Ideas are everywhere, they say! You can simply reach out and catch one; but sometimes you just cannot find one, and not for lack of trying. So today I tried to put together a list of ideas. You can use them as you wish, for poems, for stories, or simply to look through them. Hope this list of 51 cool and hopefully great poetry ideas will inspire and help ignite your poetic imaginations!
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51 Great Poetry Ideas to Inspire and to Ignite Imaginations
All About Time
- Imagine you could time travel. Pick any year you could travel to (ancient past, your past, or your future, or a distant future); and write a poem about that.
- Your favorite sweetest or best moment or memory ever? Write about that.
- What do you think is the best age to be? A teenager, a toddler, or someone older than you are? Why?
- The most difficult decision you ever had to make? Write a poem about that
- Everyone has those weird coincidences that happen in their lives. Is there one such event that you often relate to others? Write it poetically.
- Write about the current day; even if it was just another regular day.
- Pick a specific event from today or the recent past, and write about it. It could be making your cup of coffee or tea in the morning; being stuck in traffic (not something that might be happening right now); eating a meal (you could describe everything on the plate and how it is); an outing; or anything else.
- Think about the first time you did something, anything at all. Like the first time you took a trip by yourself; or were on a plane; or maybe the first time you attempted to cook (a specific dish). Write about that.
- What do you do when you are waiting for someone? Or standing in line? Write about how you spend the time.
- This current moment. Freeze it (like when you see in movies or shows with speedsters or magicians) and write about all that is happening around you, at home, in the neighborhood, in the world. You are the one not frozen so feel free to explore this moment as you want it.
“Always carry a notebook. And I mean always. The short-term memory only retains information for three minutes; unless it is committed to paper you can lose an idea for ever.”
― Will Self
Space and Place
- Write about a place that is on your bucket-list; one you have not yet visited and only seen in pictures or heard about from others. And write about it as if you are there.
- Since we are talking about space, write about outer space; in any way you wish. Maybe you are on a mission to Mars; colonizing the moon; or simply orbiting earth.
- What is your favorite spot in your home? The one you have laid claim to; the one others imagine you to be in even when you are elsewhere? Write a poem about it.
- And then, what is the favorite place you have ever visited? Or lived in (maybe your childhood home, or a previous apartment)? Write a list poem about why it is your favorite.
- Someplace you never want to go to again.
- Write about a public place, like a mall, airport, a library, a theater, or a park.
- Did nature surprise you anytime when you were outdoors? Like you were expecting a summer day and a downpour caught you unawares? Or something else, maybe a deer you met on a hike one day.
- Imagine you are in the pages of a book; or onscreen (in your favorite TV show or movie; like in Pleasantville); or on the cover of a magazine. Write from that perspective.
- Maybe you are lost in a maze somewhere; or unable to get out of an escape room.
- And then something fanciful; imagine you are on your favorite color of the rainbow; in the twilight zone; or in the Faraway Tree; or Neverland.
“Ideas come from everything”
― Alfred Hitchcock
- Write about a family member. It could be something describing them or something specific about them. Maybe your mom’s favorite color; your grandpa telling you a story; or your dad’s job; your aunt’s garden.
- Write a poem about someone who influenced you; a teacher, a public figure, a fictional character works too! What are they doing right now?
- You could write a bio-poem – one about yourself. Introduce yourself in anyway you wish. Or write about what you would have been if you were not who you are currently? Your alter-person, so to say!
- Write a poem where each line is about a different person you know.
- Write about a loved one’s most endearing habit or characteristic. And/or their most annoying habit or characteristic.
- Homonym for Namesake! Write a poem about people who share a name; could be even other people you know/know about who have the same name as you. You could write about how all of you are different and/or same; or create one new person who shares a bit of all of you in the poem.
- Pick any two people you know (either closely or maybe via the media) and write about how they are different and how they are the same. Maybe your parents.
- Write a poem from someone else’s perspective; maybe your family member, or a friend; maybe your mail carrier; or that store employee at the store you visit most often who greets and chats up all customers like long lost friends; or maybe even your pet.
- People means relationships; write about the relationship you share with someone (not the person).
- Stranger Stories: Did a stranger you saw recently intrigue you? Or stay in your memory long after they passed you by? What could be their story? Write about that.
This, That, ….
- Write about something real you have never experienced but have always wanted to. It could be eating an exotic food or dish you have seen on Instagram but never tried; or you doing something you always wanted to (or even something you don’t think you will – for me, maybe that would be bungee jumping).
- Pick something that is normally considered ugly or gross or nasty, or, you get the idea. Now use your poetic words to describe it so it appears just the opposite.
- Write about indulging in your favorite dessert, spoonful by spoonful!
