Are you gearing up to get your work in shape so that it is ready to enter into a poetry contest? Good writers always take the opportunity to challenge themselves and try new things to push their writing in unique, creative directions. If you are looking for some interesting writing prompts and challenges to get your imagination going, you’re in luck! In honor of National Poetry Month, we’ve assembled a list of writing prompts for all you aspiring poets out there.
1.) The “Time Traveling” Prompt. Take history into your own hands and rewrite the outcome of a past event. This can either be a poem that explores the consequences of a different kind of ending and the “what if” aspects of something that happened in history or in your own personal life.
2.) The “Family Tree” Prompt. How well do you know your family history? Well enough to write a poem about it? If you find you are coming up short, try interviewing family members to learn more about their stories and write poems in response to each one.
3.) The “Eavesdropper” Prompt. Next time you are out running errands or getting a coffee, pay attention to what people around you are saying. Does a snippet of a conversation make you think of a great poem idea? Jot it down on a slip of paper or on your smartphone and revisit the idea later.
4.) The “White–Out” Prompt. Do you have an old book, magazine, or newspaper lying around? Using white-out, go through a page and eliminate certain words; the remaining words should form a unique kind of poem!
5.) The “Been There, Done That” Prompt. Remember a favorite childhood vacation destination or frequently-visited spot. Can you remember a specific day you spent there and what you did? Tell that story in the form of a poem.
6.) The “Lottery” Prompt. Grab the nearest book. Pick a random number, or ask someone near you to select one. Flip to that page. The first word on that page must be the beginning of your poem, the last word on it, its end.
7.) The “Collage” Prompt. Do you have a few unfinished poems that don’t seem to be going anywhere? Print them out and cut the paper into strips with a line per strip. Then, rearrange them until you find a new way the words can work together!
8.) The “Travel Guide” Prompt. Close your eyes and select a random spot on a map. Write a poem based on that location- you can write it from the perspective of a native, a visitor, or someone returning to their “homeland” after many years!
9.) The “Blindfolded” Prompt. How would you write a poem without being able to describe what anything in it looks like? Write a piece that focuses on sound, touch, and taste as the primary senses.
10.) The “Lost in Translation” Prompt. Feeling particularly ambitious? Take a look at a poem in another language if you speak one and try translating it into your own words!