Prompt #23: Secrets

We’re nearing the end of our journey in poetry together with only a few days remaining.  Remember, you can share your work in the comment section or via email at

Prompt #23: Secrets

Secrets can be powerful or life-altering.  Sometimes they are little things, silly, quiet moments we don’t share with others. Secrets can also be weapons. Play with this idea and see what you come up with

Prompt # 18: Form

Prompt# 18: Form

Recently someone asked me how to become a poet.  I answered honestly: I have no idea.  I just started writing.  Then I read.  Then I thought about what I had read.  Then I read some more. And finally I went back to writing.

I realize that there are ‘rules’ to writing poems and a demonstrable respect for words.  However, most modern poetry in the U.S., and probably written by those having fun with these prompts, does not follow traditional form.  So with that in mind, and to flex our sometimes unused poetry muscles, let’s write a poem using a traditional form.

Having trouble remembering those rules?  Click here:

The Pantoum, sestina, and villanelle all provide interesting avenues for exploration, especially if you consider yourself a free-verse poet.  Structure can provide boundaries to language.  Follow the link for a more complete guide to various forms and select one that you’ve never tried before.  Rather than prompt you with content, I encourage you to find a form for today.

Prompt #17: Water

Prompt #17: Water

imagesCAS4FNBPI can’t explain my fascination with water.  It appears in many of my poems from Sand River (note the title) and many of the cities I’ve called home have been next to large bodies of water.

Recently I purchased a yoga video by Shiva Rea.  She believes that since our bodies are primarily made up of water, this liquid inherently influences our very spirits.  Water also often spiritually represents baptism and rebirth in many poems.  Write a poem that explores water ways in your life.


Prompt #16: Those Other Senses

Prompt #16: Those Other Senses

234844041_blind_folded_answer_5_xlargeWe rely heavily on our sight, even in our writing. If this month of poetry does nothing else, I hope it helps writers flex unused muscles.  I
know that there have been prompts already that specifically emphasize what we ‘see’ with our poetry vision.  So it may seem ironic that I want to move in a different direction with today’s prompt.  Try to write a poem full of concrete details without describing how things LOOK.  Instead, consider those other, often neglected, senses.  How does the air feel?  What sounds do you hear?  Smells? Describe an event, like maybe a car accident without saying a word about how things are seen.

Prompt # 15: Character as Poem

From Garrison Keillor’s Good Poems 2002

Prompt #15: Character as Poem

Take the time to describe someone, either from memory or someone you currently know.  Avoid sentimentality–this is not an Ode or an homage, so describe without cheese.  Instrument of Choice describes a lonely girl with both humor and a biting cruelty.

Instrument of Choice by Robert Phillips (56)

She was a girl
no one ever chose
for teams or clubs,
dances or dates,

so she chose the instrument
no one else wanted:
the tuba. Big as herself,
heavy as her heart.

Its golden tubes
and coils encircled her
like a lover’s embrace.
Its body pressed on hers.

Into its mouthpiece she blew
Life, its deep-throated
Oompahs, oompahs sounding,
Almost, like mating cries.