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The best poetry writing prompts

Poetry is one of the oldest art forms in history, stretching back to the times when poems were sung and chanted as hymns around a bonfire, but even the greats back then had some help. While a poet of yore had to turn to technology-less sources in their life to find inspiration — music, friends, places, nature, even memories— these days you can simply go online to get the poetry writing prompts you might need to spark poem ideas.

Whether you’re looking to connect with your feelings on the page, understand your perspective on an event, or explore a past experience through the lens of words, poetry writing prompts are a great way to sharpen your writing skills and hone your relationship with language. We hope that these creative writing exercises can assist you in channeling those emotions and help you on your journey as a poet!

To get you started, here are our top ten poetry writing prompts:

  • Write a poem inspired by your favorite color.
  • Write an acrostic poem using the word H-O-M-E.
  • Write a poem based on your happiest memory.
  • Write a haiku about love.
  • Pick a random number. Write a poem with that many stanzas.
  • Write a poem with zero punctuation.
  • Listen to your current surroundings. Write a poem based on what you hear.
  • Write a poem about fall. 
  • Write a poem inspired by your favorite saying.
  • Pick an emotion. Write a poem that expresses that emotion.

If you're looking for some more help writing a poem, check out this free resource:

  • How to Write a Poem (blog post): A poem could be a six-word haiku, or it could be a two-hundred page epic in the veins of Kate Tempest’s Brand New Ancients. Whatever you’re looking to write, this comprehensive series of blog posts will take you through all of the steps involved in writing a poem: from the different types of poetry that you can write to how to write (and publish!) a poem.

Want to expand beyond poetry and learn how to write a short story? Check out How to Write a Short Story That Gets Published — a free, ten day course guiding you through the process of short story writing by Laura Mae Isaacman, a full-time editor who runs a book editing company in Brooklyn.

Ready to start writing? Check out Reedsy’s weekly short story contest, for the chance of winning $250! You can also check out our list of writing contests or our directory of literary magazines for more opportunities to submit your story.


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