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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.

20 Creative Poems and Poems about Writing

1 - 20 of 20

1. Tapestry

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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2. What Is Poetry?

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

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

‘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:

4. A Tapestry Of Memories

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

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5. Blank Paper

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

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...

6. Like The Wind

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.

7. Someday I'll Be Okay!

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

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8. My Life, The Artwork

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

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.

9. A Shining Star

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

10. To An Old House

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?

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...

11. Creativity

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

12. A Place Like This

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

I love the personal longing for that special place. John

13. Loving You Forever

The sun is slowly setting. The sunset is magnificent with the different shades of pink and red spread across the sky. I touch your cheek and notice just how pale it really is. The sun is slowly setting.

This poem could have so many meanings. Personally, it describes what is happening in my life right now. In four days, my crush will know that I like him and your poem has inspired me to make...

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

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,

15. Music Is Poetry

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

16. What Motivates You?

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.

17. The Bells

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

18. The Old Fella Out At Buck Creek

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

19. Interconnection Of Souls And Poetry

Inspiration comes from all kinds of things Nature in bloom of her blossoming Spring The wondrous feeling of a first romance Excited yet scared of taking the chance

Sis Beryl, such great writing. Superb. Every line is beautiful and flows and rhymes. This acrostic is the greatest as per me. God bless your poetic talent.

20. Inspiration

Inspiration. It is the light that fills your heart. It is the spark of ideas. It is the viewing of greatness.


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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 …

creative writing poem

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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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?

creative writing poem

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.

creative writing poem

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.

creative writing poem

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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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


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


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.


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.


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! 🙂


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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creative writing poem


creative writing poem


Writing a Narrative Poem: Everything You Need to Know (A Step by Step Guide)

by Zara Choudhry | May 29, 2023

Writing a Narrative Poem

When we think of poetry, the first thing that usually comes to people’s mind is rhymes (a close second: the other assumption that all poems are short!). 

But of course, this doesn’t capture the entire poetry genre. 

Narrative poetry is one of the most unique forms of literature because of their ability to capture plot, characters, and dialogue all in one poem—often with very little rhyming, if any. 

This is a step-by-step guide to writing a narrative poem, including what they are, how to write an epic narriative poem, and some awesome examples to inspire you. 

Table of Contents

What is a narrative poem .

A narrative poem is a form of poetry, which involves telling a story. The poet will use various elements of storytelling to create a plot, introduce characters, and set a certain scene–while using elements of poetry like rhyme, form and other devices. 

We find narrative poems to be the oldest form of poetry, dating all the way back to 2000 B.C. It has successfully stood the test of time because of the engaging and entertaining way that poetic rhymes and verses have been able to tell the intended story. 

More contemporary narrative poems tend to rely less on rhymes but still incorporate elements like non-linear story structure, characterization, and emotive language. 

The Difference Between Lyric Poems and Narrative Poems

A common misconception is that narrative poetry and lyric poetry are the same but this isn’t the case. 

The main difference is the poem’s sense of time. Narrative poems capture the flow of time by having an order of events and an “A causes B” pattern. The sense of time is easy to follow. On the other hand, lyric poems discuss a particular moment in the past with the purpose of bringing emotions out of the readers. 

In short, narrative poems focus on a sequence of events, whereas lyric poems magnify and speak about one specific event in time. 

What are the Different Types of Narrative Poetry? 

Ballad is a form of narrative poetry, which was loved throughout the 19th century. Athough originating in Europe, ballads have certainly made their mark across the world. Ballads were narrative poems set to music, often accompanied by dances and large crowds.  

Victorian-era poets admired this form of poetry and used it to both tell a story and entertain a big audience. However, their popularity hasn’t translated as well into the modern 21st century era and we see less of this form nowadays. 

Idyll poems are a form of narrative poetry, which describe and evoke rural life. This type of poetry focuses on moments within small communities and villages either describing a single person’s day of work or doing some sort of labor. 

Idyll poems date back to the early 17th century as a way of depicting the life of farmers, laborers, and rural life in general. 

A great example is Idylls of the King by Alfred Lord Tenyson (1859) which details the story of King Arthur’s nights in a 12-poem cycle: 

I found Him in the shining of the stars, I mark’d Him in the flowering of His fields, But in His ways with men I find Him not. I waged His wars, and now I pass and die. O me! for why is all around us here As if some lesser god had made the world, But had not force to shape it as he would, Till the High God behold it from beyond, And enter it, and make it beautiful?

Epic poems are long narrative poems concerning stories of heroism and any type of extraordinary people who changed history. 

These poems were used to tell the stories of kings, knights and successors to evoke national identity and morality.

Examples of these poems include, The Aeneid and The Odyssey, The Epic of Gilgamesh, and The Mahabharata. 

How to Get Started Writing a Narrative Poem

Narrative poetry is a form of artistic expression, combining the power of storytelling with the beauty of poetic language. Here are some essential tips and techniques to help you bring your stories to life.

Find Your Inspiration

Every great narrative poem begins with a spark of inspiration. Look for ideas in your surroundings, personal experiences, historical events, or even mythology. Allow yourself to be curious and open to new perspectives. 

Inspiration can come from unexpected places, so be receptive to the world around you, think of something great that has happened to you (or someone close to you) or even create a world that is completely fictional!

Develop Your Plot

Every great narrative poem has a  well-structured plot. Start by outlining the key events, characters, and conflicts in your story and set the beginning, middle, and end of your poem, and consider how each part intertwines. 

Remember, you don’t need to go into too much detail by explaining the scene or introducing characters as this isn’t a novel. Keep it straight to the point yet engaging for your reader.  

Choose a Narrative Voice

The tone and narrative voice of your poem are crucial in setting the mood and capturing the reader’s attention. 

Do you want your poem to be narrated in a humorous tone? Or maybe even a mysterious one? Choose a narrative poem that aligns with the perspective of who is telling the story and, to make it even more personal, you can even use a first-person voice. 

Utilize Imagery and Sensory Detail

The aim with any compelling narrative poem is to create a vivid and rich picture in the mind of readers. You want them to transport themselves to the setting, visualize the events and feel the story unfold. 

Make use of sensory details to enhance the experience and think about the various descriptive words you can use to bring the narration to life. 

Focus on Figurative Language

Figurative language brings depth and richness to your narrative poem. Incorporate metaphors, similes, personification, and other literary devices to infuse your writing with a touch of elegance and lyrical beauty. 

Figurative language helps readers connect with the emotions and ideas conveyed in your poem, evoking a more profound and lasting impact.

Experiment with Structure and Form

We’ve looked at the different forms of narrative poems, so feel free to put them to use! You can opt for something more traditional like a ballad or epic, or perhaps choose a more contemporary form. 

Experiment with line breaks, stanza lengths, rhyme schemes, or even free verse and let the structure and form of your poem enhance the overall storytelling experience.

Narrative poems are a beautiful piece of literature that allow you to blend the art of storytelling with the power of poetry. 

By seeking inspiration, focusing on figurative speech, utilizing sensory descriptions, and developing an engaging plot, you can conjure up a compelling narrative poem that tells your story perfectly. 

Grab your pen, let your imagination soar, and embark on the thrilling adventure of crafting narrative poetry!

Want to write a book, but no idea where to start?

Grab our free book outline template!

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132 Best Poetry Prompts and Ideas to Spark Creativity

creative writing poem


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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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How to write a poem

“Without poetry, we lose our way.”

— Joy Harjo, U.S. Poet Laureate & Academy of American Poets Chancellor

I’ve been writing poetry, in some capacity, since I was a little kid. I am drawn to the language of poetry as a specific way of looking at the world, and how it operates by its own sometimes inscrutable logic. It has always felt to me like the best and most natural vehicle for talking about complicated feelings and making observations, and I enjoy it because it feels weird and good and true. It might even be the one thing in my life that allows me to access something powerfully mystical. However, the things that make me love poetry are generally the very same things that make it hard to explain, seemingly impossible to teach, and more often than not, cause people’s eyes to glaze over when I mention it.

When I tell people I am a writer, it’s always interesting to see them cycle through what that means in real time. Oh, you write novels? Nope. Aww, so you’re a journalist? Yes, but… A memoirist? A technical writer? A copywriter? It’s only after every other option has fluttered across their mind that “poet” eventually becomes an option. I am no longer offended by these interactions, but I am also cognizant of how much I have internalized the weird vibes. For some reason, I would never open with “Hi, I am a poet” because it just sounds too pretentious—but why is that? If poetry is one of humankind’s oldest and most vaunted art forms, why does it currently occupy such a weird, prickly spot in our cultural consciousness? And why should anyone, myself included, ever think of it as an embarrassing pursuit? Or an impossible one?

There are arguably a million complicated answers to these questions, but in the interest of brevity and in an effort to be helpful, I’ll just say this: a lot of people have weird ideas about what poetry actually is or what it can be, and because of this, poetry has been made to feel inaccessible to them. If you don’t tend to read poetry, then why would you write it? And if the idea of writing a poem seems about as plausible as writing in a language you don’t yet speak, then I hope that this little guide can function as a gentle introduction into both the reading and writing of poems. It should be an experience that feels like slipping into a warm bath and less like, say, taking a time machine back to your high school English class and realizing you don’t understand the assignment. Poetry is the opposite of that.

