poetry prompts

100 poetry prompts to motivate and inspire you.

My first love in writing was poetry. In my early teens, writing poetry was a creative and cathartic way to explore my ideas and vent my emotions. Writing poetry was accessible — all I needed was some paper and a pen. It didn’t even require a huge investment of time. I scrawled words onto the page as fast as they flew through my mind, often writing a poem in just a few minutes. It was an exhilarating and satisfying way to express myself.

In time, I learned that poetry had many benefits beyond personal expression. I found myself searching for the perfect meaning, rhyme, and meter in my word choices. I counted out syllables and contemplated line breaks. I experimented with form and structure.

It wasn’t just about dumping my thoughts and emotions onto paper anymore. Writing poetry got me thinking about language. It made me aware of writing as a craft, not just as a form of self-expression.

To this day, I find that there are some aspects of writing that are best learned through the study and practice of poetry, and poetry prompts can provide a framework, a guide, or the spark of an idea that inspires a poem.

After all, the blank page can be intimidating. If we establish some constraints (such as writing a particular form of poetry) or put some guidelines in place (writing about a particular topic), the blank page often becomes less overwhelming.

Whether you’re writing poetry to improve your skills, as a form of self-expression, or just because you find it enjoyable, here are one hundred poetry prompts to inspire you:


100 Poetry Prompts

  1. Write a poem about colors without ever naming any colors in the poem.
  2. Write a poem that tells a story.
  3. Use the following words in a poem: under, thrust, harbor, wind, prance, fall.
  4. Write a poem about the following image: an empty stadium with litter strewn about and one sneaker on the stadium stairs.
  5. Write three haiku.
  6. Write a poem about your first friend.
  7. Write a poem that could be the lyrics to a song.
  8. Use the following words in a poem: fire, spice, burn, chill, tangled.
  9. Write a poem about the following image: an elderly couple lying in lawn chairs, looking at the stars from their backyard.
  10. Write a poem in iambic pentameter (each line is five metrical feet, each foot consists of an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable: da DUM da DUM da DUM da DUM da DUM).
  11. Write a poem about a wild animal.
  12. Write a poem that contains dialogue.
  13. Use the following words in a poem: waves, cliffs, dance, pound, rise.
  14. Write a poem about the following image: a person kneeling at the edge of a lake, peering into the water.
  15. Write a sonnet.
  16. Write a poem about garbage (waste).
  17. Write a poem that has a perfect rhyme at the end of each line.
  18. Use the following words in a poem: dirt, squirm, fingers, sprout, shine.
  19. Write a poem about the following image: an old, dilapidated barn with a caved-in roof and rotting walls.
  20. Write a sestina.
  21. Write a poem about the cosmos.
  22. Write a poem that contains a surprising twist.
  23. Use the following words in a poem: feet, bees, violet, moss, clunk.
  24. Write a poem about the following image: a person (or animal) looking out a fogged-up window on a snowy day.
  25. Write a blackout poem (start with a page of printed text and selectively black-out words; the remaining, unredacted text is the poem).
  26. Write a poem about your country, city, or state.
  27. Write a poem that contains no adverbs or adjectives.
  28. Use the following words in a poem: hunger, curl, click, drill, run.
  29. Write a poem about the following image: a ladder leaning against the side of a massive tree.
  30. Write an ode (a tribute to someone or something).
  31. Write a poem about your greatest accomplishment, personal or professional.
  32. Write a poem that does not contain any rhymes.
  33. Use the following words in a poem: cotton, float, foam, fizz, glam.
  34. Write a poem about the following image: a bag of groceries sitting on the ground in a parking lot.
  35. Write a palindrome poem.
  36. Write a poem about your deepest fear, or write about courage.
  37. Write a poem that contains six numbers but not the number six.
  38. Use the following words in a poem: bow, shoulder, sprawl, whisper, brush.
  39. Write a poem about the following image: a table piled with delicious food.
  40. Write a tanka (five lines, with the following syllabic pattern: 5-7-5-7-7).
  41. Write a poem about dancing.
