Poetry Prompts to Inspire New Blooms — For National Poetry Month

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Poetry Prompts to Inspire New Blooms for National Poetry Month

T.S. Eliot may have famously christened April “the cruelest month,” but here at Sundress, we tend to associate April with the celebration of poems and the talented poets who give them life. In honor of the 23rd year of National Poetry Month, we’ve gathered up an assortment of prompts that introduce compelling topics, questions, and frameworks intended to catalyze the growth of nascent poems. We present these prompts — each written by a Sundress author, poet, or staff member — with the hope that instead of “breeding/Lilacs out of the dead land,” the month of April inspires fresh work to emerge from all of that creative soil gone fallow in the winter.

Amy Watkins

– “All the poems in my chapbook Lucky use questions from the Facebook ‘Did You Know’ widget as prompts. They’re ‘getting to know you’ type questions like ‘What’s some advice your dad gave you?’ or ‘If you were a musical instrument, what would you be?’ ”

– “I love the one where you write a persona poem based on a Weekly World News headline.”

Donna Vorreyer

– “Choose a book you love. Choose a letter or vowel sound and make a word bank of words starting with/using that sound. (At least 12 words). Then draft, forcing [yourself] to use those words in the order you wrote them down.”

Sarah Marcus Donnelly

– “A poem/letter to your younger self.”

Ashley Elizabeth Evans

– “A burn poem, a poem that no one will read but you. Burn/destroy after writing.”

– “Mother knows…”

– “Where we hide our wild things”

– “Write a letter to the broken parts of yourself.”

Katie Bell

– “Flip to page 58 in the book closest to you. The fourth line down must open/close your piece.”

Emily Capettini

– “Open your text messages and pick the most recent one that you also feel comfortable sharing, including emojis, GIFs, and other images. This is the first line of your poem.”

Sarah A. Chavez

– “Take two lines, the third line from the last song you listened to & the third from the last poem. Use those as the repeating lines in a villanelle.”

– “[I] also love doing literary Mad Libs. I most often do this as group work. Take 2 lines from famous poems, the group picks the word then needs to make a group poem, one line used as the title & the other either the first or last line of the poem.”



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