I belong to a writing club. We seem to have a lot of prompts to use. I love stories having to do with rain. Would you join me. I am jim

Wow! Inspiration right here.

May I use this list for a speech at my Ozarks Chapter of the American Christian Writers?

Love the inspiration

THANK YOU. THAT IS ALL I HAVE TO SAY IS THANK YOU.

What about a leap year? You’re missing one topic.

Wonderful! I love writing and these prompts are very helpful. Thank you very much! ♥

It’s been really useful in getting me to write again! Thank you very much!

I really love the list of writing ideas you have compiled here. I will be using it and others to get myself back into writing every single day if I can be away with it. Also, I have noticed a few problems with this list. One is a repeat topic. Those are numbers 76 and 162. And you skipped a number. And have only 364 days of writing. Still through! All these ideas are absolutely amazing and awesome ideas! I commend you for putting it all together in an easy to read format too. Thank you so very much.

I think we have the list all fixed now, but thanks for catching a couple of early mistakes!

Thank you for helping me edit Lora! I don’t always have a second pair of eyes + appreciated this to fix + update the post! I always say my readers are my best editors. 🙂

these days get brighter, mine gets darker, why does it has to be me , why not life.

Mirror, Mirror: What if you mirror started talking to you?

u r awesome man

Wonderful compilation of ideas! I will send your blog along to my many Creative Writing students. I’m enjoying reading your posts.

wow!! great tips! but how long did it take you to write that? its a lot of words!! lol great stuff though..

This is so cool! I love these prompts and will definitely recommend some to my teacher!!

The promise “I made a promise with my best friend, I said i’d never break, Our personalities really did blend, But then I lied awake, The people disappearing, Her gaze was always leering. I never thought she was serious, I always took it as a joke, But it really made me curious, When she was digging around that oak, My best friend is a serial killer, And i knew the truth, My life turned into a thriller, And eating at me took away my youth, I couldn’t take it any long living with this weight, To the police I went to tell my tale, Looking at me with eyes of hate, she smiled and said, without her I would fail. Now i sit in the prison cell, Waiting for my call My friend across the room smiling, my eyes begin to swell, My neck snapping on the, from my sides my hands fall

Although my writing style is dark, that’s the way I enjoy writing, and thank you for this list, even though I didn’t do one per day, scrolling through I was able to see keywords that formed ideas in my mind

I love this <3 It's amazing :))

These are really nice I absolutely love them.

This is very helpful and I’ve been finding a way to help improve my creative writing!!! Thank you very much!

You are such a life developer, who can virtually transform a life busy with unnecessary activities humans are posted to through internet. And who can restore the appetite of people to purchase pen and paper which have considered the last commodity in the market at the expense of that great vampire ‘social media’ that left both old and young paralyzed. Thanks to the proponent of this great idea.

These are great. The Closed door one gives me a great idea for a new story! Thank you so much!

man what the fuck is this shit! i was looking for short story writing prompts and I get stuck with shit like “write about the weather outside”. Damn this shit is disappointing.

Hi John, the weather might seem boring, but there are a lot of ways you can springboard from that – maybe you write a story about a character who despises the sunshine or melts if they get rained on or they live in a underground tunnel and the house gets flooded…You can also use it as an exercise in developing more descriptive writing that shows, not tells for the scenes in your story. Writing about the weather seems “easy and boring” but seriously challenge yourself to write about it in a way that makes it interesting – it is not so easy to avoid the cliches as you might think!

I LOVE IT SO MUCH i do not know why but my kids, they will just like come on this website every time it is time to have a little bit of video games! XD

The weather outside that day was dark.

It was a perfectly reasonable sort of darkness. The kind of darkness you might get if you wake up an hour before sunrise. But it was late in the morning.

He had to make sure of that. He checked his alarm clock, his microwave oven clock, and his cell phone.

The sun was supposed to be out. But the moonlit sky was starlit and clear.

And as he looked outside again, he saw that people were out, going about their business, as if none of this really mattered at all.

What was he missing here?

(There. Now you have a short story writing prompt..)

You know what “John” i think this website is great so fuck you.

yeah you tell him john

It depends on how you view it. That one topic for instance has given me a beautiful story telling. I am currently about to round up with it and trust me the feedback has been amazing.

That is great! I’m glad it helped inspire you!

Dude kids go on here so stop swearing “John”

Maybe you need to work on improving the quality of your writing. Your use of expletives is totally uncalled for. I see nothing wrong with “writing about the weather outside”. In fact, this is a great topic and can lead to awesome discussions.

Very useful indeed. Thank u

i think this is a good prompted

I think it’s awesome, I looked for inspiration, I found inspiration, thank you

well! i fall in love with all these ideas! i loved this page! thanks for sharing these amazing ideas!

Great stuff mat Keep up the good work

I LOVE THIS SO MUCH IT IS VERY HELPFUL BUT FOR A SUGGESTION YOU COULD DO DIARY STUFF MAYBE

When I read your comment, I thought you said “DAIRY,” not “DIARY.”

So… why not both? Write something based on a dairy farmer’s diary. Or… a dairy COW’S diary. Tell their stories, their private dreams. Or hidden shame…

That’s the way to think + use this list 🙂

Great idea!

Awesome list! Thank you!

Thanks so much! I’ve always been told I’m a great writer and should publish. I haven’t done a lot of leisure writing because I’m afraid I might realize I’m NOT a good writer. My therapist wants me to write more and these prompts are perfect!

This is fun i will keep doing this no matter what every year. I can’t stop writing either. Thanks for making this, it is very fun.