— T. Cole Rachel, poet and Senior Editor of TCI

Poetry. What is it? Why do it? And who cares?

What is poetry? Like, what is it really? As someone who has read, studied, and taught poetry for the better part of their adult life, my answer to this question is a combination of “who knows?” with a healthy side dish of “it doesn’t matter.” The literal definition of poetry, at least according to Merriam-Webster, is as follows:

[Poetry is] writing that formulates a concentrated imaginative awareness of experience in language chosen and arranged to create a specific emotional response through meaning, sound, and rhythm.

While there is certainly a historical, literary precedent for what poetry is, it remains slippery in both form and function. It also generally occupies a rather amorphous space in our consciousness. As poetry has evolved into an entity that can take the shape of almost anything—from the deadpan literal to the purely abstract—it’s not surprising that we tend to project our own feelings onto it.

In his excellent book, Why Poetry , the poet Matthew Zapruder makes the case that reading poetry can help us lead more purposeful, empathetic lives. His book provides a general demystification of what it means to read and write poems, and a thoughtful way to dispel some of the inadequacy that readers often feel when confronted with poetry. Zapruder writes:

“I have a confession to make: I don’t really understand poetry.” For over twenty-five years, I have heard this said, over and over in slightly different ways, by friends, family, colleagues, strangers I met in bars and at dinner parties, on planes—so many people, practically everyone who found out I was a poet. Clearly, there is something about poetry that rattles and mystifies people, that puts them off, that makes them feel as if there is something wrong. Maybe the problem is with them as readers. Maybe they don’t enough or haven’t studied enough or weren’t paying attention in school. Or maybe the problem is with poetry itself. Why don’t poets just say what they mean? Why do they make it so hard?

What Zapruder suggests in his book is something that I’ve often experienced with my own students. People often have an aversion to poetry as a result of being made to read things they didn’t like or understand, usually at a time in their life when they were the least prepared to absorb it. Because of this, poetry itself remains fixed in their minds as some kind of inscrutable hard work—a slog, the literary equivalent of a puzzle with a thousand tiny pieces that are all essentially the same color. The experience of reading poetry, aside from the occasional New Yorker piece, remains fixed somewhere in the cobwebby backs of our brains along with memories of being forced to read The Canterbury Tales or having to produce a clunky sonnet or replicate iambic pentameter for junior high English without actually understanding what it was or why you were doing it.

So what is the cure for this? Re-wiring the way we think about poetry and the way we read it, and understanding that it’s an art form that contains infinite multitudes. For a lot of people, their misunderstanding of poetry is akin to hating ice cream your whole life because you only tasted one bad flavor as a teenager and you thought it was hard to eat. Awakening your sensibilities as a reader and writer of poetry is really all about finding the right kind of poetry for you, and knowing that whatever your personal tastes happen to be, and whatever your needs happen to be as a reader and a creature with lots of feelings, there is a particular flavor of poetry in existence that will speak directly to you.


Don’t try and learn. Just read.

When I made the decision in the mid ‘90s to forego any kind of practical future and, instead, go get an MFA in poetry, I have the distinct memory of my grandmother asking, “Why are you doing this?” which was followed by, “Can you even teach someone to write poetry? Isn’t that something you either know how to do or you don’t?” In some ways, she was right—poetry is a weird, complicated thing to try and teach another person how to make. Poetry has many forms and many rules, all of which are changeable, mutable, and often meaningless. Emily Dickinson, Robert Frost, Hanif Abdurraqib , John Keats, Claudia Rankine, Wallace Stevens, Elizabeth Bishop, Nikki Giovanni , John Ashberry, Sylvia Plath, Morgan Parker , Ada Limon —all poets who sound so different in tone and voice and style that it seems crazy to lump them all together.

And as for poetry itself? This compact little narrative? A poem. This haiku about grass? A poem, obviously. This scrabble of nonsense words on a page? Also poetry. This smear of ink? Poetry. This feeling, this idea, this gesture, this mood? Yes. All poetry. The idea of teaching someone how to make a thing whose very nature continues to evolve, change, and grow increasingly slippery within the cultural lexicon seems impossible… and yet, why not try? Why not write some poems?

The best way to try and understand poetry—and ultimately to write it—is simply by reading it and letting the form and logic of it gradually seep into your animal brain. Every reader is, of course, different, and you can’t always predict what kind of poems are going to be speaking your language. That’s why it’s important to peruse lots of different kinds of poems, which makes it easy to find things that are not only accessible, but also speak to your own experience as a human. Unless perhaps you are a fledgling English major or a writer of poetry just entering an MFA program (in which case, I feel for you), approaching poetry from a serious literary angle might largely be a waste of time and energy. Instead, why not approach poetry like a hungry person walking through a grocery store, throwing anything and everything into your cart that looks like it might taste good?

To that end, here are a few spots to gently lower yourself down into a poetry pool and help you find something that keeps you afloat:

Poets.org // One of the best resources for poetry and poets on the internet, this is the official site of the Academy of American Poets. In addition to being able to browse different types of poetry and search for individual poets, this is a great place to find out about poetry-related events in your area. Here you can also sign up for “Poem-A-Day,” which will email you a poem, along with links to that poet’s work, every day. I’ve subscribed to it for years and it’s the easiest way to discover new poets and poems.

Poetry Foundation // This site is particularly useful if you are in the mood to dive headfirst into a poetry hole. The site offers a “Poem of the Day” but also has lots of nicely curated sections where you can browse poems by theme, style, and subject. This is also the place to subscribe to Poetry magazine, which has been publishing some of the best and most diverse poetry in the world since it was founded back in 1912. The magazine is not only a fertile discovery zone, you can also get it delivered in a variety digital formats, which means you can even read it on your stupid phone.

Poetry anthologies // Anthology books can be one of the best places to turn on and tune in to exactly what sorts of poetry speaks to you. There are, of course, a million “classic” anthologies of poetry that showcase all the literary legends and luminaries, but if those feel too much like just revisiting the stuff you read in high school or college, then perhaps go a little more niche. Most good bookstores still have a poetry section (though they seem to be shrinking) and within those you can find an abundance of poetry anthologies specifically curated to speak to and for a variety of voices. If you are looking for something a little more general and panoramic, I always recommend the “ Best American Poetry ” series, which is guest edited by a different poet every year and always provides a nice lay of the land in terms of what is happening across the world of poetry (American poetry, at least).

Live readings // One of the best ways to really experience poetry is to go hear people read it. The kinds of poetry events happening at any given time in any given city are typically as varied as poetry itself tends to be. While I myself have definitely sat through some clunker poetry readings in my time, I’ve also experienced poetry in its most transcendent form when going to hear it read aloud by the poets themselves. I also like to periodically search out my favorite poets on YouTube to try and find footage of them reading their own work, an exercise that can lead you to wild gems like this one— Anne Sexton reading “Her Kind” back in 1966 .


Get started.

Once you’ve spent a little time perusing some poems and getting a sense of what you like and what speaks to you, the best way to start writing poems is to simply…write a poem. If this seems easier said than done, or if the horror of the blank page feels too overwhelming, just give yourself a little nudge. Write about where you are and how you feel at this very moment and look at the size and shape of poems that you love, considering— How can I do this too? How can I make this about me?

For the past five years I’ve been teaching a recurring poetry workshop here in New York City called “Poetry & Photography.” The class originated via the Camera Club of NY and was first created as an offering for photographers who wanted to experiment with writing poetry as a way to respond and reflect on their own visual work. Eventually the class opened up to non-photographers as well, but I found that the concept of the class—and the exercises—still rang very true for everyone. We all have complicated relationships with images. And since we all carry around a smartphone that we use almost incessantly to document ourselves and our surroundings, it’s easy to use existing images as a jumping-off point for writing poems.

As I mentioned before, I’m not sure you can really teach someone how to write a good poem, but my technique has always been to simply give my students a variety of poems to look at every week and then to set them loose with a prompt. I’ve always found that when people are writing about the reality of their own lives and filling their poems with lots of specific sensory details—as opposed to, say, writing about abstract ideas like “love”—the work tends to be vivid and interesting. With that in mind, here are three photo-related prompts to get you going…

Prompt 1: “RESPONSE”

Write a poem that begins with a description of a photograph you have in your possession. Delve into the memories evoked by the photograph, or reveal what personal significance the photograph has for you.

For inspiration, read Natasha Trethewey’s “ History Lesson .”

Prompt 2: “MOMENT”

Using one of your own photographs, go back and try to describe what is happening with you, the photographer, at the moment the image was taken. What possessed you to take the photo? What was it about that moment specifically that needed to be documented, and why was that moment so telling? The poem should be a companion to the photo itself—a kind of poetic explanation of the photo’s creation.

