Possible Poetry Prompts

I rediscovered this from a poetry class I had in college. Remember, these are only possible poetry prompts, if you actually do many of these things you might make some people upset or unsettled, get arrested, go into financial ruin, etc. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. I tried to format the prompts as closely as I can to how I received them on the paper. Happy writing!

  • Stalk an ex.
    Observe
    how they are happier and healthier without you.
    Watch as they hold hands with someone else
    and the dewdrops of hope that perspires their brow.
    In prose form taking up only one page, write about how this makes you feel.
  • Go to a cemetery while taking the drug molly. Using the tombstones like the backs of chairs, talk out life with the night. Does it talk back to you? What does it say? Is it a sonnet?
  • Go to the grocery store.
    Start throwing tomatoes and balls of lettuce at the patrons. When the cops arrest you and you are sitting in your cell,
    write a persona poem
    in the voice of lettuce. 
  • Try and fall in love with someone. Start making love. In the middle of your lovemaking, grab your phone and start texting an old lover. As your current lover is sprouting anger at you everywhere, write a poem from the perspective of the phone. 
  • Go to the zoo and start petting and feeding
    the people. When the people take the food,
    write a poem in the voice of a llama
    in the form of a gazelle.
  • Stab somebody in the shoulder with a fork.
    This person will be yelling at you for some time.
    Pick 6 words you like from their pain.
    Write a sestina using them as your end words.
  • Scroll down Facebook.
    Look for someone who has changed their status to “In a relationship,” with so and so.
    Contact so and so and ask, “Why are you in a relationship with my lover?”
    They will respond.
    Take their response and make it an erasure poem.
  • Walk into city hall and demand to see the mayor.
    When secret service escorts you out, try to make a
    haiku on the nature of things. 
  • Walk into the Gap with 3 other poets.
    Set one of the racks of clothing on fire.
    Write a group piece about how the fire inside shall not die.
    Mall security will come to try and escort you out.
    They are a prop.
  • Go to Disneyland
    and demand to speak with the head of Walt Disney.
    They will take you into a room where you can meet him.
    Write a poem from the perspective
    of this lost body.
  • Enter a poetry slam.
    When it is your turn to slam,
    just stare at the audience for 3 minutes
    without saying a word.
    After you sit down, write a poem about the things you wanted to say.
  • Listen to 36 Chambers.
  • Go to a bar and hit on all the patrons and record their responses.
    Make a slam poem out of their responses about how you feel rejected by society
    yet entitled.
  • Drink a lot of wine.
  • Go to McDonald’s dressed as Burger King
    with a Declaration of Imperialism.
    They will stare at you for a long time.
    They will be still and quiet, trying to figure out your madness.
  • Get a divorce.
    Now I know with this prompt it might be difficult for some because you are not married, so for this prompt, you might have to do a little prework.
    So get married,
    and then get a divorce.
    Make an erasure out of your divorce documents.
    Bring these to court and perform them.
    See what score the judges give you. 
  • Have a baby.
    Hold them in your arms
    like everlasting light.
    Write a poem on the person
    you hope they will become
    and how you can be that hope.
  • Punch a hippopotamus in the face.
    It will chase after you.
    Run.
    Really fast.
    Have a mini recording device with you.
    Try to create a stream of conscious poem while getting chased by a hippo. 
  • Hold your mother
    or their ghost within.
    What comes out?
  • Do a lot of cocaine
    and go to the far end of yourself.
    Is yourself really that far off?
    Try to write a Dada poem. 
  • Sit under a tree. 
  • Go to Chuck-E-Cheese.
    Count how many children there are.
    Count how many adults there are.
    Children – Adults = the number of lines you can use to write a poem about rats and ball pits. 
  • Try and save the world.
    You might need love for this
    or an ax.
    Either way, editing
    will be involved.
  • Liquidate your assets.
  • Pretend
    you
    are
    you.
  • Dig up the bones of Luciano Pavarotti.
    Use them like percussion instruments.
    Write a Last Poets type poem about the things we dig up
    and how we use them for art.
  • Listen to a Matt Wilson song.
  • Plant a flower.
  • Write a thesis.
    Send it to me
    so I don’t have to write mine.
    This is the art of sharing.
  • Go to the therapist
    and tell them they are the one
    with the problem.
    Record their response.
    A found poem by the milligram.
  • Ring and run former Mayor Bloomberg
    When his butler answers, chloroform him,
    and take his place.
    Make a list poem of what he eats,
    how many lives he is still ruining,
    and how many prostitutes he employs.
  • Paint a picture of somebody’s body
    with your tongue.
  • Levitate.
    Whoever is there to catch you,
    write them an ode.
  • Drive a train through Williamsburg,
    running over hipsters and leveling any buildings that outlook like
    futuristic prophylactics.
    Write a poem about taking Brooklyn back.
    Call it Ungratification. 
  • Go to Staten Island.
    Gel your hair and grab your crotch.
    Does it talk back to you? Is it a pantoum?
  • Sit at home alone.
    Shut everything.
    Light a candle.
    Sing Ave Maria 3 times and then try
    to summon the ghosts
    of your grandparents.
    Which form poem do they take?

This was given to me in the spring of 2019 by my college poetry professor. Thank you to Thomas Fucaloro who was an inspiration to me in college and who drove me to write more, not for a grade but for my soul. I hope one day I can reconnect with you again, you were a pleasure to learn from.

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