My Favorite Speed Prompts

Hi everyone! As you probably don't know, April is national poetry month. Since poetry is so near and dear to my heart, I'd thought. One of my favorite poetic activities is something called "speed prompts," in which you write for about two minutes on a variety of thought-provoking prompts, one right after the other. This is a great way to work past writer's block as well as put together ideas and the seeds of poems-to-be, and some of my favorite poems I've ever written have started off as speed prompt responses. So, in honor of national poetry month and to share some of the things I like, here are five of my favorite speed prompts!

1. “You are not made of flesh and bone, you are made of ______”-  For this speed prompt, it’s important to be mindful of avoiding cliche. There’s plenty of temptation to fill in the blank here with something like “soul and spirit” or “moonshine and stardust” or other overused metaphors. But if you work past this knee-jerk reaction, the prompt lets you really explore what makes us who we are in a cool way.

2. “What does loneliness sound like?”- Using unexpected senses as description is one of a poet’s most powerful tools, and this prompt helps writers practice that. It takes a powerful concept, loneliness, and challenges us to imagine not just what it is or what it looks like, but what other ways it impacts us. This can lead to great moments of descriptive writing.

3. “What can you not even?”- This one is a bit more lighthearted than the others, punning off the cultural phenomenon that is the phrase “I can’t even.” However, it does let writers explore things that they don’t like in a way that has the potential to be absolutely hilarious before transitioning into a critique, making for a powerful poem. 

4. “What do you see when you look into the night sky?”- This one is a great way to practice working with metaphor and meaning. Everyone sees the same thing (with a few minor differences based on where one lives) when they look at the night sky, but it means something different to everyone, and exploring that can make for a beautiful poem.

5. “Tell me about the beginning of the world”- This prompt is a great way to watch people experiment with huge ideas in a personal way, allowing each poet to add his or her own touches to an event so massive it boggles the mind. Owning an event of that scale can be incredibly inspiring for any writer, and give them a great chance to flex their muscles.

If you have any writing prompts you're in love with, let me know in the comments!

With Excitement and Optimism, 

Alex