July Poetry Prompts

Early in the month, I signed up to receive poetry prompts from Shut Up & Write! so that I could practice writing poetry. While I love to recite poems, I’m not the best at creating them, so I thought this would be perfect practice.

Starting today and for the rest of the month, I will be posting the poems I created from this challenge. This post will be updated with the prompt so you can join along with me if you want to. Thanks for reading!

Day 1:

Write a poem by completing the prompts below and following this structure. Keep it short and sweet, so it stays on one line. Rhyming and cadence are completely optional.

(Your Name)
Who…
Loves…
Whose heart…
And whose skin crawls when…
I cheer for/when…
And cry for/when…
There is nothing I want more…
But…
(Your Name)

Day 2:

Make the poem four to five stanzas and explore how much imagery, emotion, and story you can pack into the page.

Do your best to balance power and detail, so your image is clear without being overly specific.

Images:

  • A woman removing her makeup
  • A desk at home piled high with papers
  • A child crying
  • A sailboat cutting through waves on a beautiful day
  • The alarm went off…
  • An empty wallet
  • Between two peaks
  • Down the road
  • An empty glass
  • A single lost shoe

Day 3:

Today we’re going to start with one of the more humorous poem structures, the limerick.

If you know any nursery rhymes, there’s a good chance that you are familiar with the limerick.

Limericks are fun, bouncy and generally easy to write on the fly.

Pick any topic you like and focus on following the rhyming pattern.

Day 4:

A Tanka is the big brother to the Haiku. A Haiku is a form of Japanese poetry that has three lines with no particular rhyming scheme, but requires specific syllable limits for each line. While a Haiku has only three lines, the longer Tanka has five.

With the Tanka you have a bit more room than a Haiku to express yourself.

Here’s the structure of a Tanka:

Line 1: 5 syllables
Line 2: 7 syllables
Line 3: 5 syllables
Line 4: 7 syllables
Line 5: 7 syllables

Day 5:

The Villanelle is a wonderfully repetitive style of poetry. It has five three-line stanzas (tercets) followed by a four-line stanza (a quatrain). The Villanelle continues to repeat the opening and closing line of the first stanza throughout the poem, creating a beautiful echo.

In the Villanelle structure, the capital letters represent the echoes, while the lowercase letters represent the rhymes:

A1 b A2 / a b A1 / a b A2 / a b A1 / a b A2 / a b A1 A2

Day 6:

* I only wrote one poem for this instead of the three.

For this exercise you’ll need to find a couple of objects that have real texture to them.

You can choose whatever is around you. Textures are everywhere! Pick three things that all feel different from each other.

For example: A crumpled piece of paper, a wooden spoon (or some other rough kitchen utensil), and something chalky (could be baking soda, garlic powder, or anything from your spice rack).

Now touch them gently in order and really pay attention – what do you notice? How do they feel in your hands? Do they make any sounds when you touch them? Does the touch bring up any feelings or emotions or memories?

Where is that action? Where is the story?

Is the wooden spoon really a spoon, or is it the handle of a shovel? Or maybe a walking staff?

Is the baking soda the feel of a baker working their dough before the sun has risen, or is it sand?

What’s the story behind the crumpled up piece of paper? Is it the missing page of an age-old manuscript? Maybe a discarded wrapper from a character that is endlessly chewing their favorite gum?

Let your imagination run with those sensations and write those poems.

Day 7:

Write a poem about your greatest fear. Use your chosen poetic structure and bring that fear to life on the page. Write from the first person, so the reader can place themselves in your shoes. And finally, leave a sense of mystery or a sense of what might happen next.

Day 8:

Write a poem about something that you see as beautiful that others see as ugly. It could be a kind of weather, a particularly striking piece of art, or maybe a strange beetle. Whatever it may be, make the rest of the participants see the beauty in your chosen object that may not be obvious at first.

Day 9:

Today we’d like you to work on evoking a strong sense of sound and smell in your poetry.

Remember to stick to the poetic structure you’re working on this week. Whether it was a form we covered in Week One or one of your favorites from before the challenge, try to stay with your chosen structure.

Day 10:

Nighttime can be magical and otherworldly. As diurnal creatures, we are not adapted to the night, so it can be almost alien to us. While other creatures roam the dark, we fumble about. It is no wonder that so much fear and magic has always been attached to the darkness.

Today we are going to write our final poem on the topic of the night.

Themes:

  • Night
  • Magic
  • Blindness
  • Spirits
  • Going Inwards/The Internal World
  • Mystery
  • Shadow

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