Tag Archives: Poetry Prompt

Summer Image Poetry Prompt

Photo by Anthony Flaco

Photo by Anthony Flaco

Summer. The season when daylight and warm temperatures prevail and vacation plans come to fruition. Unless of course you are a gardener – in which case you have probably been examining seed catalogs since February and plotting flower beds and furrows on graph paper since January.

For this first week of June, which marks the seasonal beginning of the summer season if not the astronomical, write a summer inspired poem. That is, write a poem based on whatever summer images inspire you, whether its swimming pools and car trips, camping by the lake or in the foothills, or canning tomatoes in a steamy kitchen.

Or perhaps you are a person who prefers winter months over summer and who finds summer not so much an inspiration as something to survive. Feel free to use your discontent as fodder for your poem.

Below is a summer inspired poem  to spark a creative flame (or a bit of malcontent) to help get you started:

Vespers
by Louise Glück

In your extended absence, you permit me
use of earth, anticipating
some return on investment. I must report
failure in my assignment, principally
regarding the tomato plants.
I think I should not be encouraged to grow
tomatoes. Or, if I am, you should withhold
the heavy rains, the cold nights that come
so often here, while other regions get
twelve weeks of summer. All this
belongs to you: on the other hand,
I planted the seeds, I watched the first shoots
like wings tearing the soil, and it was my heart
broken by the blight, the black spot so quickly
multiplying in the rows. I doubt
you have a heart, in our understanding of
that term. You who do not discriminate
between the dead and the living, who are, in consequence,
immune to foreshadowing, you may not know
how much terror we bear, the spotted leaf,
the red leaves of the maple falling
even in August, in early darkness: I am responsible
for these vines.

Share your poem in the comments section below.

Line a Day Writing Exercise

Write one line of poetry, inspired by any images you encounter, for each day of the week. Pay special attention to those images that engage your sense of sight, smell, taste, touch and hearing. Favor tactile images over cognitive ones.

If you like the seven lines you created at the end of the week, write another seven over the course of the following week and combine them to fashion a kind of sonnet.

Rondeau Poetry Prompt

Today’s prompt comes from Frances Mayes’ “The Discovery of Poetry”

Write a a Rondeau:

A Rondeau is a poem consisting of fifteen lines arranged in a quintet (five-line stanza), a quatrain (four-line stanza) and a sestet (six-line stanza). The first few words of the first line act as a refrain in lines 9 and 15. These refrain lines do not rhyme, but repeating the fragments seems to imply the rest of the line, including the rhyme. The rhyme, therefore, acts invisibly. The roundeau’s usual rhyme scheme is aabba, aab Refrain. An eight-syllable line is traditional:

Here’s an example:

DEATH OF A VERMONT FARM WOMAN
(Barbara Howes, 1914-)

It is time now to go away?
July is nearly over; hayt winter lingered; it was May
Fattens the barn, the herds are strong
Our old fields prosper; these long
Green evening will keep death at bay.

Last winter lingered; it was May
Before a flowering lilac spray
Barred cold for ever. I was wrong.
Is it time now?

Six decades vanished in a day!
I bore four sons: one lives; they
Were all good men; three dying young
Was hard on us. I have looked long
For these hills to show me where peace lay . . .
Is it time now?

Share your poem in the comments area below.

April is the Cruelest Month

Spring’s tumult stirs the air and moves the poet’s heart. It was T.S. Eliot who lamented:

April is the cruelest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.

Centuries before Eliot’s angst Chaucer wrote this of spring:

Whan that Aprill, with his shoures soote
The drought of March hath perced to the roote
and bathed every veyne in swich licour;
of which vertu engendred is the flour

For this week’s prompt, write the beginning, or prologue, of an imaginary epic poem that evokes the feeling and imagery of Spring. Be wildly imaginative.

Poetry Prompt: April Fools

“The fool thinks himself to be wise, but the wise man knows himself to be a fool.”
~William Shakespeare

For this the first day of April, otherwise known as April Fool’s Day, write a foolish poem. Feel free to interpret this prompt broadly. For example, perhaps for you a foolish poems suggests writing about a past foolish endeavor, a foolish game or plan, or perhaps it simply  suggests utilizing foolish language and silly words. Alternately, maybe it suggests writing about fools, and there are many of those from which to choose. There is the quintessential court jester, the fool in love, the foolish student, any number of fools (or foils) in Shakespeare’s works, even the foolish raven (fox, cat, frog…) of Aesop’s fables. If none of these strike your fancy, consider writing a poem about the origins of April Fools, which is vague enough to encourage fanciful (foolish) interpretation.