- That first cup of coffee or tea you drink each morning? Share that experience in a poem. Or it could be that cup of hot chocolate on a cold winter day. Or that refreshing mango smoothie on a hot tropical day too.
- That feeling you experience when you enter an air-conditioned or cool place on a hot day; or the opposite (a warm and cozy place when you have been outdoors on a cold day)
- Did you ever bite into something or take a sip of something that delighted you? Or disgusted you? Write about that. And maybe circumstances forced you to finish eating or drinking that food/drink you did not enjoy? Or kept you from having more of it when you really, really wanted more?
- So this one is both time and space and hence adding it here to this category. Places and spaces change over time. And sometimes they stay the same even though everything around has moved with the times. Pick one of those places and write about the changes (or the sameness) over time.
- Write a recipe poem; about anything. It does not have to be a food recipe; it could be a recipe for a joke, or a poem itself.
- Pick a favorite object of yours; and write from its perspective.
- Did someone ever give you something you hate(d)? Or does an item or artwork displayed in your home or room that someone else loves give you uncool vibes? Write about that.
… and the Other
- Write a “how to” poem about anything. For example, how to boil water, or use the internet, or how to write a poem!
- Have you wondered about that box in the attic that no one has opened for years? That door in the wall as you walk on a particular street that has always been locked for as long as you can remember? Or maybe that house no one has lived in for years (or some one does but you have never seen them)? Or any other such mystery in your everyday life. Write about that.
- Expectations vs Reality: Write about a time when your expectation of something (a place, a book, movie, food, song, or anything at all) or someone was vastly different from the reality
- Talking about expectations, the discovery of things (or people) in unusual places; maybe you found something where you least expected to. Or you hope to find something. Write about that.
- First Impressions or Presumptions: A new word you heard but do not know what it means. What do you think it could mean? Write that.
The Inspiration of Randomness
- Use online poem idea generators! I found this one which gives ideas like “Mimic tenderness using way too many adjectives!” And this one where you pick the number of words and challenges you need, and the generator gives you just that; a list of words, and prompts. Or another one that gives you a random line of poetry that you can use as a starting point; or insert it anywhere in your poem once that line has inspired you to get started and write it!)
- Continuing the use of generators, you can use StoryCubes or other such games to come up with ideas.
- Open the book nearest to you to any random page; and pick the last (or first) line on that page as your inspiration.
- Turn on the radio to your favorite station or one you seldom listen to; use the lyrics from the first song you hear there.
- Use the headlines of today’s news for inspiration.
- Or ask people around you to give you random words; use that list of words in your poem.
Inside Out & Back Again
Title: Inside Out & Back Again
Author: Thanhha Lai
Length: 262 pages
Genre: Children’s Fiction/Novels in Verse, Historical, Asian American (8 – 12 years, and up)
Publisher: HarperCollins (February 22nd 2011)
Source: My e-copy
Description: For all the ten years of her life, Hà has only known Saigon: the thrills of its markets, the joy of its traditions, and the warmth of her friends close by. But now the Vietnam War has reached her home. Hà and her family are forced to flee as Saigon falls, and they board a ship headed toward hope. In America, Hà discovers the foreign world of Alabama: the coldness of its strangers, the dullness of its food . . . and the strength of her very own family.
I read this book all over again to be able to review it finally, and to do the book justice. And I realized why it made such an impact on me the first time I read it. I also recalled why I felt it deserves all the honors and awards it won, and still does.
This book takes readers into the world of ten year old Ha; who does not want to leave the only world she has known all her life to a world that is sure to be strange. It is sad and heart-wrenching to read about all the things Ha and her family face; not just the heartbreak of goodbyes and missing the warmth of the only home they have known, but also the coldness and strangeness of a new place where they feel (and are) unwelcome.
No one would believe me
but at times
I would choose
wartime in Saigon
peacetime in Alabama.
But within all this sadness and racism and bullying, there is also hope and family and love. Thanhha Lai writes from the heart, and from the memories of her own personal experiences. And that is evident in the emotions that jump right off the pages and snare the reader; the hopeful, happy ones as well as the hopeless, hostile ones. There is also beauty in the narrative; and the right amount of historical information along with personal experience that takes readers into the immigrant experience in its entirety (the good, the bad, and the ugly).
The book left me teary-eyed without being overly sentimental; just like it did years ago the first time I read it.
- “Mostly I wish I were still smart.”
- “Oh, my daughter, at times you have to fight, but preferably not with your fists.”
- “I’m practicing to be seen.”
A beautiful, tugging at heart strings must-read!
Get It Here
And Now, the End of This Post
Dear reader, as always, I end this post with an invitation for your comments, suggestions, thoughts, and recommendations.
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