41 Poetry Prompts to Inspire Fresh, Vivid Writing

, Staff Writer
Updated April 23, 2021
poetry writing prompt example
    poetry writing prompt example
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    Used under Getty Images license

Writing poetry is a wonderful way to express yourself while developing your creative writing skills. Challenge yourself to craft a new work of poetry using one (or more!) of these intriguing poetry prompts. Get inspired to stretch your skills and come up with a fresh poem that paints a vivid picture for readers to enjoy.

Emotional Poetry Prompts

Some of the best poems focus on conveying emotions. When your writing can convey emotions while also causing readers to experience strong emotional reactions to deep poem topics, you'll know that your work is truly vivid. Don't retell stories as old as time; instead, craft emotional poetry with a modern twist to keep your writing fresh.

  • Choose a strong emotion, such as joy, love, grief, or fear. Use descriptive language to craft a poem that conveys the emotion in vivid terms.
  • Craft a poem that conveys the hope and promise of the first person in a family to complete a college education.
  • Write a poem that conveys the trials and tribulations of a parent who struggles to provide for his or her family due to chronic underemployment.
  • Select an example of injustice in the world and craft a poem intended to persuade others to join in the struggle to right past or ongoing wrongs for justice.
  • Reflect on a particularly sad experience you have had. Write a poem that describes the emotions evoked by reflecting on this occasion.
  • Incorporate anthropomorphism into your poetry by writing from the perspective of wildlife, plants or elements of the environment impacted by climate change.
  • Write a poem about the rifts that can develop with families or formerly close friendships that have been torn apart due to extreme political or religious differences.
  • Who hasn't experienced disappointment? Write about what it's like to be truly disappointed and the lessons that can be gleaned from the experience.

Dark Poetry Prompts

Poems don't have to be emotional to be an example of vivid writing. After all, Edgar Allan Poe's The Raven is among the most well-known poems of all time. One of these dark poetry writing prompts might be just the inspiration you need. Consider incorporating some dark words for more descriptive writing into your poem.

  • Watch a current or recent news story about a tragic event and write a poem that will transform readers into the event itself and its aftermath.
  • Imagine that you were the last person left on Earth. Express what that would be like in the form of a poem.
  • Put yourself in the position of being a feared or despised mythical creature, such as a vampire, monster or zombie. Write from the creature's perspective.
  • Write a poem from the perspective of those who survive a worst-case scenario event, such as a zombie apocalypse, complete economic collapse or nuclear war.
  • What if the villains prevailed in a superhero movie? Express what that would be like in the form of a poem.
  • What if no one could see or hear you? Write a poem about the isolation of being in the world, yet completely disconnected.
  • If you were a ghost and could haunt someone's house, what would you do? Tell the tale in a poem.
  • Consider the impact of losing your home and possessions due to fire, a natural disaster or war. Share the experience in poetry.
  • Put yourself in the situation of being incarcerated in solitary confinement. Write a poem about that experience.

Upbeat Poetry Prompts

Fun, upbeat poems can be just as fresh and vivid as those that focus on deep emotional topics that convey darkness. Spread a little sunshine with the poems you're inspired to write by these cheerful poetry writing prompts.

  • Think about the plot of your favorite book. Write a short poem that conveys the main plot points.
  • Write a cute rhyme that's designed to teach a life lesson to little kids. For example, find a fun way to teach about kindness, bedtime or basic kid-focused hygiene.
  • Write a poem to your pets about the funny things they do and the many ways they bring happiness to your life.
  • Peek in the pantry at your house and write an entertaining ode to the various food items you find stored inside.
  • Visualize yourself outdoors on a beautiful spring day and write a poem about what it feels like. Use some spring words that make your vocabulary bloom.
  • Imagine that your wildest dream has just come true. Write a poem about what that means to you.
  • What's your favorite hobby? Describe the basics of it and illustrate why you love it in a brief poem.
  • What is the impact of good deeds? Write a poem about doing good or benefitting from the good deeds of others.

Silly Poetry Prompts

Poetry doesn't have to be serious. You just might come up with your most creative poems when writing about a topic that's just plain silly. Whether you come up with a funny limerick or another type of poem that makes people laugh, this type of writing will put your creativity to the test.

  • Write an ode to your favorite snack. Whether you love popcorn, candy bars or ice cream, the resulting poem is sure to be hilarious.
  • Write from the perspective of a pet dog or cat, telling other pets what a "day in the life" is like in your home.
  • What could be more vivid than writing a poem about color? Pen a poem about your favorite color.
  • If you were weather, what kind would you be? Would you be snow, rain, wind, or some other kind of weather? Write a poem from that perspective!
  • Come up with a cute poem that provides interesting illustrations of each day of the week.
  • What if there was no gravity? Craft a poem that tells the tale of a world where gravity doesn't exist!
  • Did you know that every mammal is covered with hair? Write a poem about how there is hair everywhere.
  • Who hasn't fantasized about being able to fly? Assume you can fly like a bird and convey in a poem what that would be like.

Love Poem Writing Prompts

People are always looking for new ways to express love for other people. Writing an original poem is definitely a fresh way to share your feelings of love. You may want to include some examples of love idioms.

  • The love between parents and their children is so unique. Write a poem that conveys your love for our parents or kids.
  • Romantic love is a special experience. Write a poem that incorporates romantic words and sweet ways to describe your love for that special someone.
  • Love isn't always reciprocated. Writing a poem about your own experience with unrequited love can help you cope and inspire others to have hope.
  • There is nothing quite like a first love. Even if that love is long gone in your life, remember the feelings and pen a moving reflection.
  • There is nothing so true as one's love for a lifelong friend. This powerful platonic love deserves a verse of its own.
  • Pretend that your closest friend is getting married. Write a poem to share your wishes for lifelong love in his or her life.
  • Siblings have a unique bond that's defined by familial love. Set aside any sibling rivalry to write a poem all about brotherly and sisterly love.
  • Do you have a pet that owns your heart? Pen a poem about the unique love you feel for your furry, finned or scaly pal.

Download a PDF of Poetry Prompts

Looking for a printable list of poetry prompts? Download the PDF below. It's filled with selections from the poetry prompt lists featured above. Keep it handy for easy reference when you're ready to write!

Choose Your Favorite Poem Prompt

The poem prompts above can be a great source of inspiration to anyone seeking to craft fresh, vivid original poems. Whether you're writing a poem for your own enjoyment or if you're a student seeking to complete an assignment, use these great prompts for inspiration. For even more ideas, review these creative writing prompts. You may also want to explore some unique journal prompts. After all, inspiration can come from anywhere.