125 Of The Best Poetry Writing Prompts For Poets | Writer’s Relief

by | Dec 14, 2018 | Inspiration And Encouragement For Writers, Poems, Writing Prompt | 4 comments

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Congratulations, poet! Your search for poetry writing prompts is over—because Writer’s Relief has curated a HUGE collection of free writing prompts and poetry exercises that will fire up your creativity!

You are welcome to post the results of these poetry writing prompts in our comments section: But be aware of publishing industry standards regarding what is considered previously published writing.

Just think—the poem you write using these poetry writing prompts might be your next literary magazine publication!

And if you want help getting your poems published by reputable presses, reach out to the submission experts at Writer’s Relief!

The Best Writing Prompts For Poets

Momentous Occasions. These poetry writing prompts focus on life’s big events—moments that are often emotionally charged and teeming with opportunity for poetic expression. Spend some time thinking about these moments in your life and then allow your memories to emerge as poems. Or, if you haven’t had any of these milestone moments, consider how you might write a poem based on the absence.

  1. The day a child was born
  2. The day your faith was shaken
  3. The day you made a decision to give up something or someone you love
  4. The day you were turned down
  5. The day your hope was restored
  6. The day you lost a loved one
  7. A day you laughed through tears
  8. A day someone surprised you with kindness
  9. An effort that ended in deep humiliation
  10. An effort that ended in triumph or joy
  11. A holiday from childhood that stands out
  12. A wedding that taught you more about love
  13. A mundane birthday party that became memorable long after the fact
  14. The moment of a life-changing injury
  15. A day you got good/bad news about a diagnosis

Everyday Moments. While some poems are born of life’s most attention-grabbing events, others can be inspired by quiet, easy-to-overlook moments of the day. These poetry writing prompts and exercises ask you to pay close attention to all the little moments that might otherwise be missed.

  1. The dawn of the day
  2. Your first cup of tea or coffee
  3. When your head hits your pillow
  4. The moment before cracking open a beloved book
  5. When you realize you have to parallel park
  6. When day becomes night
  7. A bell ringing
  8. Sirens in the distance
  9. Being stuck in traffic
  10. Opening the mailbox
  11. The moment you realize you’re not paying attention
  12. When you see someone else rubbing their forehead/eyes
  13. The moment you decide to cut a corner
  14. When you wave to a neighbor
  15. Weighing your options
  16. The moment you sit down to write

First Times. From first dates to first failures, many of life’s “firsts” are accompanied by intense feelings. Whether your experiences left you feeling thrilled or disappointed, “firsts” can make for great poems. Read through these poetry writing prompts to see if any of these “firsts” might spark a new poem. (And if you haven’t had any of these firsts, consider imagining one or reflecting on not having a certain “first.”)

  1. First love
  2. First heartbreak
  3. First time you saw the ocean
  4. First beer/wine
  5. First time you saw your parents as adults
  6. First moment you realized you were an adult
  7. First poem that made you love poetry
  8. First visit to a museum
  9. First play or live performance
  10. First meal you cooked for someone else
  11. First visit to a major sporting event
  12. First time you realized not everyone likes you back
  13. First time you stood up for an unpopular opinion
  14. First memory of being embraced
  15. First time you disappointed yourself
  16. First time you felt small outdoors
  17. First time you got dizzy from spinning

Nature And Space. Nature is often a source of inspiration for artists and poets. If you can get outside to write a poem, by all means do! But even if you’re stuck indoors, use your imagination to “head outdoors” and write a poem from your creative vision.

Write about the following places and spaces however the muses may inspire you. You can describe memories or imaginings, reflect on the larger meanings of archetypes, or simply allow your heart to express its poetic wishes. Learn more about writing great nature poems.

