2022 Poetry Challenge

I’ve offered to collect prompts for my writing group’s poetry challenge for the month of April, which in the U.S. is National Poetry Month (among a lot of other things). Thanks to the internet for allowing me to scour and collect the following list:

  1. Write a poem that engages with a strange and fascinating fact. It could be an odd piece of history or something just plain weird.
  2. Write a poem that includes images that engage all five senses.
  3. Write a poem that takes the form of a warning label . . . for yourself!
  4. Take one of the following statements of something impossible, and then write a poem in which the impossible thing happens:
    • The sun can’t rise in the west.
    • A circle can’t have corners.
    • Pigs can’t fly.
    • The clock can’t strike thirteen.
    • The stars cannot rearrange themselves in the sky.
    • A mouse can’t eat an elephant.
  5. Write a poem that humanizes your favorite villain.
  6. Write a poem of simultaneity – in which multiple things are happing at once. Emily Dickinson’s “I heard a Fly buzz – when I died”
  7. Write a poem that is about something abstract – perhaps an ideal like “beauty” or “justice,” but which discusses or describes that abstraction in the form of concrete nouns.
  8. Write an ode praising something society has told you that you need to be ashamed of.
  9. Turn on the radio to a station of music you don’t traditionally listen to. Don’t turn it off until you’ve finished a poem.
  10. Write a poem on how to do something mundane most people take for granted, such as how to tie your shoes, how to turn on a lamp, or how to pour a cup of coffee.
  11. Write a poem with no more than twenty-five words, including the title.
  12. Write a poem about a thunderstorm in your attic (or another form of weather indoors).
  13. Write a poem about a person you lost contact with several years ago.
  14. Pick up the book nearest to you. The last line of the book is the first line of your poem.
  15. Think about something you own that is broken and write about possible ways to fix it. Duct tape? A hammer and nails? Get metaphorical/abstract/fantasy.
  16. Write a poem about after the party – when all of your guests have gone home.
  17. Write a poem telling someone they were wrong and why.
  18. Write a poem where you admit you were wrong and why.
  19. Imagine there are ladders that take you up to the clouds. What could be up there? What feelings do you have about climbing the ladders, or is there a mystery as to how they got there in the first place?
  20. Write a poem about the magic word someone needs to access your true self.
  21. Write a poem about doing your least favorite chore.
  22. Write a poem about building a fire.
  23. Write a poem about waking up.
  24. Write a poem about the necessity of making mistakes.
  25. Write an ode to a stranger you see on the street.
  26. Write about feeling lost in a crowd.
  27. Write a poem that personifies a letter that never made it to its recipient.
  28. Write about the last picture that you took.
  29. Write about why the keys get lost – perhaps what the keys are saving the person from down the line by delaying them.
  30. Write a poem in which the words or meaning of a familiar phrase get up-ended. For example, if you chose the phrase “A stitch in time saves nine,” you might reverse that into something like: “a broken thread; I’m late, so many lost.”

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