For inspiration, read:

Prompt 3: “LANDSCAPE”

Using one of your own photographs, write a poem in which you explore a particular landscape. Focus on the description of the place. Rather than adding a lot of commentary on the subject, focus solely on the physical details of the environment and create an apt description of the image for someone who hasn’t actually seen your photo.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with forms.

Sonnets, Haikus, Sestinas, Odes, Elegies—these are all poetic forms that are beautiful and important and that, to be honest, you never need to think about (unless you want to!). So many of my poetry students come to class thinking that they’ll be expected to write in one of these forms, or that the only “real” poems exist in some kind of culturally calcified shape. It’s always a relief for them to understand that, as with any art form, at the end of the day there are no rules and you can do whatever you want.

While you should never be beholden to some dusty old rules, I will say that for a lot of people experimenting with and working within forms can actually be a great entry point for understanding poems. Arguably the best way to understand how a sonnet works from the inside-out is by writing one. Some people find that having a framework to work within is actually easier and less scary than simply freestyling on their own. My advice is to simply try out some forms—try writing a little haiku or two, for example—and also don’t be afraid to emulate the shape and style of poems that you happen to love. Once your poetry practice becomes more habitual, the mimicry eventually fades away and your own style emerges, usually sooner than you expect.

One of the assignments my students have had the most fun with lately has to do with writing their own contemporary version of an ode, which is “a lyric poem in the form of an address to a particular subject.” Based on the poet Sharon Olds ’ 2016 Odes , I ask people to simply write a poem in celebration of something.

Prompt 4: “ODE”

Because sometimes we can all get sick of looking at ourselves, I’ve found that working with found images —images for which we have no history and no context—can actually be a pretty profound way to reflect back on our own lives in ways we don’t expect. Found images can spark an unexpected memory and draw out associations we can rarely predict, which is great fodder for poetry. Using a found photograph as a prompt, write an ode to a person, place, thing, or idea.


There is no wrong answer here.

One of the great/weird things about poetry is that historically it’s an art form bound up in all kinds of rules and conventions that, at the end of the day, are also simultaneously meaningless. Often my students will turn up to our workshop and say things like, “I don’t know if I’m doing this right” or—my favorite—”I wrote something but I’m not sure if it’s actually a poem.” My response to these statements is always the same. There is no wrong way to do this, and if you wrote something and you say it’s a poem—it’s a poem. In my experience, the true sign of success for any poem is not so much how it looks, but what it does—how it makes you feel. Of course it’s nice to see interesting wordplay and inventive metaphors and dazzling feats of lyricism, all the things that poetry is known for, but if these things aren’t in service of a good idea and don’t hint at some kind of truth or ineffable feeling, then so what?

One of the best pieces of advice for writing, especially with making poems, is to just write them as if no one is ever going to see them. Not your mom, not your boyfriend, not anyone. Whether or not you choose to share your work is a concern for later. What matters is how the actual poetry practice works for you—as a kind of meditation, as a way of making sense of the world, as a kind of sounding board to measure what’s going on in your own mind and heart. For me poetry has, at some point, served all of these purposes. The trick with any kind of creative writing is always a matter of getting out of your own way, silencing all the negative internal voices that tell us our stories and ideas aren’t important or meaningful, tuning out arbitrary rules, and really listening to our own voice. Poetry, perhaps more than any other literary art, is uniquely suited for giving voice to the deepest parts of ourselves. There is no reason that everyone shouldn’t have access to that experience.

creative writing poem

T. Cole Rachel

T. Cole Rachel is a writer, editor, and teacher based in New York City. His work has appeared in Interview, The FADER, The New York Times Magazine, OUT , and Stereogum . He is a regular contributor to Pitchfork and has served as a Contributing Editor at both V Magazine and Interview . He teaches a recurring poetry workshop, Poetry & Photography , at SSHH in New York City. His books include Surviving the Moment of Impact and Bend Don’t Shatter . He is currently Senior Editor at The Creative Independent.

How to Write Poetry

How to Write Poetry - Table of Contents

poetry anthology, illustrating a guide to how to write poetry

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Adventures in Creative Writing

Adventures in Creating Writing

Develop your writing and your creativity! Learn essentials of creative writing and practice your skills.

Expand your imagination by working with published writers from the USC English Department, who will help you explore possibilities in poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. We will learn essentials of creative writing with exercises devoted to both creative development and revision, and we will visit the local art museum to expand our creative possibilities.

At the end of the week, we will have a performance and you will take your work home in a small class anthology.

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Dr. edward madden.

Dr. Madden is a professor of English and former director of the Women's & Gender Studies program at the University of South Carolina. In addition, he is an author of various publications. His area of specialization includes creative writing and poetry. 

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.

creative writing poem

Jerz's Literacy Weblog (est. 1999)

Poetry writing tips: 10 helpful hacks for how to write a poem.

Jerz > Writing > General Creative Writing Tips [  Poetry  | Fiction  ]

If you are writing a poem because you want to capture a feeling that you experienced , then you don’t need these tips. Just write whatever feels right. Only you experienced the feeling that you want to express, so only you will know whether your poem succeeds.

If, however, your goal is to communicate with a reader — drawing on the established conventions of a literary genre (conventions that will be familiar to the experienced reader) to generate an emotional response in your reader — then simply writing what feels right to you won’t be enough.  (See also “ Poetry is for the Ear ” and “ When Backwards Newbie Poets Write .”)

These tips will help you make an important transition:

Poetry: 10 Tips for Writing Poems

Tip #1 Know Your Goal.

If you don’t know where you’re going, how can you get there?

You need to know what you are trying to accomplish before you begin any project. Writing a poem is no exception.

Before you begin, ask yourself what you want your poem to “do.” Do you want your poem to explore a personal experience, protest a social injustice, describe the beauty of nature, or play with language in a certain way? Once your know the goal of your poem, you can conform your writing to that goal. Take each main element in your poem and make it serve the main purpose of the poem.

Tip #2 Avoid Clichés

Stephen Minot defines a  cliché as: “A metaphor or simile that has become so familiar from overuse that the vehicle … no longer contributes any meaning whatever to the tenor. It provides neither the vividness of a fresh metaphor nor the strength of a single unmodified word….The word is also used to describe overused but nonmetaphorical expressions such as ‘tried and true’ and ‘each and every'” ( Three Genres: The Writing of Poetry, Fiction and Drama , 405).

Cliché also describes other overused literary elements. “Familiar plot patterns and stock characters are clichés on a big scale” (Minot 148). Clichés can be overused themes, character types, or plots. For example, the “Lone Ranger” cowboy is a cliché because it has been used so many times that people no longer find it original.

A work full of clichés is like a plate of old food: unappetizing.

Creative Writing Tips

More creative writing tips.

Clichés work against original communication. People value creative talent. They want to see work that rises above the norm. When they see a work without clichés, they know the writer has worked his or her tail off, doing whatever it takes to be original. When they see a work full to the brim with clichés, they feel that the writer is not showing them anything above the ordinary. (In case you hadn’t noticed, this paragraph is chock full of clichés… I’ll bet you were bored to tears.)

Clichés dull meaning. Because clichéd writing sounds so familiar, people can finish whole lines without even reading them. If they don’t bother to read your poem, they certainly won’t stop to think about it. If they do not stop to think about your poem, they will never encounter the deeper meanings that mark the work of an accomplished poet.

Examples of Clichés:

How to improve a cliché.

I will take the cliché “as busy as a bee” and show how you can express the same idea without cliché.

Try it! Take a cliché and use these steps to improve it. You may even end up with a line you feel is good enough to put in a poem!

Tip #3 Avoid Sentimentality.

Sentimentality is “dominated by a blunt appeal to the emotions of pity and love …. Popular subjects are puppies, grandparents, and young lovers” (Minot 416). “When readers have the feeling that emotions like rage or indignation have been pushed artificially for their own sake, they will not take the poem seriously” (132).

Minot says that the problem with sentimentality is that it detracts from the literary quality of your work (416). If your poetry is mushy or teary-eyed, your readers may openly rebel against your effort to invoke emotional response in them. If that happens, they will stop thinking about the issues you want to raise, and will instead spend their energy trying to control their own gag reflex.

Tip #4 Use Images.

“BE A PAINTER IN WORDS,” says UWEC English professor emerita, poet, and songwriter Peg Lauber. She says poetry should stimulate six senses:

Lauber advises her students to produce fresh, striking images (“imaginative”). Be a camera.  Make the reader  be there with the poet/speaker/narrator. (See also: “ Show, Don’t (Just) Tell “)

Tip #5 Use Metaphor and Simile.

Use metaphor and simile to bring imagery and concrete words into your writing.

A metaphor is a statement that pretends one thing is really something else: Example: “The lead singer is an elusive salamander.” This phrase does not mean that the lead singer is literally a salamander. Rather, it takes an abstract characteristic of a salamander (elusiveness) and projects it onto the person. By using metaphor to describe the lead singer, the poet creates a much more vivid picture of him/her than if the poet had simply said “The lead singer’s voice is hard to pick out.”
A simile is a statement where you say one object is similar to another object. Similes use the words “like” or “as.” Example: “He was curious as a caterpillar” or “He was curious, like a caterpillar” This phrase takes one quality of a caterpillar and projects it onto a person. It is an easy way to attach concrete images to feelings and character traits that might usually be described with abstract words.