This helps so much! love these ideas

Can this website give me a write on the following topic. –

Imagine that the scientists could replace the human brains with computers or invent the computers with human feelings. What do you think would happen?Would the world become a better place to live in???

I’ve been looking for prompts to work through my creative art/collage journal for 2017…and love the ones you offer here….LOVE THEM! I like that they are more than just one word and give me something to think about before I start creating each day as a warm up to what is ahead.

I hope don’t mind, but I shared them on both Instagram and my FaceBook page in hopes to get my artist/creative friends to follow along with me in creating each day. I would like to include a link to your page in a near future blog post about my creative journal.

Thank you for posting and sharing you prompts…I’m excited to get started!

I’m on number 43 and I’ve already discovered a whole bunch about myself! These prompts are amazing and I can’t wait for the next 322 of them. I’ve recommended this to several of my friends. Totally worth several notebooks chock full of prompts and a years worth of writing 🙂

Very inspiring….

Hello! Is it alright if I add some of these to a little book I’m making for my Grandmother? She hasn’t opened a computer in her life but I know these prompts would do her a world of good. I believe in the importance of asking permission to use the creative property of another person 🙂 Cheers!

Hi Maxx, of course you may share with your grandmother – the only thing we would worry about is if you were to publish them for monetary gain. Enjoy! 🙂

This is really helpful. I’m glad I saw it first. ♥

OMG!! I’ve never been in this website before!!

Thank u so much this was so helpful. Idk how u came up with all thoughts prompts. It was very helpful. Thank u again.

For the first time in a long time it finally felt like I knew was going to happen next. I was gazing into her eyes and she was gazing back. I remember it like it was just yesterday, when she was still the one for me but never forgave me. I miss the sweet sound of her laughter and now all i hear are friends. I have tried to go back and apologize to her just to see if the answer will change but even I know that it will never change because I will never be enough for her. But if she ever decides that she wants me back she can have me because a life without love is one not worth living.

gooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooood

can u give me one using the prompt “normal”

Thanks for this!!!!! Will definitely help me in learning to tap into my creative writing genius 🙂

Thanks, this helped me a lot!

u have a typo!!!! 364

Thanks for pointing out, got it fixed 🙂 Sometimes my brain goes faster than the computer. 🙂

I wrote this, tell me what you think; prompt #4-dancing You see her tapping her toes, always listening to music. Although she doesn’t like the music, what she doesn’t know yet is it will be stuck in her head for the next year. She’s as graceful as a butterfly yet as strong as a fighter. Many only see a pretty face yet those close enough to the fire know the passion burning deep inside of her. At home she’s quiet, always in her room yet making loud noises through the floorboards. Her parents know what she’s up to but her little brothers don’t quite understand yet. All they know is that when she goes up there she’s listening to music and soon she will play it for the whole neighborhood to hear. They don’t know that she’s practicing, practicing for the most important day of the year. The one she’s been waiting for since she’s been a little girl. Tapping her toes at the table only stops when her parents beg her to rest. Even in her dreams she on stage, dancing like a swan. Yet deep down she’s scared of the failure that she will feel if this one day goes a bit to south. Tapping her toes to the beat of her music gives her a bit of pip in her pep when she walks down the halls. No one quite understands the stress she’s going through. Through her smile she’s worries, scared that one misstep might end it all for her. But she won’t let anyone see that she’s nervous. She’s used to getting bruises, she falls on the ground but always gets back up. Because she’s a dancer, the show must go on.

Brilliant. Loved it.

Amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I’m working on a site in Danish about writing and I would love to translate these awesome prompts into Danish and use it on the site. Would that be OK? I’ll credit with links of course!

Hi Camilla, you cannot copy + post these on your site, but feel free to link to the article – our site is compatible with Google translate 🙂

Hi Camilla, this list cannot be republished, even if translated into another language. However, if you would like to link to our website that would be great, your readers are able to translate it into any language if they use a web browser such as Google Chrome.

My goal is to write all of these prompts before 2018

This is amazing! I am writing for fun and this is a list of amazing prompts!

Ha, Ha . I see what you did , #164 was missing and now it say write about being left out .

Thanks a ton !!!

This link has been really helpful for my blog, loved the ideas.

Thanks for not publishing my email address

You are welcome! We never publish email addresses. If you’d like to learn more about how we collect and use information you may provide us with on this website, you can read more on our privacy policy page. Hope that helps! https://thinkwritten.com/privacy/

I have another suggestion, What about “The Secret Journey to the Unknown”. I reckon it’s awesome!

I was wondering if you could please send new ideas to me, much appreciated thanks.

I love all of these so much and i try to write referring to these at least once everyday thank you so much for these!

Trust, It is a beautiful thing. You give it to others, For them to protect. They can keep it forever, Or they can destroy it.

Wow what a treasure! Am glad I have found the right place to begging my writing journey.Thanks guys

Super awesome! Thanks so much for this collection of writing prompts!!

Today is the last day of the year 2017. I’m proud to say that I was able to complete this challenge. Thank you for the inspiring prompts! 🙂

That is awesome! We might just have to think of some new ones!!

how about one with sports like the NBA

I thought my life was over when I couldn’t access this for a couple weeks. These prompts are excellent. I write two page short stories on one every day. I hope you guys never take down this site but I’m printing these for insurance because it truly was devastating. I’m very emotionally attached to this list. Thank you so much for sharing.

Yes, we did have a small glitch in our hosting services for a few days! Fortunately, it was only temporary and unexpected! {Though I’m sure it did feel like 2 weeks!} Good to hear you are using the prompts!

