Poetry Writing Exercises 535: Thursday 29th January

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.  When you’ve finished, do pop over to this blog’s Facebook Group and let everyone know how you got on.

535 painted fingers 908853Below are the four – you can do them in any order.

  1. Keywords: hope, no, all, turning, twist
  2. Random: helping a stranger
  3. Picture: what does this inspire?
  4. Thursday Title: Beyond the Wall

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that it counts as being published so don’t post anything that you would want to submit elsewhere (where they require unpublished material).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 535: Thursday 29th January

  1. Here’s what I composed based on the (wonderful!) keywords given today. I am very glad I stumbled upon this website, I plan on using it often 🙂 And hopefully the line formatting transfers well in this comment box.

    The Idea of Her

    I run them all through my head –
    Every outcome to this twilit twirl –
    Some are delightful
    Warm palms fusing,
    Two atoms longing
    To capture the energy our
    Softwood sway emits.
    Most are sharp
    Bitter needles puncturing
    My parcel heart, twisting
    It shut with hopeless knots
    Of you-should-have-known-better.
    But still
    I run them all through my head
    And pass them to my conscience,
    And when lectured by him
    That dull, stoic voice
    On which gamble is more dependable,
    I reply by accepting
    The gaze of the ocean-leafed eyes
    In front of me, and by turning
    Her loving palms in mine
    As we dance our barefoot dance
    With no tomorrows on our minds.

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