A Poetry Writing Prompt-A-Day 2013 – Thanks

Thanks to everyone who participated in our first annual poetry writing “Prompt-A-Day” project for National Poetry Month. Many poems were written and posted in the comments where these prompts were also posted in our Facebook group and they’ll remain in perpetuity in the posts below for future inspiration.

A huge thanks to all of the people who submitted writing prompts…we received so many more than we could possibly use…(only 30 days in the month!) We’ll definitely be doing this again next year…but in the waning moments of National Poetry Month let’s have every day be a day filled with poetry.

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April 30, 2013: Stanley H. Barkan

Write a poem about the trees of your childhood . . .

Submitted by Stanley H. Barkan from Merrick, New York.

If you write a poem from this prompt, post it as a comment underneath the prompt in the Poetry Super Highway Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/55010360875/

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April 29, 2013: Suzanne Lummis

A prompt inspired by Suzanne Lummis’ essay defining the poem noir, forthcoming in Malpais Review:

Write a poem that begins “So the cops booked me on trumped up charges” and ends “I’m damned if I’ll talk”. Somewhere along the way the poet must incorporate one foreign phrase or word, or words.

Submitted by Suzanne Lummis from Los Angeles, California.

If you write a poem from this prompt, post it as a comment underneath the prompt in the Poetry Super Highway Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/55010360875/

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April 28, 2013: Maggie Westland

Find the nearest book (of any kind). Turn to page 8. Use the first ten full words on the page in a poem. You may use them in any order, anywhere in the poem.

Submitted by Maggie Westland from Thousand Oaks, California.

If you write a poem from this prompt, post it as a comment underneath the prompt in the Poetry Super Highway Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/55010360875/

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April 27, 2013: Jeremiah Walton

Write a poem about someone’s last day in a mental hospital after they are deemed “well” enough to reenter society, try and put yourself in their shoes.

Submitted by Jeremiah Walton from Bedford, New Hampshire.

If you write a poem from this prompt, post it as a comment underneath the prompt in the Poetry Super Highway Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/55010360875/

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April 26, 2013: F.J. Bergmann

Take a short poem by someone else. Use all the words that aren’t articles or pronouns in reverse order, with added words as needed, to make a poem on a completely different topic. (I call this process transmogrification.)

Submitted by F.J. Bergmann from Wisconsin.

If you write a poem from this prompt, post it as a comment underneath the prompt in the Poetry Super Highway Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/55010360875/

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April 25, 2013: Cecilia Woloch

“Throwing It Into Reverse.” There are two ways a poet can approach this:

1) If you have a poem-in-progress and need to shake it up, throw it into reverse by re-writing it starting with the last line first and ending with the first line. Sometimes this results in a much more interesting and surprising poem. Sometimes the reversed version can be combined with the original version to create a two-part “mirror poem,” along the lines of Natash Trethewey’s “I Was Asleep While you Were Dying.” At the very least, you’ll end up with some interesting juxtapositions and possibilities for re-ordering the lines of your poem.

2) As a generative exercise, write about an event as if you could throw the whole event into reverse, like a film running backwards, along the lines of Jeffrey Greene’s poem “Physics” or Sarah Maclay’s “Uncorsage” or Dorothy Baressi’s poem “Unkissing.”

Submitted by Cecilia Woloch from Los Angeles, California

If you write a poem from this prompt, post it as a comment underneath the prompt in the Poetry Super Highway Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/55010360875/

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April 24, 2013: Scott Wiggerman

All too often we get caught up with purely visual images; this is a prompt focused on aural ones.  Go sit somewhere outside (e.g., a park bench, front stoop, bus stop, etc.).  Listen carefully to all the sounds you hear, making a list of them (close your eyes if it helps eliminate visual cues).  Use approximations of sounds if need be (e.g., wha-wha-whee-ee to describe a bird noise).  After you have a sufficient list, read it aloud (more aural!) and choose five sounds, words, or phrases that resonate with you (or perhaps suggest additional images you hadn’t considered).  Use these as a basis for a nature poem titled “I Didn’t See It.”

Submitted by Scott Wiggerman from Austin, Texas

If you write a poem from this prompt, post it as a comment underneath the prompt in the Poetry Super Highway Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/55010360875/

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April 23, 2013: Jerry Carlin

Write a poem about the desire to be the moon in spring.

Submitted by Jerry Carlin from Concord, California

If you write a poem from this prompt, post it as a comment underneath the prompt in the Poetry Super Highway Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/55010360875/

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April 22, 2013: Ruth Nolan

You are a raven, circling above a lost hiker in the desert. Describe the scene below you, writing from the raven’s point of view.

Submitted by Ruth Nolan from Burleson, Texas

If you write a poem from this prompt, post it as a comment underneath the prompt in the Poetry Super Highway Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/55010360875/

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April 21, 2013: Robert Wynne

Pick a famous piece of art, such as the Mona Lisa.  Then pick a famous artist, other than the one responsible for that piece of art, such as Andy Warhol. Then write a poem describing how that piece of art would look if it were created by this alternative, famous artist.