Very nice article. Very useful one for improving writing skills

Thank you Sid! Glad it is useful for you!

Oh my god.. This is something a different, thought provoking and a yardstick to those who cultivated passion on writing, like me, beginners. Wishes for this website. I really wanted to try this 365 days of writing. Thanks in tons.

Glad you find it helpful! I hope it keeps you inspired to keep growing as a writer!

i love writing too! i am writing a book and this website inspired me too!

i have been writing lots of things and am getting A + on writing

thxs for your time with the web

i am making a epic book. it is because of this website. you really help. i will share a link of my book once i am done with it to your awesome cool really helpful website! thank you for your time

That is great to hear Christopher! Would love to see some of your work when you are ready to share! 🙂

WOOOOOOOOW BEST SITE!

I’m going to write few marvelous essays based on ideas in your impressive list. Thanks!

Just to tell some people that 165 or 164 is not missing because some people probably can’t see but just to let u know that 164 is a prompt called “Left Out”

Dang. The second idea about writing about what it feels like to love someone who doesn’t love you back, I wrote something like that BEFORE I found this website.

You can always try writing it again, maybe from the other person’s perspective this time? That is the beauty of the open-ended writing prompts – you can always interpret them in a way to push and challenge you as a writer!

Thank you for these prompts! I enjoyed looking through them and writing them! They gave me great ideas and inspired me so much.

This is my favorite website to find inspiration to write. I had run out of ideas and i had a huge writers block but this made it all go away. Here’s something i wrote:

He is a mess She is beautiful He has tears streaming down his face She glides across the room as if it were her kingdom And she’s The reigning queen He’s curled up in a ball In the corner of the room He looks at me I wonder what he thinks I can’t take my eyes off her The way she subtly smiles when she realizes Someone is looking She seems to be happy all the time But I can see through the smile It’s my first time noticing It’s not complete That was the first time I wanted to say hi But I thought Why would he look at me? The nerd with all the answers in her head All the books in her hands And Her sleeves full of hearts She looked at me From the corner of her eye She saw me looking The boy with the tear stains She saw me His tears were no longer streaming He had finally stood up Tall and handsome As he is Eyes Bluer than the blue jay that sat outside my bedroom window She had opened a book and started reading She hadn’t changed pages for a while Safe to assume She was distracted She looked up and Without knowing I was in front of her “Hi” Her brown eyes Stared in to my soul Erased the memory of why the tears Were streaming in the first place “Hi”

I love it Cynthia, thank you for sharing and glad that it inspired you to keep writing! 🙂

Thank you for so many amazing ideas! I love the sound of mirror, mirror!

Glad you found it inspiring Ar!

read the whole thing and didn’t find anything I’d enjoy writing 🙁

What kinds of things do you like to write? We have a whole collection of additional writing prompts lists here. Sometimes challenging yourself to write something you don’t like all in its own can be a good exercise for writing. Hope that helps!

These are ingenious!

I love these prompts! They’re inspiring! I’ve chosen to challenge myself by using one of these prompts every day of this 2019 year. I posted my writings for the first prompt on my Tumblr and Facebook pages with the prompt and a link back to this article- I hope that’s alright. If not, I can take it down, or I would love to discuss a way I could continue to do this. I hope more people can see and use these prompts because I have already found joy in using the first one.

Hi Elizabeth! Glad you are enjoying the prompts! You can definitely post what you write with these prompts as long as you do not copy the entire list or claim them as your own. Linking back to our website or this post will help others find the prompts so they too can use them for writing! If you have any questions feel free to contact us anytime using our contact form. Thanks!

Amazing original prompts Thank you so much!

Good list, but you’re not supposed to mistake it’s for its. Not on a website for writers, of all places!

I appreciate your comment, especially because after triple checking the article AND having a few grammar-police personality type friends do the same we could not find any typos. All of the instances of its and it’s are the correct usage.

However, one thing we did remember is that it is very easy for the person reading to accidentally misunderstand and not interpret it the way as the writer intended.

To clarify when we should use it’s vs. its:

We use it’s when we intend the meaning as the contraction. This is a shortened way of writing it is . We use its without an apostrophe when we use it as a possessive noun. Any instances you may note here are correct for their intended meaning.

Some examples:

Prompt #141 It’s a Sign : In this case we intend it to be interpreted as IT IS a Sign , where the usage is a contraction.

Prompt #7 The Rocket Ship : In this case we intend it to be interpreted as the possessive form.

I hope that helps clear up any possible confusion for you!

Thank you soooo much! That helped me a lot!

You’re welcome Keira! Glad you enjoyed our list of writing ideas!

It is so rich in bright and thought-provoking ideas. Thank you so much. Get inspired to have more, please

Thanks for this. I love to write things like this. Some of these though, weren’t as interesting as I wanted it to be, not saying that they aren’t interesting. I like the help you’ve added in, such as being led into a dark room with only a flashlight to help so it gets us started. Great job!

Thanks Maya, I’m glad you like the prompts. Sometimes the prompts that seem boring are the best ones to help you practice your skills as a writer to make them interesting topics. Some of the best writers can make the most mundane topics fun!

Nice….I don’t think I’ll ever lack something to write on … I so appreciate your ideas ..,they are great

Thank you, glad you enjoyed them!

Thank you for providing these writing prompts! They are great!

