Poetry Month Prompts

For Poetry Month, we are encouraging folks to try out some different poetry forms. 

Week Four Prompt: Write a Limerick.

Write a limerick: A limerick is a five-line poem. Often catchy and comical, line one should rhyme with line two, line three should rhyme with line four, and the final line should rhyme with the first two. Constance Levy’s poem “How awkward when playing with glue” is a clever example. For those of us with pets, our animals may be seeing a lot more of us as we spend more time at home. Write a limerick that imagines what your pet(s) thinks about this. No pet? No problem! Write a limerick from the perspective of your couch, your laptop charger, or any inanimate object you’ve been utilizing more often. Don’t forget to use the #CloisterwoodCreates hashtag!

Week Three Prompt: Write a Tanka poem.

Tanka is a Japanese form, sort of like an extended haiku! Tankas have five lines. Here’s a breakdown of the format: line one = five syllables, line two = seven syllables, line three = five syllables, lines four and five = seven syllables each. Check out “Tanka Diary,” a pair of tankas by Harryette Mullen, featured on poets.org. Mullen is bending the five-line rule a bit here, but both tankas are still 31 syllables. Write a tanka describing how your morning routine has slowed down in the age of coronavirus. How do you feel when you wake up? What’s breakfast been like? Does your slowed down self have a word of advice for the version of you that is typically rushing around each morning? Be descriptive, but brief! Share your poem using #CloisterwoodCreates.

Week Two Prompt: Write an acrostic poem.

In acrostic poems, the first letter of each line spells out a word, phrase or name when read vertically. For an example, see “An Acrostic” by Edgar Allan Poe from poets.org. The first letter of each line spells “Elizabeth” when read vertically. Write an acrostic of your own that spells out one of the following words: home, heart, house or hero. Share your poem using the hashtag #CloisterwoodCreates!

An Acrostic

Edgar Allan Poe – 1809-1849

Elizabeth it is in vain you say
“Love not” — thou sayest it in so sweet a way:
In vain those words from thee or L.E.L.
Zantippe’s talents had enforced so well:
Ah! if that language from thy heart arise,
Breath it less gently forth — and veil thine eyes.
Endymion, recollect, when Luna tried
To cure his love — was cured of all beside —
His follie — pride — and passion — for he died.

Week One Prompt: Write a haiku.

Originating from Japan, haikus are three-line poems that have a total of 17 syllables. Lines one and three have five syllables, and line two has seven syllables. The earliest haikus often described scenes from nature and specific seasons. In “Koi,” available on poetryfoundation.org, Jennifer Wong writes of the shapes and colors of a koi pond.

Write a haiku that succinctly illustrates a scene, sound or smell associated with spring. Or if you’re feeling adventurous, reimagine a room in your home as a natural landscape. Maybe your living room has become a Lysol meadow, or your kitchen is a baker’s jungle. Share the results using #CloisterwoodCreates.