7 Poetry Prompts to Help You Out of a Writing Slump

by Amanda Steele

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We all have those days, or maybe if we are being honest weeks or even months, where we just can’t seem to find inspiration to write. While it can be easy to get into a writing slump, it is a lot harder to pull yourself out of one. Waiting for the muse to strike can be infuriating and disappointing, so sometimes we all have to seek out a little push in the right direction to get those creative juices flowing.

You can find many fun and inspiring poetry prompts out there, but we’ve curated a few of our favorites to get you started. If you have any favorite prompts of your own, please share them with us! We would also love to read any poems that are inspired by the prompts below.

The first two prompts come from this creative list from Kelli Russell Agodon. These are two of our favorites, but you should really check the rest of the list out. You can find her on Twitter @KelliAgodon.

  1. Write a seven-line poem about one of the 7 Deadly Sins that only contains seven words in each of the lines.
  2. Write a poem that is really a love letter to an old flame. To make sure it’s doesn’t slip into sappy,make sure one or more of these words are in the poem: dung beetle, politician, nuclear, exoskeleton, oceanography, pompadour, toilet, copper mug, corn flakes (or any cereal), corkscrew.
  3. This is a poetry prompt I made up. I would love to read your poem if you use this one, and you can find me on Twitter @adamantaflame.
    1. Line 1: Include a color in this line.
      Line 2: Verb a noun. Example: I “tigered”
      Line 3: Use synesthesia in this line
      Line 4: Highlight the sense of smell
      Line 5: Incorporate a strong action verb
      Line 6: Highlight the sense of taste
      Line 7: Make this line rhyme with the last (slant rhyme is fine)
      Line 8: Incorporate the word “sidewalk” into this line.
      Line 9: Use a simile that has to do with the sense of hearing
      Line 10: End with a line that is unexpected and changes the direction of the poem.
  4. Simply put, a tanka poem is a Japanese poem and is similar to a haiku but has two additional lines. A tanka consists of 5 lines and 31 syllables. These poems do not have titles. You can look at some examples here.
    Line 1 – 5 syllables
    Line 2 – 7 syllables
    Line 3 – 5 syllables
    Line 4 – 7 syllables
    Line 5 – 7 syllables
  5. Write a landay. The landay is a form of folk poetry from Afghanistan that is made up of one single couplet. The first line is consists of nine syllables and the second line of thirteen. You can read more about the form and find examples here.
  6. Do a translation. Either of a poem in a second language into your native language, or a poem in your native language into another language if you’re really feeling adventurous. You could also “translate” something from a different medium (like a movie, book, painting, song) into a poem.
  7. Write a found poem. You can use tangible, real material if you want. Cut something up and rearrange it. Black out words on a page. Anything that inspires you.

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Here are a few other sources. Poetry prompts are fun, and sometimes you just can’t get enough. So, why stop with seven?

Between the BarsWriter's DigestLitbridge

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