Thank You so much, these are amazing to start of with to get the creative juices flowing

Thank you very much

Sweet! Thank you so much! I plan to use some of these for some creative writing on CourageousChristianFather.com

I’m glad they inspired you Steve! I always love seeing what everyone writes with these prompts – I really enjoyed your post about the cookie ad jingle! 🙂

Thanks so much for this list. I needed something to kickstart my writing. This is exactly what I’ve been looking for! I just wrote #1. WooHoo!!

Thank you for your list. This is great!

I write feature articles for our church library’s monthly newsletter. Perusing this list has helped me come up with a couple dozen ideas to consider for future issues! Thanks much for putting this together – it is being used beyond the scope of what you intended, I think!

That’s wonderful Debbie! There are so many ways to apply these prompts to any sort of project – thank you for sharing how you are using them!

Thanks for your prompts, an idea I have for a prompt is write a story based on your favorite story for example I’m writing a fantasy book based on the game dungeons and dragons…

i guss its ok

cgv hbvkd vjvhsvhivhcickbcjh

Just needed to ask: I’d like to think these prompts are for free writing with no pauses? But, does one edit and polish the piece after that? I keep reading about writing every day…like brain dumping. But, there is never a mention of what one does with the piece after that??

This article has been written with sheer intelligence. Such 365 creative writing prompts has been written here. This article is worth marking as Good. I like how you have researched and presented these exact points so clearly.

Thank you for this list! You’ve inspired me to take up the challenge, though I haven’t written anything in years!

I have even created a blog to post my ideas, and keep myself accountable. I hope this is okay, I will credit, and provide a link back to this page on each post. https://thefishhavegotitright.blogspot.com/

I love it Ariadne, I’ll definitely come check out your site! Keep at it!

This is really Helpful thanks I love it😊

I never knew how much I had to write about. This should definitely keep me busy! Thank you so much for the list.

Hi! I saw a note saying this had been updated for 2020. I was curious if there are plans to update it for 2021. If so, when would the 2021-updated list become available?

Hi Gabrielle, I am not sure when we will next update this list, but feel free to check out some of our other writing prompts lists if you’ve exhausted this one! Writing Prompts for Kids {which is for grown-ups too!} and Poetry Writing Prompts are two great ones to check out. Hope that helps!

Loved this a lot! I would like to ask permission for using these prompts for my poetry and stories page on Instagram. Kindly let me know if I can use these and let my followers write on them too.

Hi, Piyusha, I’m just a user of the site like you, so I’m not “official”. But if you hit CTRL + F in your browser, that should open the “Find” dialog. Search on “Camilla”, and that will take you to a post and response concerning your request. Have a great and productive writing day. K. B. Tidwell

very informative thank you

I have always had problems finding something to write about. My problem is solved🥰 Thank you

I love this

Oh great. Good for everyone who enjoys picking the pen and writing something readable

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poem about creative writing subject

Craft or Commodity? The ‘Paradox’ of High School Creative Writing Competitions

By propelling winners to elite colleges and empowering them to pursue writing, these competitions can change the course of students’ lives. But the pressure to win can also stunt young writers’ growth and complicate their relationship with their craft and themselves.

One story of his — which went on to win a national award for flash fiction — begins as a dispassionate description of household events, but turns by the end into a heart-wrenching account of a child dealing with the aftermath of his parents’ divorce. In writing it, Heiser-Cerrato says he was inspired by the struggles of friends who had experienced divorce.

He also wrote it to enter into national creative writing competitions.

In other disciplines, high schoolers compete in elite programs that can serve as pipelines to top colleges. Students interested in STEM fields often strive to qualify for the International Science and Engineering Fair, while those hoping to go into law and politics can apply for the U.S. Senate Youth Program or compete in the national championships for speech and debate.

For students like Heiser-Cerrato, a number of creative writing contests now serve as a similar path to elite college admissions.

Heiser-Cerrato, who won multiple national awards for his prose and poetry, submitted creative writing portfolios to Harvard, Princeton, and the University of Pennsylvania, and he’s sure his creative writing is what propelled him to Harvard.

“It was my main hook,” he says.

Competitions like YoungArts and the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards have skyrocketed in selectivity and prestige over the past few decades, becoming a quantifiable way for colleges to identify rising literary stars. The winners of top competitions disproportionately go on to attend elite universities.

However, selecting the nation’s top storytellers is more complicated than selecting its top scientists. Competitions can’t score poems in the same objective way they score students in a Math Olympiad. Instead, who wins these competitions often comes down to taste. Several former high school creative writers say that specific styles and topic areas disproportionately win national writing competitions. Top competitions, they say, incentivize writers to dredge up traumatic experiences or commodify their cultural backgrounds.

By propelling winners to elite colleges and empowering them to pursue writing, these competitions can change the course of students’ lives. But the pressure to win can also stunt young writers’ growth and complicate their relationship with their craft and themselves.

Creative writing contests aim to promote self expression and foster a new generation of artists. But does turning creative writing into a competition for admissions erode its artistic purpose?

‘The Most Important Experiences of My Life’

H eiser-Cerrato went to a “sports high school” where it was difficult for him to receive the mentorship he needed to improve his writing or find a creative community. With so few fellow writers at his high school, he had no way to judge his talent beyond the confines of his English classes.

Creative writing competitions were founded for students like Heiser-Cerrato. Even a century ago, Maurice Robinson — the founder of Scholastic — was surprised at the gap that existed in recognizing students interested in the arts. In 1923, he hosted the first national Scholastic Art and Writing Competition.

By the 2000s, Scholastic no longer had a monopoly on creative writing competitions. YoungArts was founded in 1981, and the Foyle Young Poets Competition held its inaugural competition in 1998. After the Adroit Journal and Bennington College launched their annual creative writing competitions in the 2010s, competing in multiple creative writing competitions became common practice for aspiring poets and novelists.