Note: A simile is not automatically any more or less “poetic” than a metaphor. You don’t suddenly produce better poems if you replace all your similes with metaphors, or vice versa. The point to remember is that comparison, inference, and suggestion are all important tools of poetry; similes and metaphors are tools that will help in those areas.

Tip #6 Use Concrete Words Instead of Abstract Words.

Concrete words describe things that people experience with their senses.

A person can see orange, feel warm, or hear a cat.

A poet’s concrete words help the reader get a “picture” of what the poem is talking about. When the reader has a “picture” of what the poem is talking about, he/she can better understand what the poet is talking about.

Abstract words refer to concepts or feelings.

“Liberty” is a concept, “happy” is a feeling, and no one can agree on whether “love” is a feeling, a concept or an action.

A person can’t see, touch, or taste any of these things. As a result, when used in poetry, these words might simply fly over the reader’s head, without triggering any sensory response. Further, “liberty,” “happy,” and “love” can mean different things to different people. Therefore, if the poet uses such a word, the reader may take a different meaning from it than the poet intended.

Change Abstract Words Into Concrete Words

To avoid problems caused by using abstract words, use concrete words.

Example: “She felt happy.”

This line uses the abstract word “happy.” To improve this line, change the abstract word to a concrete image. One way to achieve this is to think of an object or a scene that evokes feelings of happiness to represent the happy feeling.

Improvement: “Her smile spread like red tint on ripening tomatoes.”

This line uses two concrete images: a smile and a ripening tomato. Describing the smile shows the reader something about happiness, rather than simply coming right out and naming the emotion. Also, the symbolism of the tomato further reinforces the happy feelings. Red is frequently associated with love; ripening is a positive natrual process; food is further associated with being satisfied.

Tip #7 Communicate Theme.

Poetry always has a theme. Theme is not just a topic, but an idea with an opinion.

Theme = Idea + Opinion

Topic: “The Vietnam War”

This is not a theme. It is only a subject. It is just an event. There are no ideas, opinions, or statements about life or of wisdom contained in this sentence

Theme: “History shows that despite our claims to be peace-loving, unfortunately each person secretly dreams of gaining glory through conflict.”

This is a theme. It is not just an event, but a statement about an event. It shows what the poet  thinks about the event. The poet strives to show the reader his/her theme during the entire poem, making use of literary techniques.

Tip #8 Subvert the Ordinary.

Poets’ strength is the  ability to see what other people see everyday in a new way . You don’t have to be special or a literary genius to write good poems–all you have to do is take an ordinary object, place, person, or idea, and come up with a new perception of it.

Example: People ride the bus everyday.

Poets’ Interpretation: A poet looks at the people on the bus and imagines scenes from their lives. A poet sees a sixty-year old woman and imagines a grandmother who runs marathons. A poet sees a two-year old boy and imagines him painting with ruby nail polish on the toilet seat, and his mother struggling to not respond in anger.

Take the ordinary and turn it on its head. (The word “subvert” literally means “turn upside down”.)

Tip #9 Rhyme with Extreme Caution.

Rhyme and meter (the pattern of stressed and unstressed words) can be dangerous if used the wrong way. Remember sing-song nursery rhymes? If you choose a rhyme scheme that makes your poem sound sing-song, it will detract from the quality of your poem.

I recommend that  beginning poets stick to free verse . It is hard enough to compose a poem without dealing with the intricacies of rhyme and meter. (Note: see Jerz’s response to this point, in “ Poetry Is For the Ear .”)

If you feel ready to create a rhymed poem, refer to chapters 6-10 of Stephen Minot’s book Three Genres: The Writing of Poetry, Fiction, and Drama . 6 th ed., for more help.

Tip #10 Revise, Revise, Revise.

The first completed draft of your poem is only the beginning. Poets often go through several drafts of a poem before considering the work “done.”

26 May 2000 — originally submitted by Kara Ziehl, as an assignment for Prof. Jerz’s technical writing class 01 Aug 2000 — modified and posted by Jerz 30 Nov 2001 — minor edits by Jerz 21 July 2011 — minor refresh 22 May 2013 — added intro before the tips. 24 Dec 2017 — minor formatting tweaks 09 Apr 2019 — corrected a 1000-year error caused by a typo in the above line

Handouts >  Creative Writing >  Poetry Tips

Poetry is for the Ear (jerz.setonhill.edu)

Poetry is for the Ear  — Whatever poetry you write or read, learn to listen with the ears of your audience. Pay attention to the sounds the words make, even if you write in free verse.

creative writing poem

Short Poems: Little Exquisite Vessels of Thought   –A few good lines of verse can pack as much emotional content as a whole paragraph of ordinary prose. Just because a poem is short does not mean writing it is easy.

creative writing poem

Getting College Credit for your High School Poems  –Poems that perfectly record how you felt about events in your life probably won’t work as submissions for college writing classes. Most professors will expect you to revise in-progress poems.

302 thoughts on “ Poetry Writing Tips: 10 Helpful Hacks for How to Write a Poem ”

It’s an interesting one

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I jumped from the introduction to the cliché section and kept reading until the end of the rhyming advice. This is powerful to post for someone to use as a subtle guideline during the writing process. Going through one of my poems on my blog, I rewrote it several times, making sure it hits the spot. Now, I feel once I post all 30 of my blogs, I’m going to go through each one and continue making modifications until it is perfect and sounds correct.

I am much impressed by the site,,it has motivated me as a poetry beginner In 1 year time I believe I shall be a great poet,thank you.

Poetry is a genre of literature, a genre of art, and a genre of life. It is a form of literary artwork due to its matchless beauty and magnitude of emotion.

I love poems

the above mentioned tips are amazing. i have got an outline on how this work of writing poems is done. soon i’m going to come up with my writings..thanks

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Hey sir, I want you to offer me some suggestions regarding my writing, I’m just a newbie. I don’t know where am I heading. Here is my piece of work down below. Have a look, please. Thank you.

My love has bruised my naive heart. All of my senses went jerked a lot.

She ran off, after approaching, where did she go? Her gestures had driven me crazy from the start. All of my senses went jerked a lot.

I had started out pursuing her path carelessly. waiting for her, turned me into ashes under the pot. All of my senses went jerked a lot.

I wish you to pass by my needy door someday. My faded eyes are being waited for you on spot. All of my senses went jerked a lot.

If you please remove this veil, my remiss love? As I’m burning in your remembrance, Oh my mascot. All of my senses went jerked a lot.

I have rubbed ashes on my body, don’t you go far. Would you keep pride to my pleas or not. All of my senses went jerked a lot.

Your vows have kept me alive to this day. Thereby, I offer my chest to every coming arrow shot. All of my senses went jerked a lot.

Ehmad there is nothing to pick on except don’t repeat the last line every time

You have poem for school childrens

Very informative article on how to write poetry thanks For sharing.

The tips for writing poem are really amazing! I really love to write poems. All the best to poem lovers!

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This will be an additional knowledge to me when I create my 2nd poetry book. Great tips!

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I can’t simply go without leaving a comment. This post is a great read.

I hope you can take the time to read my post as well: A Guide to Writing Exceptional Poetry

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Please what type of image can I give to Covid 19 as a poet

My first attempt As I gazed at the sky,I saw the beauty of Earth which is to be compared with yours It seems am an ant scavenging for crumbs of bread to behold the sight of a sheen, I could feel the warm,calm breeze touching my skin,just as I see the sun scorching like your eyes Your aura is like the sweet aroma of a banana, Your smile spread like the wings of a dove gliding over the deep blue ocean The sound of your voice could be linked to that of a mermaid….

My first attempt Please I’d like criticism

I see an engaging list of sensory details. What I’m looking for is some evidence of a revelation, an insight that changes the way the speaker (the “I” in the poem) thinks about the “you” who is the subject of the poem. Not all poems need to have that kind of a twist or revelation, but I’m looking for some kind of resolution. What new insight does the speaker gain, after gazing at the sky and doing all the comparisons listed in the poem? “Her big brown eyes were like pools that I could fall into and swim away from all my troubles.” That’s kind of silly (I claim no special talent as a poet) but it’s an example that goes beyond listing how X is like Y.

I’m not really an expert on these poem thing. But this is really a nice try of yours! Sounds very magical to me. But i kinda don’t understand some part of what you are trying to tell..it’s okay maybe because of some typos. Love it btw!

Ive been writing poems for a while now. My fathers death brought out feelings I could best express through poems. I’m curious if they are pretty good or need work.

Here’s one of my poems.

Baby blue eyes

When I saw you last, I looked in your eyes. You couldn’t speak, or even cry. You looked so lost and full of fear. All I could do, was wipe my tears.

I knew it was over, you felt so alone. I did what I could for your journey home. I stayed by your side, all through the night. Never leaving you, holding you tight.

