Brainstorm a list based on these items:
Write a poem to someone living in the future that contains the joy and sorrow and messiness of today.
Example Poem: Letter to Someone Living Fifty Years from Now by Matthew Olzmann
Imagine your parents as younger versions of themselves and answer the following questions:
Write a poem telling the mythology of your parents meeting. Try to be as detailed as possible. Feel free to imagine and invent parts of the story you don’t know.
Example Poems: the last time marvin gaye was heard in the sudan & the lovers, both by Safia Elhillo
Prompt Source: YCA Blog
Brainstorm lists for the following items:
Use your list to write a poem about how dope you are, celebrating your strengths as well as your flaws.
Example Poem: Ego Tripping (there may be a reason why) by Nikki Giovanni
Prompt Source: YCA Blog
Make this poem as weird as you can. You are going to write a poem where you seem to b apologizing for something, but you are obviously not sorry because your excuses will be so unusual.
Example Poem: Compulsively Allergic to the Truth by Jeffrey McDaniel
Source: The Crafty Poet by Diane Lockward
You are going to create some strange metaphors. and similes.
Brainstorm a list of abstract concepts (e.g. justice, racism, wisdom, compassion) or emotions (e.g. love, hate, jealousy, despair, grief, happiness).
Brainstorm a second list of concrete nouns or proper nouns (garage, dog, moonlight, engine, etc.)
Take a word from each list and put together with one of these two phrases:
Metaphors: [abstract concept} is a [concrete noun}
Similes: [abstract concept] is like a [concrete noun]
Take some risks and make the comparison as unexpected as possible.
Example: justice and rusted out old car
Add an additional line to your phrase that elaborates or explains the metaphor or simile.
Love is like a hurricane. It hits you unexpectedly. You are lulled by the calm at the center of it. Then you are devastated when it leaves.
Loneliness is a a rickety old green chair in a a corner of a dark room. Everyone knows it is there collecting dust. No one thinks of taking it out in the sunlight to fix it up, give it new life.
If you want to create a poem out of one of your metaphors or similes, try using a list poem format or try using an extended metaphor where you expand on your initial idea into a full story.
Here are two example poems:
Heart by Dorianne Laux,
Broken Promises by David Kirby
Brainstorm a list of places you would be least likely to find each of the four elements: earth, air, fire, water.
Example: Fire -
Make up a list of verbs that you would least associate with each element.
Prompt: Combine the material from both lists plus any other material. Focus on your relationship with parents, friends, a potential (or current) significant other.
Write a piece set in summertime that explores the sadness and beauty amidst the struggles of life.
Freewrite for a few minutes about these three items:
Example Poem: Crazy Barbecue at Jefferson Park by Willie Perdomo
Example Song: Sunshine by Atmosphere
The Prompt: Write a poem to name and defend your people.
Brainstorm answers to these questions:
Write a poem where the each line starts with a new letter of the alphabet, from A-Z or whatever number of letters you want to include.
Examples: A Poem for S. by Jessica Greenbaum & Alphabet Street by Randall Mann & Abecedarian Requiring Further Examination of Anglikan Seraphym Subjugation of a Wild Indian Rezervation by Natalie Diaz
Write a poem where the letter on the left side spell out a word, or phrase.
Examples: A Boat, Beneath a Sunny Sky by Lewis Carroll & An Acrostic by Edgar Allan Poe
Start with a story
24 word Poem
Write a poem that tells a story in exactly 24 words. Then rewrite it using just 12 of the words. Then just 6. Try to keep the essential meaning of the poem, but see how it changes with fewer words, and possibly, slightly different shades of meaning.
Cross Out Poem
Think of a story about something that has happened in your life. Freewrite for about 10 minutes where you put as many details as you can remember.
When you are done, cross out as many unnecessary words as you can. You should end up with just the essential strong words and details. Shape it into a poem.
American Sentences are a poetry form created by the poet Allen Ginsberg. It is kind of like the American version of Haiku poems.
The challenge is to write an observation or story or scene in one sentence that is exactly 17 syllables.
Here are some examples by Ginsberg:
This is a playlist with a series of odes written by teen poets on the Get Lit YouTube channel.
This is On Ode to the Midwest by Kevin Young. It is performed by poet M. Ayodele Heath.
This is a short film featuring Kevin Coval's Ode to Footwork. The poem is performed by Kevin Coval.