When students started finding out about competitions through the internet, competitions like Scholastic doubled in size. The Covid-19 pandemic drove submissions to competitions like Foyle Young Poets up even more. Last year, the Scholastic awards received more than 300,000 entries, up from the 200,000 some entries received in 2005.

Collectively, these contests now receive more than 315,000 creative writing entries a year in categories like poetry, prose, and even spoken word. Students submit individual works of writing, or in some cases portfolios, to be judged by selection panels often consisting of professors and past winners. They are assessed on criteria like “originality, technical skill, and personal voice or vision.”

The Scholastic Art and Writing Awards boasts an impressive list of alumni who have gone on to win the highest literary prizes in their fields. Past winners include lauded writers Stephen King, Sylvia Plath, Joyce Carol Oates, and Amanda S. Gorman ’20.

Hoping to perhaps join this illustrious group, Heiser-Cerrato began applying to competitions his sophomore year. Spurred on by his high school English teacher — who incorporated contest submissions into assignments — Heiser-Cerrato felt the concrete nature of competition deadlines helped hold him accountable.

“When you’re trying to do something creative and you have no feedback loop or deadline, you can get very off track and not develop,” he says. “I never would have done that if there wasn’t a contest to submit to, because then there was no opportunity to get feedback.”

While Heiser-Cerrato went on to win some of Scholastic’s top honors — a National Silver Medal and Silver Medal with Distinction for his senior portfolio — even some who fare less well appreciate the feedback competitions provide.

“I think a lot of people are very cautious to give negative feedback to younger writers,” says Colby A. Meeks ’25, a former poetry editor of the Harvard Advocate. “I think getting rejections from certain contests and losing certain competitions did help me grow as a writer insofar as tempering an ego that I think young writers can very easily get from English teachers.”

Heiser-Cerrato views his experience with the Adroit Journal Summer Mentorship Program — a program that pairs high schoolers with established writers — as “pretty instrumental to my growth.” After applying during his senior year, Heiser-Cerrato met bi-weekly with his mentor, discussing works of other authors and workshopping two stories of his own.

Similarly, when Darius Atefat-Peckham ’23, then a student at the Interlochen Center for the Arts, won a National Silver Medal in the Scholastic competition, he became eligible to apply to the National Students Poet Program. From a pool of finalists submitting more than 23,000 works, Atefat-Peckham was selected as one of five National Student Poets.

“It led me to probably the most important experiences of my life. As a National Student Poet, I got to travel the Midwest and teach workshops to high schoolers and middle schoolers,” he says. “That pretty much set me on my trajectory for wanting to be a teacher someday, wanting to apply myself in the ways that I would need in order to get to a prestigious institution.”

‘If You’re Going to Apply to Harvard…’

W hen Daniel T. Liu ’27 opened his Harvard application portal, he knew exactly why he’d gotten in.

“My application to college was almost solely based on writing,” Liu says.

In high school, along with serving on the editorial staff of multiple literary magazines and attending creative writing summer camps, Liu won dozens of contests — including becoming a YoungArts winner and a 2022 Foyle Young Poet of the Year.

“I actually read my admissions file, and they did mention camps that they know, summer camps like Iowa and Kenyon, which are big teen writing summer programs,” says Liu. “They pointed that out.”

According to The Crimson’s analysis of publicly available data and interviews with multiple students, there is a clear link between high school creative writing contest success and enrollment at highly selective colleges.

From 2019 to 2022, among students with publicly available educational history who won Scholastic’s Gold Medal Portfolio — the competition’s highest award — just over 50 percent enrolled in Ivy League universities or Stanford. Fifteen percent more received writing scholarships or enrolled at creative writing focused colleges.

From 2015 to 2020, 55 percent of the students who won first, second, or third place in the Bennington Young Writers Awards for fiction or poetry enrolled in Ivy League universities or Stanford.

“My application to college was almost solely based on writing,” Daniel T. Liu says.

As Atefat-Peckham reflects back on his college application, he knows his creative writing successes were essential in complementing his standardized test scores. While he was proud of his ACT score, he did not believe it would have been enough to distinguish him from other qualified applicants.

Since 2018, three recipients of YoungArts’ top-paying scholarship — the $50,000 Lin Arison Excellence in Writing Award — have matriculated to Harvard. Other winners attended Brown, Swarthmore, and Wesleyan. Recent recipients include Stella Lei ’26, Rhodes Scholar-Elect Isabella B. Cho ’24, and Liu.

Creative writing competitions’ prominence in the college admissions process comes during the most competitive college application environment ever. Harvard’s Class of 2025 received a record-high number 57,435 applicants, leading to the lowest admissions rate in College history.

Eleanor V. Wikstrom ’24, a YoungArts winner and Rhodes Scholar-elect, described YoungArts as “super cool” in allowing her to meet other artists. She also recognized the importance of her participation for college applications.

“I can’t lie: If you think that you’re going to apply to Harvard, it’s very helpful to have some kind of national accolade,” she says.

The ‘Paradox’ of Competitive Art

I n 2021, an anonymously written document accusing student poet Rona Wang of plagiarism made waves in the competitive creative writing community. Wang — who had won awards from MIT and the University of Chicago, was affiliated with Simon & Schuster, and had published a book of short stories — was accused of copying ten works written by other student poets.

According to Liu, this behavior isn’t unprecedented. Several years ago, Liu explains, an “infamous” scandal erupted in the high school creative writing world when a student plagiarized Isabella Cho’s poetry and entered it into competitions.