My memories of you, are close to my heart. You’ll always be with me, we’ll never part. I’ll never forget how much I cried, I’ll never forget those baby blue eyes.

Dan, I would say that poems people write in order to express their feelings and to honor and commemorate a specific event in their life fall into the category of doing whatever feels right to you.

If you are interested in technical hints on becoming a better poet, I suggest you start with a poem that you feel is not “finished” — something you are still working on.

I have noticed that students who brought their “finished” high school poems into a college writing workshop are often so emotionally attached to their work that it was hard for them to cut out lines or whole stanzas or change whole organizational principles that weren’t working. This handout is focused specifically on high school poetry, but the general idea addresses using very personal poems in a writing workshop.


If what you’d like to do is polish this poem, then I’d say the line breaks in this submission are confusing (I’d expect line breaks after “eyes.” and “cry,” and “fear.”) Having said that, point 9 on this page cautions against rhyming for beginning poets, though I also wrote this handout that emphasizes the power of sounds in poems: https://jerz.setonhill.edu/writing/creative1/poetry-is-for-the-ear/

The lines “You looked so lost and full of fear” and “I’ll never forget how much I cried” TELL me what you felt, but poetry works best when, instead of listing the emotions the poet felt, the poem instead generates feelings in the reader.

I didn’t know your father, so when I read about you looking into his eyes, I don’t have the memory of decades of looking at your father’s smirk when he gets in a zinger during a dinnertime debate about politics, or seeing the scar on his right brow from the car accident you caused when he was teaching you to drive, etc. (Of course I made up those details, and so they don’t accurately reflect who your father is. What details WOULD accurately convey your father’s personality?)

Rather than TELLING me that your memories are close to your heart, can you instead spend time bringing me along with you as you relive just one really significant event? Think of how a movie really comes to life when the camera zooms in on a person talking about a memory, and then suddenly we see a younger version of that character living through the events they remembered. Sometimes movies might have the older version of the character right there in the scene, commenting, like Scrooge does during the flashbacks the Ghost of Christmas Past shows him. That’s what movies do — they dramatize for the camera. Poems do something different — they use very specific sensory details in order to conjure up emotions in the reader. But listing the emotions you felt is not the same thing as giving your reader a reason to feel something.

This handout on Showing vs. Telling focuses on short stories, but it’s the same principle. TELLING me what you feel is different from SHOWING me something and generating a feeling in me.


The professional writing advice “murder your darlings” emphasizes that even though we might be excited by and attached to what we wrote in a burst of inspired creative emotions, the process of editing and revision only works if we are objective and willing to trade off the emotional integrity of the experience we had WRITING a draft, with the technical requirements of what experienced readers will expect when READING a poem, and what they will find that’s original and effective, and what will seem predictable and overdone. https://medium.com/mindset-matters/who-said-murder-your-darlings-6a769e3f205e

This site has a collection of poems about grief.


If you were a student in my class, and you said you wanted to write a poem about grief, I’d ask you to read a dozen or so classic and modern poems about loss, and I’d ask you to explore how those poets use sensory experiences, memory, juxtaposition, contrast and other literary techniques in order to accomplish something that moved you; and then I’d ask you to try using some of those same strategies in your own work.

How many modern works use rhyming couplets? Was your baby-blue-eyed father a 300-pound professional wrestler? Were his eyes important to his profession, or to do something he loved to do, or something he did selflessly and reliably for the family?

When I was a kid, I found where my dad kept his “to do” list, and I decided I’d spend about 30 minutes a week doing something on that list, without being asked, and without telling him. Vacuuming the stairs, watering the lawn, that sort of thing. Sometimes when he saw me doing the task, or when he went to do it and found it had been done, he would be in such a good mood that he’d invite me out for ice cream.

If I wanted to put that detail into a poem, I wouldn’t say “here’s a thing that used to happen all the time. I would do a thing on my father’s to-do list, and he’d be so happy he’d invite me out for ice cream.”

Instead, I’d introduce my father as a barrel-chested former weight-lifter, who was not a hugger, who commuted for decades to an office job that he hated, and but hummed happily when he was sanding boards and chopping wood. On one day he was grumpy after doing his taxes, and I saw him making a cup of coffee and putting on his work clothes, so I turned off my video game and dashed out the back door, so that he’d see me uncoiling the garden hose and setting up the lawn sprinkler. Instead of just TELLING you that I noticed the tension leave his body; I’d SHOW that as he took in what he saw, his hands slowly unclenched, and he went back inside. When I came in a little later, he was humming to himself while flipping through the sports page, and he asked if I wanted to go out for ice cream.

I wouldn’t add a line about how “I’ll never forget how it felt when he reached across the back of the car seat to give my neck an affectionate squeeze”. Instead, I’d come up with a simile to describe the weight of his hand on my neck, and then I’d flash back to my very first memory, which is of my father holding me above his head, telling me to straighten out like a board and pressing my nose against the ceiling; and then I’d flash forward to a few months ago when I visited him, now well into his 80s; he had some trouble getting out of a chair, and without interrupting his story about a play the Bears made, he just casually reached out his hand so I could help him stand.

My poem would be full of references to hands and touching, but I probably wouldn’t title it “The Touch of My Father’s Hand” and I wouldn’t insult the reader by announcing the poem’s theme. I would just pick these specific memories of physical contact with my father, and I would try to make each one of them meaningful sensory experiences to the reader. I wouldn’t insert commentary listing my own feelings, and I wouldn’t try to tell the reader how they were supposed to react.

What are some other ways that your father’s eyes have been meaningful to you? Let your reader get to know your father’s eyes in happier times, so that we can feel the contrast for ourselves.

Thank you for your input Dennis. This is why I put it out there. I wanted to know how and what I can improve on. I’ll look at all you examples and hopefully learn from them. Again, thank you!

Sir may I ask permission if I can cite your tips in the module that I am writing for the Senior High School? I just found your tips practical for the high school students.

Yes, you may cite these tips.

your comment is longer then the article

What an eloquently phrased and well-supported response. So persuasive, too!

That is good but I think you should work on organizing it to specific lines

I am learning

I happened to write few poems without knowing how to write.. Thank you for all d informations .. I shall follow the instructions and see how my poetry writing skill changes over the months🙏Ranbir laishram

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One may secure 9/9 band in IELTS but writing poetry in English is it self a new subject. It is very well written article and if followed the correct steps as described above. It can help improve the poetry writing skills a lot. One should pay attention to the following questions.

“What should I write poems about?” “How should I decide the right form for my poem?” “What are common mistakes that new poets make, and how can I avoid them?” “How do I write free verse/blank verse/sonnets/haikus etc.?”

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I think a good poet is very good at observing their surroundings. They are able to push these elements of life into creative writing, which can be in the form of poetry. I liked the poem by Sean Francisco in the comments. Poem Spark – Beautiful title.

Wow,wonderful explanations and recommendations of poetry.I am a poet too.You can find my poetry blog here https://shreyaspoetry.blogspot.com It is a must visit for poetry lovers.

I really enjoyed your explanation, thanks a million and God bless you with more wisdom.

In the 3rd book in my Butterflies series, I am writing a 3rd section on poem structure. Now I have my own idea about how a poem is written and I just had to run a Google search for comparison.

I just wrote this poem in maybe 30 minutes, good or bad, you all call it. I like it pretty good, I think. I’m definitely adding it to my next book.

No offense, This is my Poem Spark.

An ancient Jeraboam, would want you to know, there is but one poem, it’s of our soul.

Its wine warmed in the heart, God given to man. There is just one start, with all the world at your hand.

Don’t be afraid! Yes, sing us your song. It’s your history made. You can do no wrong.

After your gold, gleams light on the dark please always be so bold, you make a Poem Spark.

Sean Francisco

thanks for the great job Dan


My father wrote this poem; I don’t know if you can consider this as a poem coz i don’t know what figure of speech or style he employed here. Would appreciate your expertise here c: Thank you in advance!