  1. A mountain
  2. A river
  3. An oasis (unexpected space)
  4. Your favorite cozy room
  5. A massive indoor space
  6. An intriguing love/hate space
  7. Your most vivid memory of a train/subway/airplane
  8. Someplace you never want to see/go again
  9. A place you will probably never see again, though you may want to
  10. A place your parents dragged you to
  11. Somewhere you always wished you could go
  12. When you saw a rainbow
  13. When nature surprised you/caught you off guard
  14. Ripples on water
  15. Sunlight on a spiderweb
  16. The beauty of a mud puddle
  17. The look of a tree in winter
  18. A spring rain
  19. A summertime chore
  20. A winter evening outdoors
  21. A winter evening at home
  22. An unidentified rumble (Thunder? Rockslide? Earthquake? Subway car?)
  23. A special time under the stars

Food Inspirations. Flavors evoke myriad feelings, memories, expectations, and longings. Use these food-inspired poetry writing prompts to reflect on food-related topics and write a poem based on your reactions.

  1. The taste of coffee
  2. The texture of eggs
  3. The smell of bread
  4. The heat of an oven on a cold day
  5. The scent and feeling of picking strawberries/apples/etc.
  6. The promise of fresh fruit
  7. The memory of hunger
  8. A bowl of fake fruit on a table
  9. A time you had to force down a loathed meal
  10. Catching the scent of something delicious when walking down the street
  11. Watching someone else eat

Meeting The Unexpected. These poetry writing prompts ask you to imagine a scene or moment—and then think of something that catches you (and readers) by surprise. What shocking and unexpected thing might you see in a crosswalk? What would that sight mean to you and others? Allow your mind to wander—and let your poetry surprise you.

  1. In a crosswalk
  2. At the beach
  3. In your soup
  4. Appearing from under the water
  5. In your rearview mirror
  6. At the bank
  7. From a hidden alleyway
  8. In a shoe
  9. Under a shoe
  10. In a tree branch
  11. Caught in someone’s hair (or your hair)
  12. In a dog’s mouth
  13. In a waiting room
  14. Under a bed
  15. Behind a cloud

Mysterious Places. For these poetry writing prompts, we’re going to ask you to stretch your imaginations beyond the world of logic and fact and imagine that you can inhabit “in between” spaces. What would it feel like? What would you do? Or not do?

Imagine you are…

  1. Between stars
  2. Between particles
  3. Between dreams
  4. Between flames in a fireplace
  5. Between light and shadow
  6. Underground
  7. Behind a mask
  8. Between air and water
  9. Just before waking
  10. Just before sleeping
  11. Between notes in a song
  12. Between the couch cushions
  13. Between breaths
  14. Between tripping and catching yourself

Poetry Writing Exercises. Once you’ve written a poem in response to one of our poetry writing prompts, consider rewriting—this time in a poetry genre that is outside of your usual wheelhouse. Choose one of the poetry genres below.

  1. Beat poetry
  2. Epic poetry
  3. Epistolary poem
  4. Elegy
  5. Free verse
  6. Haiku
  7. Lament
  8. Lyric poetry
  9. Palindrome
  10. Pastoral
  11. Prose poetry
  12. Rhyme of choice
  13. Slam/spoken word
  14. Sonnet

Want To Write Better Poetry?

Check out these great articles from Writer’s Relief that will help you craft responses to our poetry writing prompts and exercises:

Fun With Poetry: 7 Days + 7 Games = One Week To Poetic Reinvigoration!

Seven Techniques You Must Know To Make Editors Notice Your Poetry Submissions.

Poetry Submission Turnoffs: Styles And Formatting That Make Editors Cringe.

The Healing Power Of Confessional Poetry.

Poetry Is A Lifestyle Choice: How To Keep A Poetic Frame Of Mind.

How To Write Good Rhyming Poetry.

Writer, Can You Help? Please add to our list of poetry writing prompt ideas by posting your own ideas for poetry topics in our comments section!


  1. Sandra F Lewis

    I enjoyed the poetry writing prompts. These will help me write several poems.
    Thank you.

  2. Jemma Thompson 9 yr old

    I have took these ideas and changed them up and wrote some poems.
    But I will say some of them don’t make sense, but still good.

  3. Anon

    I really enjoyed these poetry prompts a lot because I am writing a poet for school work.

  4. Akshat Deewaker

    The prompts are really great. Though I am a lyrical poet, and for what I write, the prompts seemed quite drear. If you could release one collection of prompts for lyrical poetry, that’d be fire.


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