Liu says more students are beginning to apply to writing competitions out of a desire to have awards on their resume, rather than because of a genuine interest in creative writing.

While creative writing contests can provide valuable opportunities for feedback and mentorship, several students look back on their time in the competitive creative writing circuit with ambivalence. The pressure to write in service of a contest — writing to win, not just to create — can pressure writers to commodify their identities and cash in on their painful experiences, turning a creative outlet into a path to admissions or quest for outside validation.

Liu says he regrets that creative writing competitions are becoming a pipeline to elite college admissions. He’s worried competitions like Scholastic and YoungArts are becoming too similar to programs like the International Science and Engineering Fair.

“Math, science, all these competitions, they all have some aspect of prestige to them,” says Liu. “What makes it so difficult in that regard is that writing isn’t math. It requires a level of personal dedication to that craft.”

“It kind of sucks because a lot of artistic practice should come out of personal will,” says Liu. “To compete in art is paradoxical, right?”

Sara Saylor, who won a gold portfolio prize for her writing, told the New York Times in 2005 that “the awards came to mean too much to me after a while.”

“Whenever Scholastic admissions time rolled around, we began to get very competitive and more concerned about winning the contest than we should have,” she says.

Indeed, students at elite creative high schools like the Interlochen Center for the Arts are pushed by teachers to enter competitions. Hannah W. Duane ’25, who attended the Ruth Asawa San Francisco School of the Arts as part of the creative writing department, was required to submit to three creative writing competitions every six weeks.

(These competitions are dominated by schools like Duane’s. In 2019, 23 Interlochen students received national Scholastic awards for their creative writing — a distinction typically awarded to less than 1 percent of entries.)

Though Liu wasn’t required to submit to contests, he felt a different kind of obligation. Liu says writing competitions pushed him to write almost exclusively about his heritage, keeping him from exploring other narratives.

“From the start, I applied with a lot of cultural pieces, like pieces about my family history,” says Liu. “Those were the ones that won. And so it built me into a cycle where I was only writing about these areas — heritage.”

Liu’s experience wasn’t uncommon. When looking at other winning pieces, he noticed a similar trend.

“The competitions — Scholastic, YoungArts, those two big ones — definitely prioritize writing about your heritage,” says Liu. “Part of the reason behind that is for a lot of the students, that’s a very unique aspect of them.”

“In a hyper-competitive environment, what you can write better than anyone else is what’s gonna make you stand out,” he adds.

In an emailed statement, YoungArts Vice President Lauren Slone wrote that YoungArts winners in writing “must demonstrate a sense of inventiveness, show attention to the complexities and technical aspects of language, and have a clear, original, and distinct point of view.”

Chris Wisniewski ’01, Executive Director of the nonprofit that oversees Scholastic, wrote in an email that the competition has been “welcoming to works across many styles, subjects, and points of view” and does not give “implicit or explicit guidance” to jurors or competitors about the content or style of winning pieces. He added that “on the national level, each piece of writing undergoes at least three separate readings from jurors to diversify the views on its adherence to the program’s original and sole criteria.”

Ryan H. Doan-Nguyen ’25, who received a Scholastic Gold Key and won the New York Times’s Found Poem Contest, notes another way young writers try to distinguish themselves.

“Students feel compelled to embellish or to write about really painful things,” says Doan-Nguyen, a Crimson News Editor. “It does tend to be really heavy hitting topics that make the page.”

According to him and multiple others, the creative writing circuit pushes students to expose deeply personal, sometimes traumatic experiences for academic points. (Students make similar claims about the college admissions process .)

Doan-Nguyen was hesitant to publicly open up about vulnerable experiences, so he shied away from writing about traumatic memories of his own. But he fears this reluctance held him back.

“Maybe that’s why I did not win more contests,” he says. “I was always too afraid to be so vulnerable and raw.”

Duane recalls the competitions being dominated by sobering personal narratives: often stories about authors’ experiences with racism, abuse, or sexual assault. However, her school worked to insulate its students from the pressure to sensationalize.

“The constant refrain we would hear is, ‘Writing is not your therapy. Get that elsewhere,’” she says.

Liu says writing contests not only changed his content — they also pushed him and other competitors to write in the specific style of past winners. He says many successful pieces were reminiscent of the poet and novelist Ocean Vuong.

Writers would cut their lines off at odd places “to give the illusion of mystery when there’s no real thought behind it besides, ‘Hey, it should look like this because it looks pretty like this,’” says Liu. He also recalls writers, especially young poets, using “a lot of language of violence.” Liu worries this overreliance on stylistic imitation can stunt young writers’ growth.

He questions whether the existence of creative writing competitions is helping young writers at all.

“If writing is supposed to be a practice of self-reflection, you’re not doing those things when you plagiarize. You’re not doing those things when you submit just a draft of someone else’s style,” says Liu. “It doesn’t align with what it should be as an artistic practice.”

‘I Will Always Be Writing’

S ince coming to Harvard, Heiser-Cerrato has begun writing for a very different purpose. He joined the Harvard Lampoon, a semi-secret Sorrento Square social organization that used to occasionally publish a so-called humor magazine.

With the structure and pressure of creative writing competitions behind them, he and other past winners are taking their writing in new directions.

“My high school writing was very sentimental and very focused on trying to be profound,” Heiser-Cerrato says. “But here, I’ve been more interested in the entertainment side of things.”