My People My poor people My suffering people My forsaken people Fooled and deceived Dazzled and misled Silenced and blinded Lulled and deluded Swindled and cheated Plundered and looted Burdened and tormented Trapped and exploited Captured and manipulated Trampled and invaded Swamped and dominated Starved and enslaved Denied and deserted Blamed and derided Ignored and dismayed Shamed and prostituted Mortgaged and conveyed Condemned and uprooted Terrorized and bullied Paralyzed and BETRAYED

By ruthless self-proclaimed leaders And by scheming alien invaders Who in reality are deceivers Who in truth are exploiters Who in fact are slavers Who in short are BETRAYERS Of my poor and endangered people A PEOPLE BETRAYED

A people full of sorrows A people full of sufferings A people full of burden A people full of pain A people full of despair A people full of confusion A people full of shame A people full of difficulties A people full of tragedies A people full of nightmares

Fooled and deceived Dazzled and misled Silenced and blinded Lulled and deluded Swindled and cheated Plundered and looted Burdened and tormented Trapped and exploited Captured and manipulated Trampled and invaded Swamped and dominated Starved and enslaved Denied and deserted Blamed and derided Ignored and dismayed Shamed and prostituted Mortgaged and conveyed Condemned and uprooted Terrorized and bullied Paralyzed and BETRAYED

A nation full of fools A nation full of slaves A nation full of beggars A nation full of captives

A nation full of cowards A nation full of idiots A nation full of sycophants A nation full of robots

A nation full of liars A nation full of hypocrites A nation full of clowns A nation full of puppets

A nation full of rascals A nation full of maniacs A nation full of crooks A nation full of monkeys

A nation full of deserters A nation full of bystanders A nation full of profiteers A nation full of racketeers

A nation full of pretenders A nation full of blusterers A nation full of squanderers A nation full of blunderers

A nation full of deceivers A nation full of invaders A nation full of conspirators A nation full of saboteurs

A nation full of slanderers A nation full of distorters A nation full of captors A nation full of tormentors

A nation full of exploiters A nation full of plunderers A nation full of oppressors A nation full of traitors

My people My poor people My suffering people My forsaken people My starving people My condemned people A people deceived A people misled A people exploited A people dominated A people enslaved A PEOPLE BETRAYED!

that’s not a poem, just a list of words. it literally does the opposite of all the tips given above, i.e. not a single concrete image to help the reader see in their own head. “my poor people” gives the reader zero visually, emotionally. who are the people? if concrete details were described — their unique clothes, or land, or actions — the reader would see them. right now, they are invisible.

a tip not given above: Compress! make the poem as short as possible to convey the idea. who wants to read or hear the phrase “a nation” 36 times, or “people” 30 times?.

I can certainly imagine an in-person recitation of this composition being very personal, very passionate, and very meaningful. Spoken-word performances are very different creatures from the kind of literary poetry that this page covers. This text states that a certain list of adjectives apply “in reality,” “in truth” and “in fact” to a certain group, but as “J z” mentioned a list of words doesn’t work on the reader’s emotions in the way that literary poetry does. We’d need to depend up seeing your father’s face, hearing his voice, and knowing about your relationship to your father, in order for these words to have the kind of effect on us that they may have on you.

What do these words mean to your father? What does he mean to you? How can you make us, the reader, feel those relationships?

No the above tips are useful only bro 😉😉😉

Just a list of words, where the author tries too hard to make it relevant that they know an average amount of vocabulary. There is no story, no continuity, no rhythm.

Do you have any constructive criticism to offer? It’s okay if this poem doesn’t use the techniques you prefer.

I don’t know exactly it is a poem or not. I can feel it because now in my country, Myanmar (formerly Burma), our People are suffering the same the author writes about.

YES! This is a poem.. Superb

My first attempt:

Her red lipstick covered lips raised like the oceans blue waves.

Her happiness is like the silver stared night sky.

The night sky is like a calm breeze brushing against her skin on a warm summer night.

The breeze is like her inner breath. Breathing comes to her like a diligent and vibrant brush stroke.

Her happiness is like the sweet aroma of the calming ocean saltwater.

Her happiness relies on others like stain colored glass relies on the very sand beneath her fingertips.

What do you guys think!! I need constructive criticism!

Very well, thought out

This is totally the best I’ve seen. It’s also an inspiration.

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Online undergraduate-level course, creative writing: poetry.


Authored by Pat Pattison

Course Code: OLART-215

Next Semester Starts June 26, 2023

3-credit tuition, non-credit tuition.

Creative Writing: Poetry is a course for writers—songwriters, poets, and anyone who wants to write more effectively. The course—authored by Pat Pattison, who developed the curriculum for the only songwriting major in the country at Berklee—will give you specific tools to help you craft and control your writing. You will be taken through a step-by-step process, each step handing you another tool to give what you say more power. You'll learn how to enhance your ideas through arranging lines into odd or even numbered line groups and creating either a feeling of tension or resolution with the composition itself, independent of the poem's meaning. You'll learn placement, timing, focus, and especially how to use rhythm in language expressively.

  • Write clearly and strongly
  • Precisely control form and composition
  • Counter-point lines against phrases to create musical effects
  • Use language rhythms to create tension and resolution
  • Understand the relationship between poetry and music
  • Deeply understand prosody, the fundamental principle underlying not only poetry, but art in general

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Lesson 1: Prose vs. Poetry

  • Prose: Phrase Lengths
  • Sentence Construction: Simple Sentences
  • Compound Sentences
  • Sentence Types
  • Lines with Multiple Phrases
  • Units of Composition

Lesson 2: Managing End-Stops 

  • Creating Subordinate Clauses
  • Stable and Unstable Groupings
  • "Days" by Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Instability
  • Student Poetry Examples
  • Switching Line Order

Lesson 3: Managing Caesuras 

  • Frontal, Medial, and Terminal Caesuras
  • Creating Tension
  • Emerson's Handling of Caesuras
  • Creating Motion

Lesson 4: Managing Enjambment

  • Moving from Light to Heavy
  • Other Movement
  • Managing Enjambment

Lesson 5: Writing in Iambic Pentameter

  • Stressed and Unstressed Syllables
  • Iambic Pentameter
  • Blending Languages
  • Why Pentameter?
  • English Poetry
  • Groove and Variation
  • "Distractions" by Emma Joy Hanley
  • "The Woman with Fire Engine Nails" by Caroline Harvey
  • Learning your Craft

Lesson 6: Substituting in Iambic Pentameter

  • Substituting in Iambic Pentameter
  • Themes and Variations
  • Creating Emotion
  • "After Long Silence" by William Butler Yeats
  • Substitutions in "After Long Silence"
  • Going Against Expectations

Lesson 7: Writing in Blank Verse 

  • Writing in Blank Verse
  • "Birches" by Robert Frost
  • "Ulysses" by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
  • Compositional Tools
  • "Spring" by Elisa Lomazzo
  • "Christmas Cheer" by Ian Henchy

Lesson 8: Blank Verse Again 

  • More on Blank Verse
  • Blank Verse and Substitutions
  • "A Wake" by Ryan Toll
  • "Still" by Rachel Borovik

Lesson 9: Using Rhyme

  • Using Rhyme
  • Sound in Poetry
  • Rhyme Schemes
  • Perfect Rhyme
  • Consonance Rhyme
  • More on Consonance Rhyme
  • Rhyme Schemes Revisited
  • "Ode to the West Wind" by Percy Bysshe Shelley

Lesson 10: English (or Shakespearean) Sonnet

  • English or Shakespearean Sonnet
  • "When I Have Fears" by John Keats
  • Modern Sonnets
  • "Putting in the Seed" by Robert Frost
  • "Baby Running Barefoot" by D. H. Lawrence

Lesson 11: Italian (or Petrarchian) Sonnet

  • The Italian (or Petrarchian) Sonnet
  • The First Eight Lines
  • "In Memoriam" by Alfred, Lord Tennyson
  • The Italian Sonnet Road Map
  • "Mezzo Cammin" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  • "Grief" Elizabeth Barret Browning
  • "Design" by Robert Frost
  • The ccdeed sestet
  • e. e. cummings
  • e. e. cummings Variation

Lesson 12: The Terza Rima

  • The Terza Rima
  • Robert Frost
  • The First Quatrain
  • The Second Quatrain


Prerequisites and course-specific requirements .

This course does not have any prerequisites.

English Proficiency Requirements

All students enrolled in this course must know English well enough to:

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  • Participate successfully in written and oral class discussions
  • Read, write, and study without being hindered by language problems
  • Possess intermediate or advanced grammar skills related to punctuation and verb conjugation

Though the course uses a rudimentary musical vocabulary, no musical training is required.

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After enrolling, please check the Getting Started section of your course for potential deals on required materials. Our Student Deals page also features several discounts you can take advantage of as a current student. Please contact [email protected]  for any questions.

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Pat Pattison

Pat Pattison is a professor at Berklee College of Music, where he teaches lyric writing and poetry. In addition to his four books, Songwriting Without Boundaries  (Penguin/Random House), Writing Better Lyrics, 2nd Edition (Penguin/Random House), The Essential Guide to Lyric Form and Structure (Hal Leonard), and The Essential Guide to Rhyming (Hal Leonard), Pat has developed several online courses for Berklee Online. He has written more than 50 articles for various blogs and magazines, including American Songwriter , and has chapters in both The Poetics of American Song Lyrics (University Press of Mississippi) and The Handbook on Creative Writing (Edinburgh University Press).

Eric Leva

Eric Leva is a songwriter, singer, producer, and classically trained pianist from Massachusetts. Leva has studied at the New England Conservatory of Music and Berklee College of Music. Following his studies, Leva spent time in New York City to hone his craft and develop his writing. A songwriting award from the ASCAP Foundation eventually sparked a move to Los Angeles to pursue more collaborations. His recent releases include Kesha, DNCE, Wes Period, and Rozzi.

Sarah Anne Stinnett

Sarah Anne Stinnett is a multi-disciplinary artist and educator. Since 2017 she has served as Teaching Assistant for Harvard Extension and Harvard Summer Schools in the subjects of speech, communication, and social media. At Lesley University she is Teaching Assistant for Musical Theater Writing and instructs curriculum in collaboration, voice, and performance. Her core tenets in teaching are as in life: employ unparalleled curiosity, to do is to discover, and a life of learning and imagination is impelled by the study of the masters before.