Submitted by Robert Wynne from Burleson, Texas

If you write a poem from this prompt, post it as a comment underneath the prompt in the Poetry Super Highway Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/55010360875/

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April 20, 2013: Leah Schweitzer

Open to a random page of one of your favorite poetry anthologies or one of your favorite poet’s collections. The first line of your selected poem will be the first line of your poem.  Keep going from there, keeping in mind the tone, flavor, rhythm and sounds of this first line.

Submitted by Leah Schweitzer from Valencia, California

If you write a poem from this prompt, post it as a comment underneath the prompt in the Poetry Super Highway Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/55010360875/

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April 19, 2013: Tresha Haefner

Make a list of all the unusual items in your bedroom. The mismatched Christmas socks under the bed, an old wedding bouquet from your second cousin’s first wedding, the bowl of hazelnuts you keep next to your bed for a snack.

Now think of your least favorite animal. Write it down as well.

Using at least 5 items from your list, write a poem that beings “Last night I dreamed that (your animal of choice) got into my room and . . .” go from there.

Submitted by Tresha Haefner from Los Angeles, California

If you write a poem from this prompt, post it as a comment underneath the prompt in the Poetry Super Highway Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/55010360875/

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April 18, 2013: Lin Cava

The human condition is one influenced by many and different experiences.  Unidimensional work often focuses on only one aspect of human condition. We have many truisms – expressions that have meaning, even evolving meaning, that have relevance even throughout time. One of these truisms, “From the mouth of babes” for instance draws to mind sage, uninhibited observations that often call attention to what adults, in their culture or sophistication, often lose sight of.

The poem you write should focus on what a child has simplistically said, and more-so, the depth of its impact upon you.  Long or short, formal structure or not, the last line of the poem should bear the weight of that impact in a single thought.

Submitted by Lin Cava from Long Island, New York

If you write a poem from this prompt, post it as a comment underneath the prompt in the Poetry Super Highway Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/55010360875/

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April 17, 2013: Taylor Graham

A trip not taken: imagine it in sensory detail — be there! Or, re-take an unsatisfactory trip, imagining how it might have been.

Submitted by Taylor Graham from Placerville, California.

If you write a poem from this prompt, post it as a comment underneath the prompt in the Poetry Super Highway Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/55010360875/

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April 16, 2013: Eloise Klein Healy

Write a recipe for curing sleeplessness.

Submitted by Eloise Klein Healy from Sherman Oaks, California.

If you write a poem from this prompt, post it as a comment underneath the prompt in the Poetry Super Highway Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/55010360875/

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April 5, 2013: Frances Macaulay Forde

Traveling on a train, write to the rhythm.

Submitted by Frances Macaulay Forde from Perth, Australia.

If you write a poem from this prompt, post it as a comment underneath the prompt in the Poetry Super Highway Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/55010360875/

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April 14, 2013: Magdalena Ball

I subscribe to Nasa Science news and my own prompts often come directly from the news story of the day. The prompt is simple: write a poem on that topic. It can take me to very interesting places, poetically speaking. For example, and I invite you to use this one for today’s prompt, current news story is: “Europe’s Planck spacecraft has obtained the most accurate and detailed map ever made of the oldest light in the universe. The map results suggest the universe is expanding more slowly than scientists thought, and is 13.8 billion years old, 100 million years older than previous estimates.”  Write a poem about that. (I dare you!).

Submitted by Magdalena Ball from the Australia.

If you write a poem from this prompt, post it as a comment underneath the prompt in the Poetry Super Highway Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/55010360875/

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April 13: Bill Costley

After you’ve written a poem, shorten one longish word in it. [Ex.] Change Complicated to complex. Consider the difference.

Submitted by Bill Costley from the Santa Clara, California.

If you write a poem from this prompt, post it as a comment underneath the prompt in the Poetry Super Highway Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/55010360875/

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April 12, 2013: Lori Romero

Write a lyric poem about one of the following:
1. A vivid dream or nightmare (an example is “I Hear An Army” by James Joyce).
2. A vision of America today (an example is “I Hear America Singing” by Walt Whitman).
3. A vision of men or women in the 21st Century (an example is “Women” by Alice Walker).

Submitted by Lori Romero from the Santa Fe, New Mexico.

If you write a poem from this prompt, post it as a comment underneath the prompt in the Poetry Super Highway Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/55010360875/

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April 11, 2013: Mindy Nettifee

HI, THIS IS AWKWARD

Have a conversation with something or someone or some idea that can’t speak back to you. Give it power over you. Small or profound, this power it has over you is f***ing with you. It’s preventing you from doing something necessary. By the end of poem, find a way to ask for the power back.

Submitted by Mindy Nettifee from the Portland, Oregon.

If you write a poem from this prompt, post it as a comment underneath the prompt in the Poetry Super Highway Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/55010360875/

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April 10, 2013: Dorrie Johnson

Name a herb, a spice and a weather condition.   If you need to, add a place.