When writing for competitions, Heiser-Cerrato says it was difficult for him to define his goals. But for the Lampoon, he says he just wants to make others laugh. There, Heiser-Cerrato has finally found the sense of community he lacked in high school.

Meeks joined the Harvard Advocate, where he critiques poetry instead of writing it. In high school, Meeks appreciated competitions as an avenue through which to receive feedback on his writing. Now, he works to give those who submit work to the Advocate similar guidance.

“Often, submitting to a literary magazine feels like you’re sending something into a void,” Meeks says. “And I really wanted as much as possible, as much as it was manageable timewise, to make sure that people were getting some feedback.”

Like Meeks, Wikstrom and Doan-Nguyen are also members of campus publications. Wikstrom is the former editorial chair of The Crimson, and Doan-Nguyen is a Crimson News and Magazine Editor.

Wikstrom, who was the Vice Youth Poet Laureate of Oakland in high school for her spoken word poetry, says she loved spoken word poetry in high school because of its capacity to spark action. At Harvard, she saw The Crimson’s Editorial Board as another way to speak out about important issues.

“It’s a really interesting middle ground for creative writing, because you do have the commitment to factual accuracy,” she says. “But you also have more leeway than perhaps news to be injecting your personal voice. And also that urgency of, ‘I feel very strongly about this. And other people should feel strongly about this, too.’”

Unlike Heiser-Cerrato, Atefat-Peckham wasn’t drawn to any existing organization on campus. Though he attended Interlochen and succeeded in highly selective contests while in high school, Atefat-Peckham disagreed with the cutthroat, commodifying incentive structure and believed campus literary organizations like the Advocate and Lampoon were too selective.

When Atefat-Peckham returned to campus after the pandemic, he helped form the Harvard Creative Writing Collective, a non-competitive home for creative writing on campus.

Liu is a member of the Creative Writing Collective and the Advocate. But most of his writing at Harvard has been independent. Instead of writing for competitions, Liu says he’s transitioned to writing for himself.

And though Doan-Nguyen is not sure what he wants to do after college, he — along with Liu, Meeks, Heiser-Cerrato, Wikstrom, and Duane — is sure writing will play a role in it.

“It’s a big part of my life and always has been, and I think it’s made me see so much about the work that I wouldn’t have seen otherwise if I didn’t put my pen to paper,” says Doan-Nguyen.

“I know that no matter what I end up doing, whether that’s going to law school or journalism or just doing nonprofit work, I will always be writing. Writing and writing and writing.”

Correction: February 13, 2024

A previous version of this article included a misleading quote attributed to Ryan Doan-Nguyen.

— Magazine writer Cam N. Srivastava can be reached at [email protected] .

— Associate Magazine Editor Adelaide E. Parker can be reached at [email protected] .

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Meet the 2024 Writing Freedom Fellows

By Jim Plank / February 13 2024

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COMMENTS

  1. 24 Creative Poems and Poems On Writing

    4. A Tapestry Of Memories. By John P. Read. Published by Family Friend Poems September 17, 2022 with permission of the Author. A poem's but a whisper. That lingers on the breeze. A few unspoken words. Appear like falling leaves. Read Complete Poem.

  2. 100+ Poems about Writing, Ranked by Poetry Experts

    L'Envoi (1881) by Rudyard Kipling. 'L'Envoi' by Rudyard Kipling reflects on the nature and purpose of poetry and considers the poet's legacy. This poem is fundamentally about writing and the act of creation. The poem speaks to the process of writing poetry and the desire for recognition and fame.

  3. 10 of the Best Poems about Creativity

    1. Sir Philip Sidney, ' Loving in Truth '. Loving in truth, and fain in verse my love to show, That she, dear she, might take some pleasure of my pain,— Pleasure might cause her read, reading might make her know, Knowledge might pity win, and pity grace obtain,— I sought fit words to paint the blackest face of woe …

  4. 101 Poetry Prompts & Creative Ideas for Writing Poems

    1.The Untouchable: Something that will always be out of reach 2. 7 Days, 7 Lines: Write a poem where each line/sentence is about each day of last week 3. Grandma's Kitchen: Focus on a single memory, or describe what you might imagine the typical grandmother's kitchen to be like 4. Taste the Rainbow: What does your favorite color taste like? 5.

  5. 50+ Poems about Creativity, Ranked by Poetry Experts

    Two famous examples of poems about creativity include ' Ode to a Nightingale ' by John Keats, which delves into the poet's longing for artistic escape and the ability of poetry to transcend reality, and ' The Waste Land ' by T.S. Eliot, which weaves together various literary and cultural references to explore the fragmented nature of modern crea...

  6. 132 Best Poetry Prompts and Ideas to Spark Creativity

    Many great minds considered poetry to be the superior form of art. It transcends mortality and the transience of human life and becomes an eternal monument of people's existence and creativity. Poetry that was written hundreds of years ago can still mesmerize, astonish, inspire, move, horrify, and elevate us. There is an unlimited number of themes that can be used to produce great poetry ...

  7. Creative Writing: 5 Classic Poems That Will Inspire Your Students

    4) The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner - S. T. Coleridge. Coleridge's famous poem provides yet more proof that poetry is a great way to tell stories. The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner follows the story of a sailor just returned from a long sea voyage, as told by the sailor to a man on his way to a wedding. The sailor described how he shot an ...