What's Next?

When taken for credit, Creative Writing: Poetry can be applied towards these associated programs:

Associated Certificate Programs

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Associated Degree Majors

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  • Bachelor's Degree in Songwriting
  • Bachelor's Degree in Guitar Performance
  • (Pre-Degree) Undeclared Option
  • Bachelor's Degree in Songwriting and Producing Music

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Writing Forward

100 Poetry Prompts

by Melissa Donovan | Jan 24, 2023 | Poetry Prompts | 10 comments

poetry prompts

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.


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.


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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Navigate ohio, connect with us, creative writing graduate wins hollis summers poetry prize.

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Katie Berta

The Ohio University Press is pleased to announce Katie Berta (Ph.D., ’17) as the latest winner of the press’ Hollis Summers Poetry Prize . Berta’s winning manuscript is titled “Retribution Forthcoming.” The poet received her Ph.D. in English (creative writing) from Ohio University and is currently the managing editor of “The Iowa Review.”

The Hollis Summers Poetry Prize is named for the distinguished poet who taught for many years at Ohio University and made Athens, Ohio, the subject of many of his poems. The annual prize has been awarded since 1997. Winning poets receive $1,000 and publication of their manuscript by Ohio University Press.

The final round judge for this year’s prize was award-winning poet Claire Wahmanholm, who selected the winner from ten anonymous finalists. The prize’s series editor is poet Sarah Green (Ph.D. ’15).

Berta says, “I feel so honored and grateful—to judge Claire Wahmanholm, to series editor Sarah Green, and to the folks at Ohio University Press—to have received this award.”  

“I never could have written this book without having studied at OHIO,” Berta attests. “Most of the poems contained in it were written during my Ph.D. studies or in the years directly following my graduation, and they reflect the concerns that became primary to me during my time there, like women's bodily autonomy, class conformity, and the lives of animals.” 

Although Berta lives out of state, she acknowledges, “it is a sweet thing to publish this book with a press that is housed in the place that facilitated so many of these poems’ production—and that is rooted in Appalachian Ohio, where much of my family lives.”

“Retribution Forthcoming” is Berta’s first book. It will be published in April 2024 to coincide with National Poetry Month.

The Ohio University Press was incorporated in 1947, formally organized by Ohio University President Vernon Alden in 1964, and has since established itself as a leading publisher of books about Africa, Appalachia, the Midwest, and many other topics. Its books are regularly covered by prominent national and international news and review media, and frequently appear in academic and literary journals. 

Climate fictions to diaspora reflections: Meet the AAPI Creative Writing Prize winners

creative writing poem

Every year, the Creative Writing Program hosts a writing competition, calling on students to enter their work in a wide number of prize categories . With submissions due in late April, the winners were announced last Friday; notably, several prize recipients identified as Asian American/Pacific Islander (AAPI). In honor of May being AAPI Heritage Month, The Daily sat down with a number of these students to discuss their work. 

Nandita Naik BS ’23 MS ’24 – Bocock/Guerard Fiction, Second Prize – “ When I Grow Up, I Want to Be a Fossil ”

Set in a near-future dystopian world’s prehistoric-themed amusement park, “When I Grow Up, I Want to Be a Fossil” follows a young woman’s search for a sense of agency amid the chaos caused by uncontrolled wildfires. The piece came about during Naik’s Levinthal Tutorial with Stegner Fellow mentor Georgina Beaty, when Naik said she set out to write climate fiction. 

The prize-winning fiction story is marked by the depth with which Naik describes prehistoric events and creatures. This is drawn from her broader “interest in the stories of the past,” which she attributes as being “learned from [her] heritage.” During childhood visits to her grandparents in India, Naik enjoyed reading historical and mythological comic books. 

“Mythology and history were presented with equal authority, which was really interesting,” she said. “I didn’t grow up [in India] so learning about the stories that took place and approaching everything with a sense of humbleness really affects the way that I write.”

Yu chen (Rellie) Liu ’24 – Creative Nonfiction, Second Prize – “ Last Breaths ”

In her piece “Last Breaths,” Liu offers readers a peek into a summer spent in her hometown of Dalian, China, during the pandemic. She utilizes a braided narrative to draw connections between her experience learning how to freedive and her time volunteering in a morgue. As Liu learned how to appropriately hold her breath underwater, she also observed how funeral practices brought mourners peace after loved ones had taken their last breaths.

During this time, Liu was grappling with her grandparents’ passing. She described herself as “on the run from [her] hometown for a very long time,” but said she found solace in diving. 

“I was living in all sorts of different places — just not in my hometown — so the diving experience was really calming in a certain sense,” Liu said. “It made me realize that I wanted to face death instead of run away from it.”

Through her involvement with the morgue and attending her family members’ funerals, Liu learned about the Chinese traditions around mourning, from the feng shui of a grave’s location to the order in which relatives burn funerary incense.

While these new kernels of cultural knowledge informed her summer spent in China, Liu described her creative nonfiction piece as focused upon her “psychological growth.” Coming to terms with her grandparents’ deaths taught her that “death is not the opposite of life, but a part of it” — a Haruki Murakami quote which prefaces Liu’s self-transformative piece. 

Max Du ’24 – Creative Nonfiction, Third Prize – “ All the Stars in the Air ”

“All the Stars in the Air” chronicles Du’s experience growing up with family pressure to engage in various athletic activities. Having immigrated to New York from mainland China, Du’s mother sought to help him assimilate into a vision of the “American Male” who excels in sports. As a means to this end, she offered her son incentives in the form of illegal fireworks.

When approaching the topic, Du aspired to write about his mother in a compassionate manner and understand the reason behind her attempts to help Du fit in with his American peers in a village that was “95% white,” according to Du.

“I use the term ‘broad brushstrokes’ [as a metaphor for] the larger perspectives of this white identity she saw onto me,” Du said about his mother. “She did really come from a place of love and compassion as a lot of moms do. She just saw a prototype of the world and she tried to get me to adapt to it.”

While Du’s mother did encourage his assimilation to her vision of an American identity, she still tried to maintain connections with the family’s Chinese cultural roots. For instance, Du’s parents would go to an Asian market for groceries rather than the local American market. 

“I think that this is a common narrative of ‘Where does my culture stay and where do I have to leave for this newer culture?’” Du said. “But I think there are ways of making the culture you’re born into and a new one collaborate together.”

Huali Kim-O’Sullivan ’23 – Planet Earth Arts Creative Writing, First Prize – “ NALU ”

“Nalu,” roughly meaning “wave” in Hawaiian, depicts the struggles of a diasporic Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiian) girl who returns to Hawai’i just to encounter a climate disaster that damages her home and community. The story draws heavily upon Kim-O’Sullivan’s personal experience as a diasporic Pacific Islander seeing the impact of climate change on her family.

From her personal understanding, many members of the Pacific Islander diaspora hope to reconnect with their homelands in the Pacific because of the deep, emotional ties many have with the land. It is “where the bones of our people are and we are made out of the bones that are made out of that land,” according to Kim-O’Sullivan.

Seeing how meaningful the physical space is to the hearts of Pacific Islanders — whether they live on their homeland or not — the threat of climate change is quite frightening. Even if the islands aren’t going underwater, many residents of the Pacific have to grapple with a future where weather and storms may become so violent that their homes are no longer safe.

“That scares me as someone who is diasporic and someone who doesn’t want to be separated from my culture or my people or my community, because even though growing up in the diaspora is fantastic, there can be a lot of loneliness and isolation — especially when you’re not able to find community in certain spaces,” Kim-O’Sullivan said.

Isabella Nguyen Tilley ’23 – Planet Earth Arts Creative Writing, Third Prize – “ There Will Be Fire ”

Drawing from Tilley’s Vietnamese-American heritage, “There Will Be Fire” is a speculative fiction piece centered around an intergenerational Vietnamese American family that is being uprooted from Clovis, CA in the 2060s due to the impending danger of a wildfire. 

Being exiled from a place that has been home to generations of one’s family is unfortunately a familiar feeling for a number of Vietnamese-American refugees — as expressed by a body of Vietnamese American literature — but is not exclusive to a single cultural identity, according to Tilley. 

“There’s a nostalgia and longing [in the story], which is relatable to a lot of other diasporic communities,” Tilley said.

Many of the story’s character dynamics and identities came to Tilley “intuitively.” As Tilley was most familiar with the feeling of having a Vietnamese mother, the family of Vietnamese Americans in their story featured only women. 

Lora Supandi BA, MA ’23 – Urmy/Hardy Poetry, First Prize – “Bandung Funeral”

In their poem “Bandung Funeral,” Supandi centers on residents of Bandung, Indonesia during a period of time preceding an infant’s funeral. 

Supandi is interested in how historical events shape mortality and what hope looks like during times of imperialism and genocide. A question their work considers is, “How are we pierced by cultural memory – the ephemeral, its decay, morphed by grief, history and generational wounds?”

