Poetry Writing Exercises 287: Tuesday 11th February

Here are your four poetry exercises for today. Time yourself for 15 minutes for each one, then either have a break or move on to the next one.

287 YokohamaObj 851724You can do them in any order.

  1. Keywords: allergy, advice, receipt, recipe, nuts
  2. Random: next of kin
  3. Picture: what does this inspire?
  4. Tuesday Title: Beat This

Have fun, and if you would like to, do paste your writing in the comment boxes below so we can see how you got on! Remember though that it counts as being published so don’t post anything that you would want to submit elsewhere (where they require unpublished material).

See below for explanations of the prompts, they do vary…

  • Sentence starts = what it says on the tin. You can use it at the beginning of the poem or include it later, and being poetry it doesn’t have to be exact – just be inspired by it.
  • Keywords = the words have to appear in the poem but can be in any order and can be lengthened (e.g. clap to clapping).
  • Single-word prompt = sometimes all it takes is one word to spawn an idea. Sometimes it easy, sometimes hard but invariably fun.
  • Mixed bag = an object, a location, a colour.
  • Picture prompts = nothing other than a picture. What does it conjure up?
  • Title = The title for your piece.
  • Haiku poem= 5 syllables, 7 syllables, 5 syllables
  • Random = whatever takes my fancy!


  • Don’t forget your five senses: sight, sound, touch, taste, smell
  • Show don’t tell: if your character is angry, don’t tell us he is, have him thumping his fist on the table.
  • Colours: Include at least one colour in your story. It does add depth.
  • Use strong verbs and avoid adverbs: Have a character striding instead of walking confidently.
  • Only use repetition to emphasise.
  • When you’ve finished the first draft, read the story out loud. It’s surprising how many ‘mistakes’ leap out at you when you read out loud… assuming you have any of course!

Pictures courtesy of morguefile.com

I love to talk about writing so feel free to email me. I’ll be pasting these prompts in this blog’s Facebook Group so you may find some other comments there.

If you’d like to submit a poem for critique on this site, see Submissions. The other critique writing groups are:

Morgen’s Online Non-Fiction Writing Group

Morgen’s Online Novel Writing Group

Morgen’s Online Short Story Writing Group

Morgen’s Online Script Writing Group

Thank you for reading this and we look forward to your comments.


2 responses to “Poetry Writing Exercises 287: Tuesday 11th February

  1. Do You Think…
    by Tovli Simiryan

    (Key words: allergy, advice, receipt, recipe, nuts)
    Do you think happiness is from a recipe,
    the kind grandmother kissed against our cheeks?
    Or is it more how one feels while being watched,
    the way an allergy provokes strong reactions from deep inside the lungs?

    I am searching the lines of an elder’s face for advice.
    Hold my wrist until it’s warm.
    Every old woman eventually makes such a statement.
    Each testament I witness becomes the receipt I crumple inside my fist.
    It means I’m fearless.

    The old ones still smile when they see me.
    They remove the last loaves of bread from their outside ovens.
    They insist on sprinkling flaked nuts over the darkened crust.
    Why bother, I’d like to ask,
    but silence erases what shouldn’t matter
    and that’s a good thing.
    It’s like deciding g-d has birthdays, but will never die;
    or not having an end
    forces every word to disclose its melody,
    softly while alive,
    ever so careful not to ask for too much.

    tovli simiryan (c) 2014

  2. Hello, Tovli. Thank you for posting your poem. I love how you intertwined the keywords.

    If you’d like to share this or any of your other poems on my main blog, please see the guidelines on http://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/post-weekend-poetry.

We'd be very grateful for your comments...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.