  8. A list of 50 inspirational topics for writing a poem

    1. Nature The beauty and mystery of nature can be a great source of inspiration for poets. Write about the changing seasons, a particular flower or tree, the stars or moon, the ocean, mountains, or any other aspect of the natural world that speaks to you. 2. Childhood memories

  9. 101 Poem Ideas to Spark Your Creativity

    1. Poem Celebrating Friendship: Write a poem that celebrates your closest friend or best friend. Share experiences, dreams, and the joy of your bond. 2. Fall Asleep Inspiration: Write a poem about the feelings and thoughts that come to you as you're falling asleep. Describe the moment when reality blends with dreams. 3.

  10. 22 Poetry Prompts to Help You Write Your Next Great Poem

    1. Choose one of your five senses. Write a poem that focuses on your chosen sense. 2. Write a poem inspired by a color. 3. Write a poem based on something that happened to you this week. It could be something life-changing or something seemingly ordinary. Tune into that moment and paint a story about it.

  11. 100 Poetry Prompts

    100 Poetry Prompts. Write a poem about colors without ever naming any colors in the poem. Write a poem that tells a story. Use the following words in a poem: under, thrust, harbor, wind, prance, fall. Write a poem about the following image: an empty stadium with litter strewn about and one sneaker on the stadium stairs.

  12. Poem: Creative Writing

    Updated: Dec 19, 2021 8:57 PM EST Comment Article Summary "Creative Writing" is my response to "Word Prompts Help Creativity ~ Week 42 (Writing)." I've tried to put myself inside the process of how we write to come up with these. I hope you enjoy my thoughts. "The Writing Process ~ Kid Author" Acrostic Poem ~ Writing

  13. Poem Ideas: 255 Prompts to Spark Your Creativity

    Food and objects may seem like mundane subjects, but both can inspire meaningful and creative poetry. When writing about food, focus on the rich sensory experiences it evokes. Describe the aroma, taste, and texture of your favorite meal, or explore the cultural significance and memories associated with a childhood dish.

  14. Poem Starters and Creative Writing Ideas

    Poem Starters and Creative Writing Ideas (If you're looking for story starters instead, click here) Poetry ideas - Write a poem about: Becoming a parent The ocean Forgetting The speed of light A voodoo doll Reflections on a window A newspaper headline Your greatest fear Your grandmother's hands Being invisible Birthdays

  15. Poetry Writing: Invention

    Poet H. L. Hix writes that a poem always has a "synoptic moment," one in which "the whole is implicit in the part" (41). This moment could also be considered the heart or main idea of the poem. The poem may start with this moment—a technique Hix calls "expository" (41). Alternatively, the poem may build up to that moment in a ...

  16. 20 Easy Poetry Writing Prompts and Exercises

    1. Pick a song on your iPod, phone, or a playlist at random and let it influence you as you quickly write a first draft of a poem. 2. Go to a café, library, or fast food restaurant. Sit where you can see the door. Write a poem about the next person who walks in. 3.

  17. 50 Poetry Prompts to Help Jumpstart Your Creativity

    1. Write a poem based on a recent dream you've had. 2. Write about whatever you see outside your window right now. 3. Write about a color without naming the color in the poem. 4. Write a poem about a country you've never been to but would like to visit one day. 5. Write about your childhood best friend. 6. Write a poem to your younger self. 7.

  18. Creative Writing 101: Insights on Writing Poetry

    Creative Writing 101 is mainly divided into five chapters including: The establishment of poetry-writing as a discipline in Creative Writing studies has been subject to multiple experimentations by scholars and poet-teachers at many levels, such as form, vocabulary, syntax, tone, and measure, to enhance the writing/compositional skills of the ...

  19. 127 Creative Poetry Writing Prompts

    Write about your grandmother's house (or how you imagine it). 12. Ice Cold. Write about the sensation of drinking (or wearing) something cold. 13. Beach Walk. Write about a solitary walk on the beach and what you see and hear. 14. Curio.

  20. How to Write a Poem About Yourself in 3 Steps

    Poetry writing is one of the oldest forms of art in the world, and you don't need a creative writing degree to participate. There are all kinds of genres, subgenres, styles, traditions, and schools of poetry. As a beginner, you may find the innumerable options daunting, but you can start with a subject you know better than anyone else: yourself.

  21. Examples of Short Poems and How to Write Them

    In other words, the frog is breaking the ice over an immobile pond, and the "splash!" is both a literal and symbolic celebration. Winter is truly over; the world rejoices. The Golden Shovel. In interviews. Short form poetry condenses powerful ideas in as few words as possible. In this article, examples of short poems and how to write them.

  22. How to Write a Poem: A Step-by-Step Guide

    Lindsay Kramer Updated on January 6, 2022 Writing Tips Poetry is . . . song lyrics without the music? Writing that rhymes? A bunch of comparisons and abstract imagery that feels like a code for the reader to decipher? The answer to all of the above is yes, but poetry encompasses much more.

  23. 365 Creative Writing Prompts

    1. Outside the Window: What's the weather outside your window doing right now? If that's not inspiring, what's the weather like somewhere you wish you could be? 2. The Unrequited love poem: How do you feel when you love someone who does not love you back? 3.

  24. Craft or Commodity? The 'Paradox' of High School Creative Writing

    Caden Heiser-Cerrato '26 spent high school steeped in stories. He founded a creative writing club, hosted flash fiction contests, and wrote pages upon pages of stories and poems. He loved ...

  25. Meet the 2024 Writing Freedom Fellows

    Dee Farmer (she/her) is a creative nonfiction writer, poet, and a trailblazer in transgender and prison litigation, having built a robust legal writing practice. She is the architect of the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case Farmer v. Brennan. During the HIV/AIDS epidemic, she disseminated her poems and essays within the Bureau of Prisons.