a month of poetry prompts

November 12, 2020

If your poetry writing is feeling a little same-old, same-old, throw open the window onto a month of poetry prompts with the Two Sylvias Press Advent Calendar. All new prompts for 2020 will offer plenty of inspiration and remain available online through January 2021. Learn more about the Advent Calendar (for yourself or as a gift) and other treats available from Two Sylvias Press.

prompts galore

February 15, 2020

If you’re interested in the natural world and you’re looking for a new perspective, look no further than the Biodiversity Heritage Library. Currently weighing in at 57,897,176 pages, the library “is the world’s largest open access digital library for biodiversity literature and archives.”

You can browse the BHL’s collection by Title, Author, Date, Collection, or Contributor. For example, click on Collections, then on Extinct Species, and you get a further listing of 29 volumes from 28 titles, containing 11201 pages. Click on any of the linked titles and you’ll find yourself at a scanned version of the original document, which you can browse page by page.

Have fun!

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Thanks to Colossal for the heads up


June 23, 2018

It has been a while since we posted prompts, but this selection of 82 Writing Experiments by Bernadette Mayer, found on Language is a Virus, seemed just too good to pass up. While you’re there, check out the Text Manipulation and Text Generators links in the sidebars.

More on Bernadette Mayer here.

poetry prompts

August 3, 2016

Seattle Art FairIn case you’ve been hiding out under a rock and haven’t heard, Cascadia’s biggest poetry prompt is taking up residence at the CenturyLink Field WaMu Theater this Thursday, August 4, 2016. Following Thursday’s Beneficiary Preview and the official Opening Night Preview, the Seattle Art Fair continues August 5-7, with a diverse schedule of projects, talks, exhibits and events happening both on and off site. See full details on the Seattle Art Fair website and on Facebook and give your poems something new to think about.

a piggy bank of prompts

February 5, 2016

The Public Domain ReviewSometimes you need a little something extra to launch your poetry writing. If whatever gets you going — a walk, a visit with the cat, a cup of strong tea, morning (or evening) silence — doesn’t get you going, you might wander over to The Public Domain Review, which is dedicated to exploring “curious and compelling works from the history of art, literature, and ideas” with a focus on those in the public domain.

Even if you’re not looking for a prompt, even if you don’t believe in prompts, you might just find something there that knocks you out of immobility. Maybe it will be that photo of a man in a spiracle, a phrase — “agony in red” or “cat and fiddle” (who knew?), for example — from A Dictionary of Victorian Slang (something here to offend just about everyone), or an audio clip of Thomas Edison reading ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb.’

There’s much more, in many collections and genres. Set the timer — one can easily become lost among the treasures at The Public Domain Review.

NYPL images

If you find that your imagination is enlivened by the visual, here’s some good news: the New York Public Library Digital Collections has released more than 180,000 high-resolution, downloadable, out-of-copyright images.

“No permission required, no hoops to jump through: just go forth and reuse!”

NYPL is also now accepting applications for a new Remix Residency program and has released a number of demonstration projects as well as a wonderful visual browsing tool.

Read about the NYPL enhanced Public Domain Collections and follow the embedded links for much more information.

poetry prompts

December 6, 2015

The Guardian UKIf you’re looking for an occasional prompt to send your poetry off in a different direction, consider Poster Poems from The Guardian. In the first week of each month, poet Billy Mills presents a theme along with a number of images and text references to poems and other writing on that theme. Visit the Poster Poems page to see monthly prompts back to April 2013.

more prompts!

January 6, 2015

lit bulbAs you may recall from years past, February is NaHaiWriMo — National Haiku Writing Month — a short month for a short form. More about that in February, but NaHaiWriMo is not just an event, it’s a resource, a website and a veritable cornucopia of prompts.

If you happen to be on Facebook, you can find daily prompts, current and past, on the NaHaiWriMo Notes page. Each month, year round, a guest prompter offers a single-word prompt for each day and they’re posted a day at a time.

If you’re not on Facebook, you can find an enormous if not-quite-up-to-the-minute collection of past prompts on the NaHaiWriMo Daily Prompts page.

Whether you write haiku or some other form of poetry, you should be able to find something here to get the wheels turning.


January 5, 2015


One of the recurring topics on the Boynton Blog is poetry prompts. Although we’re a year late in posting this notice, the first Monday in January seems an auspicious moment to get started with last year’s prompt-a-week site, 52.

Each week, starting with Week 1, poet Jo Bell offered a thought-provoking prompt along with inspiring exemplars, to encourage profound poetry. “…give yourself just an hour a week to write, at least,” she says, “And an hour a week to read others’ poetry, at least.”

Although the blog dates show 2014, the prompts work just as well in 2015. Have a look and, as Jo Bell says, “Write the very best you can. Push yourself. Use your poetry to help you work out what you think about the world, or to express the truths you hold self-evident. Take risks.”


November 13, 2014

Writer's Digest

Over at Writer’s Digest, poetry blogger Robert Lee Brewer is taking NaNoWriMo in a slightly different direction with his November Poem-A-Day (PAD) Chapbook Challenge. The guidelines are posted here, and while it’s already the 13th, you can still catch up with the prompts he’s offered so far on the Poetic Asides page.

Want more prompts? We’ve got ’em!

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