Poetry Writing Exercises 395: Friday 11th July

Here are your four poetry exercises for today. Time yourself for 15 minutes per exercise, having a break in between each one or move on to the next.

395 Fremont-Experience-in-Las-Vegas 909482You can do them in any order.

  1. Keywords: clouds, into, rain, hope, dash
  2. Random: crossing his legs
  3. Picture: what does this inspire?
  4. One-word prompt: yesterday

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that it counts as being published so don’t post anything that you would want to submit elsewhere (where they require unpublished material).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 395: Friday 11th July

  1. Tovli Simiryan

    A haibun

    My hands are empty. No weapon, not even a whistle. The twist in my pant-leg is imperceptible, like shifting sand; or so I pretend. The old man in the cemetery has no grave. He is crossing his legs. My new blouse is too big. I am empty and cannot fill space. Its billowed sleeves flap in the wind. Nothing is there, absolutely nothing above, nothing below. The yellow amber necklace brought from Lithuania hangs on a nail in the air someplace. There—an old house filled with dust is where I should be, empty, with nothing to protect. No money, clothes or friends; my ledger empty, footprints erased bone by bone. Nothing is left, not even yesterday. And yet, one final chance: the soft clouds of cotton balls, dampened, stuffed like ash to keep my mouth from calling out, caving in, so that during the eulogy nothing will sink into the earth before its time…
    dampened cotton balls,
    absorbing my memories,
    no one is hoping.

    Tovli © 2014

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