Supandi seeks to understand the ways by which their Indonesian American community can be freed from oppression within the US. They utilize bilingual poetry as a vehicle to connect with their Hakka Indonesian heritage and history. This writing medium is also a way to explore core themes like love, heartache and devotion — which “pull us back to one another” — in the face of such tragedy, according to Supandi. 

“In a society where punishments often enact a sentencing, poetry can be a space to seek possibilities outside of these harmful systems,” Supandi wrote. “In my writing, I want to break away from closure.”

Kate Li ’25– Urmy/Hardy Poetry, Second Prize – “ As Relic, As Remnant ”

The trend of residential displacement in hometown Chicago, IL inspired Li to write “As Relic, As Remnant.” The poet has come to see the process of gentrification as something “modern society is willing to do a lot of in order to prove itself as ‘contemporary’ or ‘striving for change.’” 

Displacing traditional values or customs in the name of growth is an idea expressed in Li’s work — namely, through the themes of cultural artifacts, bodily imagery and historical processes. Communities that are displaced in urbanization and modernization changes often don’t get their voices heard. Thus, Li sees poetry as “a practice that reframes these acts not from the side of people with the most agency, but instead from the side of people who become by-products of these processes.”

Having such a marginalizing experience is a pattern that Li has noticed among the Asian American community. 

“Our narratives are frequently rewritten by whatever society and social practices we’re inducted into,” Li said. “Coming from this Asian background, it’s become really important to reframe your history as one that belongs to you and not the people whose frameworks you operate within. This is a practice that I build upon and is especially critical for the formation of this poem.”

Malia Maxwell ’23 – Urmy/Hardy Poetry, Third Prize – “Pō”

“Pō,” or “Night,” (roughly translated from Hawaiian) is a dictionary poem, which delves into the poetic and associative definitions of a particular word, beyond its conventional meaning. As Maxwell began learning the Hawaiian language, she was inspired to explore the meaning of certain Hawaiian words. 

According to Maxwell, Hawaiian can be a metaphorical language since the words have many different meanings. As such, Hawaiian words don’t always map onto English terms very well. Some are used as a noun, verb and adjective. In “Pō,” Maxwell explores Hawaiian word use as an aspect of the culture.

“I moved through noun meanings of the word, verb meanings of the word and adjective meanings of the word using these different sentences,” Maxwell said. “They don’t necessarily all connect with one another directly, but I think overall, they kind of build up to a certain something.”

Some words in Hawaiian have more meaning and emotion behind them than can be conveyed by their direct English translation. For instance, “Aloha ‘āina” and “Mālama ‘āina” are used to speak of one’s “love for the land,” and are associated with the “love, reverence and [protectiveness]” that Kanaka Maoli (Native Hawaiians) may feel toward their homeland. Maxwell aspired to make readers feel this profound sentiment.

Speaking about the land, she said she wanted to capture “its power as something that demands respect from the reader.”

Kelly Wang is a writer for The Daily. Contact them at new 'at' stanforddaily.com.

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Beyond Words: The Emotional Impact of Writing Poetry while Caregiving Fading Memories: Alzheimer's/Dementia Support

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Caregivers of loved ones with Alzheimer's face a range of challenges, including emotional stress, physical exhaustion, and financial strain. One way that caregivers can cope with these challenges is by engaging in creative expression. Using poetry as a form of bite-sized journaling can be an effective way for caregivers to process their experiences and emotions. Joining me this week is Margaret Stawoway. Margaret is the editor of the compilation book, "Storms of the Inland Sea: Poems of Alzheimer’s and Dementia Caregiving " She's here to talk about how caregivers can use poetry as bite-sized journaling and gain all the same benefits of the longer-form writing. Writing and creative expression have been shown to have therapeutic benefits, including reducing stress and anxiety, improving mood, and enhancing overall well-being. Poetry can be a powerful tool for self-expression, as it allows caregivers to capture complex emotions and experiences in a condensed and impactful way. Poetry journaling can also help caregivers make sense of their experiences and find meaning in their caregiving journey. Bite-sized journaling involves writing brief, focused exercises that can be done quickly and easily. Caregivers can use poetry prompts to help them get started with their writing. Examples of poetry prompts that caregivers can use include: "Describe a moment of joy you experienced today" "Write about a difficult decision you had to make" "Write a letter to your loved one with Alzheimer's" To get started with poetry journaling, caregivers can set aside a specific time and place for writing, use free-form writing techniques, and not worry about grammar or structure. Please enjoy this poem from the book. The Bath The tub fills inch by inch,as I kneel beside it, trail my fingers in the bright braid of water. Mom perches on the toilet seat, entranced by the ritual, until she realizes the baths for her. Oh no, she says, drawing her three layers of shirts to her chest, crossing her arms and legs. Oh no, I couldn’t, she repeats, brow furrowing, that look I now recognize like an approaching squall. I abandon reason, the hygiene argument, promise a Hershey's bar, if she will just, please, take off her clothes. Oh no, she repeats, her voice rising. Meanwhile, the water is cooling. I strip off my clothes, step into it, let the warm water take me completely, slipping down until only my face shines up, a moon mask. Mom stays with me, interested now in this turn of events. I sit up. Will you wash my back, Mom? So much gone, but let this still be there. She bends over to dip the washcloth in the still warm water, squeezes it, lets it dribble down my back, leans over to rub the butter pat of soap, swiping each armpit, then rinses off the suds with long practiced strokes. I turn around to thank her, catch her smiling, lips pursed, humming,still a mother with a daughter whose back needs washing. --Holly J. Hughes Have you ever had a loved one fall for a spam caller? How about a well-meaning donation request? You can put a stop to those now. Relevate from NeuroReserve

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Budget €750-1500 EUR

Looking for a creative writer to produce an entertaining poem that is under 500 words in length. The purpose of this project is to captivate and engage the reader with a unique and imaginative piece. The ideal candidate will have experience in writing poetry and will be able to create a piece that is both playful and thought-provoking. The format of the written piece should be in a poem style, with the ability to incorporate rhyming and creative language.

Skills: Creative Writing , Ghostwriting , Book Writing , eBooks , Fiction

Project ID: #36689601

Offer to work on this job now! Bidding closes in 6 days

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    Dr. Ed Madden has been coordinating the instruction of Adventures in Creative Writing since 2007. Dr. Madden is the author of four books of poetry: Signals, winner of the 2007 SC Poetry Book Prize; Prodigal: Variations; Nest; and most recently Ark, a memoir in verse about caring for his father.His work appears in The Book of Irish American Poetry (Notre Dame) and Best New Poets 2007, and ...

  18. Poetry Writing Tips: 10 Helpful Hacks for How to Write a Poem

    Tip #1 Know Your Goal. If you don't know where you're going, how can you get there? You need to know what you are trying to accomplish before you begin any project. Writing a poem is no exception. Before you begin, ask yourself what you want your poem to "do."

  19. Creative Writing: Poetry Course

    Non-Credit Tuition. $1,265. Creative Writing: Poetry is a course for writers—songwriters, poets, and anyone who wants to write more effectively. The course—authored by Pat Pattison, who developed the curriculum for the only songwriting major in the country at Berklee—will give you specific tools to help you craft and control your writing ...

  20. 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. Write three haiku.

  21. Creative writing graduate wins Hollis Summers Poetry Prize

    The poet received her Ph.D. in Creative Writing (Poetry) from Ohio University and is currently the managing editor of "The Iowa Review." The Hollis Summers Poetry Prize is named for the distinguished poet who taught for many years at Ohio University and made Athens, Ohio, the subject of many of his poems. The annual prize has been awarded ...

  22. Climate fictions to diaspora reflections: Meet the AAPI Creative

    Every year, the Creative Writing Program hosts a writing competition, calling on students to enter their work in a wide number of prize categories.With submissions due in late April, the winners ...

  23. Beyond Words: The Emotional Impact of Writing Poetry while Caregiving

    Writing and creative expression have been shown to have therapeutic benefits, including reducing stress and anxiety, improving mood, and enhancing overall well-being. Poetry can be a powerful tool for self-expression, as it allows caregivers to capture complex emotions and experiences in a condensed and impactful way.

  24. 100 Poetry Prompts

    Poetry is very focused on images, which means you can truly let your imagination run wild when writing it. Be descriptive, have fun, and don't be afraid to lean into the bizarre. These creative poetry writing prompts will help you craft unique, engaging poems. Pick a colour. Use the 5 senses to explore and inhabit it. Keep a notebook by your bed.

  25. Creative Writing

    Creative Writing (Poetry) Practice in the original composition of poetry supplemented by the reading and analysis of standard works. Each student is expected to prepare a manuscript each week. There will be a weekly workshop meeting and occasional individual conferences. Prerequisite: by application.

  26. Writing

    Budget €750-1500 EUR. Freelancer. Jobs. Creative Writing. Writing. Job Description: Looking for a creative writer to produce an entertaining poem that is under 500 words in length. The purpose of this project is to captivate and engage the reader with a unique and imaginative piece. The ideal candidate will have experience in writing poetry ...