Posted April 17, 2016.

Poems as Prompts

Finding poetry prompts in the captivating richness of poems: Use the following strategies to start your own poem drafts (notes for poems) in response to favorite poems, playfully finding poetry prompts in the captivating richness of poems by reading, reading, reading poems:
*Quick write all that comes to mind initially after first reading the poem title. Then read the poem and add your responses to this initial reflection toward your own new draft poem.
*Pick a favorite line or phrase for your draft title or use as a repeating refrain. Variation of above––pick a series of phrases (3-4), freewrite a few lines to each one and put the writing together for a draft poem with interesting leaps.
*Make a list of several favorite words from the poem and use them in your draft.
*What could happen next in the model poem? Quick write on this. What has not been mentioned yet in the model poem? Quick write other ways to see this topic.
*Copy the model poem out in longhand and watch how it’s constructed, underlining your favorite words and phrases to be responded to in your draft.
*Read the model poem aloud to fully savor the nuances of rhythm and sound, then find a way to develop a similar sound in your own work––possibly using a phrase from the model as a refrain, or repeating a question and/or statement throughout your new draft poem.
*What does reading the model poem make you think of––list the mind pictures and images that come to mind––write about these in a series of short freewrites and juxtapose these short passages together in a new poem draft.
*Use a favorite line from the model poem as an epigraph and draft a new poem as an expansion on this idea or image, always striving to see with new eyes.
*Re-vision: Begin several new draft poems, notes for poems, and pick your most interesting for revision and expansion. Re-read your drafts and watch for opportunities to add more vivid detail and images, knowing that first drafts are most often only half-written––only half there.
*By encouraging writers to find prompts in the poems they read, they accomplish two or more things at once––they are encouraged to read lots of poems, finding favorite phrases, words and ideas, and they always have an abundance of writing starts at hand––all the published poems in the world around them.

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