Submitted by Dorrie Johnson from the United Kingdom.

If you write a poem from this prompt, post it as a comment underneath the prompt in the Poetry Super Highway Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/55010360875/

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April 9, 2013: Michelle Angelini

Relationships: dogs & their humans

Submitted by Michelle Angelini from Hollywood, California

If you write a poem from this prompt, post it as a comment underneath the prompt in the Poetry Super Highway Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/55010360875/

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April 8, 2013: Fern G.Z. Carr

Write a poem whereby you turn a nightmarish situation to your advantage:  ex. You awake to find yourself completely naked at an important job interview.  Incorporate the word “titillating” into your poem.

Submitted by Fern G.Z. Carr from Kelowna, Canada – http://www.ferngzcarr.com

If you write a poem from this prompt, post it as a comment underneath the prompt in the Poetry Super Highway Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/55010360875/

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April 7, 2013: Erin Elizabeth Smith

In honor of the cruelest month, write a poem using at least 10 nouns, 5 adjectives, and 5 verbs from the first section of Eliot’s “The Wasteland.”

Submitted by Erin Elizabeth Smith – http://www.sundresspublications.com

If you write a poem from this prompt, post it as a comment underneath the prompt in the Poetry Super Highway Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/55010360875/

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April 6, 2013: Brendan Constantine

The nuclear age dawned on July 16, 1945, with the first detonation of the atomic bomb at the Trinity test site in New Mexico. This means the atomic bomb is a Cancer in the popular Zodiac. Yeah, it gets better.

Look what happens if we search for its weekly horoscope in the Internet:

[Atomic bombs] are very sensitive yet strong. They have a powerful attraction to beauty in all its aspects and seek to replicate it in their own lives. Despite their charming personality, they are extremely sensitive and easily hurt.

Think of an invention, good or bad – Polio Vaccine, the Colt 45, the Snuggie, whatever – and determine its birthday (date of invention). Then, using whatever resources, determine its astrological sign, either in the ‘Western Zodiac,’ the Shēngxiào, the Tarot, whatever.  For instance, the Atomic Bomb was born in the Chinese Year of the Rooster.

Now write a horoscope for your invention. YOU ARE STRONGLY ENCOURAGED TO EMBELLISH, TO MAKE THINGS UP, AND TO USE IMAGERY.

Some birthdays –

The Internet – September 2, 1969  – Virgo / Year of the Rooster
Rap/Hip Hop – 1974 (no official day) – Year of the Tiger
First Nuclear power plant – December 20, 1951  – Sagittarius /Year of the Rabbit
Morphine – December 30, 1804 – Capricorn / Year of the Dragon

Submitted by Brendan Constantine, Hollywood.

If you write a poem from this prompt, post it as a comment underneath the prompt in the Poetry Super Highway Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/55010360875/

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April 5, 2013: Lori Williams

We see many people in our day to day lives…while going to work, shopping or simply talking a walk. Often we just pass them by without a glance. In your travels, find an interesting looking stranger.  Use your powers of observation – note their clothes, demeanor, gait, etc.  and  write a poem from their perspective about what is going on in their life.

Submitted by Lori Williams from Brooklyn, New York.

If you write a poem from this prompt, post it as a comment underneath the prompt in the Poetry Super Highway Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/55010360875/

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April 4, 2013: Daniel Irwin

Start with the line:

Jesus says he loves me,
But Satan thinks I’m cool.

Elaborate.

Submitted by Daniel Irwin from Illinois

If you write a poem from this prompt, post it as a comment underneath the prompt in the Poetry Super Highway Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/55010360875/

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April 3, 2013: Jim Knowles

The “push-pin with coherence” method.

1) get an old or clearance book (yellowed paper piereces easily) (eloquent author makes it cool)

2) wiggle/pierce a pushpin through the book in a spot

3) So it is not random, pick any word from within one inch of the hole on each page. Your mind will try to force some order, to ‘cohere’ the words, as you pick the next and the next, the fit the prior words.

4) Now, when you have about 20 to 100 words, insert connecting words and shift the words you took  (verb tense, synonym, etc)

5) You should see a theme emerge, with some catchy phrases. Feel free to chuck or rewrite at this point. There are scenes emerging, hopefully.

Oddly enough, the original author counts. Former best sellers from  the dollar store can be good. Old, badly oxidized acid paper makes things easy…those cheap books at the used book store that are crumbling. the job easy.

Submitted by Jim Knowles from Andover Massachusetts

If you write a poem from this prompt, post it as a comment underneath the prompt in the Poetry Super Highway Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/55010360875/

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April 2, 2013: Nicholas Petrone

Nothing is more difficult to write about than nothing. Write a poem of 10 lines or more about “nothing” and see where it leads.

Submitted by Nicholas Petrone

If you write a poem from this prompt, post it as a comment underneath the prompt in the Poetry Super Highway Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/55010360875/

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