Poetry Writing Exercises 328: Wednesday 9th April

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.

328 woman 903017You can do them in any order.

  1. Keywords: fresh, air, black, curl, spine
  2. Random: hiding behind a smile
  3. Picture: what does this inspire?
  4. Sentence start: And yet before…

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that it counts as being published so don’t post anything that you would want to submit elsewhere (where they require unpublished material).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.


One response to “Poetry Writing Exercises 328: Wednesday 9th April

  1. Hi there , i live in France and am English , i was scouring the web for information really , i was interested to do exercise 328, but also that i have written for over 25 years and have had one UK review of a sample of my work but that was back in 2011 , i would like advice, reaction , comments ,

    for the exercise here we go..
    curly big black sheep
    stood on the far hill
    sends shivers up my spine
    makes my hair curl
    in the winds of the fresh air
    guarding the herd
    hes the boss of the hill
    big black curl

    Say Hello !
    she turns away
    did it random so she wouldn’t know
    just hiding behind a smile
    a sweet sweet smile
    no words inside
    please say hello

    picture this and that
    picture you , your dreams
    picture reality moments
    never forgotten or dreamed
    timeless moments of expression
    pictures painted by hands
    dreams and nightmares begin
    but each of us understand
    picture life’s expression
    no words needed to say
    picture life, love and all others
    picture away

    and yet before we had time to take 5 minutes and relax with a coffee we boarded the train to Frankfurt , i had only dropped my bag for a minute and taken the weight off , and up ,, running on to a train ,,, my nightmare of transport ,, a disaster enthralled. 6 hours to Nuremberg , unpleasant is not the word …no fresh air or open windows , people smoking in the cars , i was sick as a dog ,,, terrible affair.

    i will include on of my ” Thoughts ” as i call them ,,,
    i would value an opinion, many thanks
    My Inner madness – i wrote this back in 2010 ,,, complicated ,,

    Admit I must,
    I was at that brink,
    That end of my line,
    My inner madness I suppose,
    My head spinning,
    I was ready to fall,
    Ready to let go,
    Beaten down,
    Falling behind in the race,
    Unable to function,
    Unable to accept,
    Unable to stand strong,
    Unable to be,
    My inner self lost,
    Lost among my disarray,
    Among my sadness,
    My loss, me,
    How to deal with it,
    I again turned away,
    Thoughts easier a bayed,
    Thoughts crushed by me,
    Never let myself out,
    Too long I’ve held back,
    Too long I’ve burst at the seams with emotion,
    My inner madness,
    Drove me to the end of me,
    Thought I could cope with them,
    My inner madness,
    Made up of my sadness,
    My unimaginable loss,
    My life struck by lighting,
    Struck down in the moment of happiness,
    Life’s not the same again,
    My madness of hell,
    Of the unjust of it all,
    My inner madness, my sadness,
    My heart broken,
    My life missing my loss,
    Missing what could be,
    Am I supposed to just forget,
    Am I supposed to just let go,
    Just put it in the back of my mind,
    Put it into control,
    Keep it in control,
    Keep it in check,
    How to keep it there,
    All locked away,
    Not allowed to be free,
    To dig up those feelings,
    Dig up the tragedy,
    The sheer loss,
    The love lost,
    Your heart drained,
    Numb to touch,
    What runs through your head,
    What really,
    I pinched my self,
    Hoping it was a nightmare,
    Hoping to wake up,
    Hoping it cant be real,
    Like a slow motion picture,
    Each second seemed endless in time,
    The words spoken , never forgotten,
    Never lost,
    All in my head,
    All pushing each other,
    All confused,
    My inner madness,
    Got to keep control,
    But how to,
    How to control my bursting balloon,
    How to control my inner madness.
    How to control me,
    Oh my inner madness and me,
    Madness and me,
    Its me.

    Mrs Janette Jacobs

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.