EMU Blog

Mar 14 2013

Creative Writing, Poetry Edition

by Hannah Hilbert

Poetry Writing is a daunting task for Creative Writing students across the board, as many feel that they simply do not know where to begin! However, I have seen that it always becomes easier with the aid of a simple prompt. So, whether it’s for a classroom assignment or simply for the stress-relieving qualities of the art, consider some of my favorite prompts to get you started. Maybe you’ll find it’s possible to approach poetry without a sentiment of dread.


Start every line with the words “I Remember”: Then, simply write snippets of any specific memory you have. These may all be connected if you wish, but also may be written a la “Stream of Conscious” style (a.k.a. random of rambling).
Write the first song lyric that pops into your head: This is the first line of your poem. Now add as much as you need to complete a poem based solely on the message from that one line.
Pick up a novel and select a random paragraph. Using the first and last word of each sentence in that paragraph, create an original poem. For an added challenge, replace the missing words with the same number or words and/or syllables.
Find a location full of people: Now write a different stanza for each of the people you observe around you. You may choose to imagine what is going on inside of their heads, or simply describe them as you physically see them.
Go into your phone and select the cutest message you can find in your inbox: Select a single sentence or phrase from that message. Then take that inspiration and incorporate it into an entire poem. This lends itself to a romantic poem most often, though can also become a great friendship poem as well.
Make a list of common phrases you hear from your parents: Select the command words (i.e. “don’t touch”, “take”, “give”) and write a different stanza from each of these words. If possible, direct these commands to someone other than a family member.
I hope these get you started on some great poetry. Which one will you try? Leave me a comment below!

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