  42. Write a poem that engages each of the five senses: sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch.
  43. Use the following words in a poem: spin, calculate, lie, march, retreat.
  44. Write a poem about the following image: a phoenix rising from the ashes.
  45. Write a rondel.
  46. Write a poem about your future.
  47. Write a poem that uses an ABABB rhyme scheme.
  48. Use the following words in a poem: hail, port, send, kneel, salute.
  49. Write a poem about the following image: a mountain range seen from a great distance.
  50. Write an acrostic poem (the first letters of each line spell out a word).
  51. Write a poem about the weather.
  52. Write a poem that contains internal rhymes but no end rhymes.
  53. Use the following words in a poem: meet, time, basket, neon, puddle.
  54. Write a poem about the following image: a wild baby animal crouching in the brush, watching its mother from a distance.
  55. Write a concrete (shape) poem (a poem that forms a shape on the page, which can be simple, abstract, or complex).
  56. Write a poem about a momentous, life-changing event.
  57. Write a poem that has exactly one hundred words.
  58. Use the following words in a poem: book, carpet, stick, hide, wander.
  59. Write a poem about the following image: an assembly line in a factory that produces home-assistant robots.
  60. Write a poem that has at least four instances of repetition.
  61. Write a poem about entertainment.
  62. Write a poem that contains a running metaphor.
  63. Use the following words in a poem: satellite, bunker, can, water, dig.
  64. Write a poem about the following image: unusual footprints on a trail in the forest.
  65. Write a ghazal.
  66. Write a poem about childhood.
  67. Write a poem that explores the concept of duality.
  68. Use the following words in a poem: motherboard, lava, smolder, flow, sear.
  69. Write a poem about the following image: gum, mirror, pen, speak, fan.
  70. Write a list poem (for example, a poem that is also a grocery list).
  71. Write a poem about the most thrilling experience you’ve ever had.
  72. Write a poem that is set in a particular time and place.
  73. Use the following words in a poem: lavender, horn, gold, hooves, trot.
  74. Write a poem about the following image: a notebook that is partially burnt.
  75. Write a prose poem (a poem written in paragraphs rather than in verse).
  76. Write a poem about lacking something essential.
  77. Write a poem that is abstract or open to interpretation.
  78. Use the following words in a poem: barn, skyscraper, bicycle, climb, stack.
  79. Write a poem about the following image: a crew of workers eating lunch.
  80. Write a poem of three stanzas, each with three lines, and include the number “three” somewhere in the poem.
  81. Write a poem about a journey.
  82. Write a poem that includes onomatopoeia (words that sound like what they mean — for example, hiss).
  83. Use the following words in a poem: drink, desire, switch, swell, relish.
  84. Write a poem about the following image: a polar bear on a tropical island.
  85. Write a rondelet.
  86. Write a poem about an ordinary day.
  87. Write a poem that includes at least three instances of alliteration, including one each of assonance and consonance.
  88. Use the following words in a poem: buckle, bend, kick, pot, shift.
  89. Write a poem about the following image: an empty raft floating down a river.
  90. Write a limerick (five lines with rhyme scheme AABBA and a naughty attitude).
  91. Write a poem about building something.
  92. Write a poem that contains a pun.
  93. Use the following words in a poem: squeeze, type, mission, gate, blast.
  94. Write a poem about the following image: a bird soaring through sky.
  95. Write a cinquain (five lines, with two syllables in the first line, four in the second, six in the third, eight in the fourth, and two syllables in the final line).
  96. Write a poem about gaining something you’ve never had before.
  97. Write a poem that is optimistic and hopeful.
  98. Use the following words in a poem: airplane, jungle, needle, hike, signal.
  99. Write a poem about the following image: a child exiting the library with a stack of books.
  100. Write a magic 9 poem (nine lines with rhyme scheme ABACADABA).

Did These Poetry Prompts Inspire You?

Which of these poetry prompts inspired you? Were you moved to write a poem? How often do you write poetry? Do you regularly use poetry prompts? What’s your favorite thing about writing poetry?

Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below, and keep writing poetry.

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