JUMP STARTS (our poetry prompts defined)
As You Like It – This prompt is a very basic one. It will be based on a word, idea or mental image presented to whet your muse’s appetite. It can be written in any length or form. The choice is yours!
From a Distance – Called an “Ekphrastic” poem, in this prompt you will be presented with a photograph and you will write a poem on what the picture says to you. As with the As You Like It prompt, there is no set style to follow.
Opening Gambit – For prompts in this category, you will be given a line or two from a selected poem to help stimulate your muse by discovering your own interpretation of what those words might imply or what feelings they generate. The length and style of your poem is up to you!
Short & Sweet – When you see a prompt from this category, you’ll know it’s crunch time … crunching your poem, that is, to no more than 7 lines. Any short poetry form is acceptable here. The Haiku, Senryu, Hay(na)ku and Tanka are some of the forms to consider when writing to this prompt, but a free-style poem written in seven lines or less is also acceptable. You don’t need to use the prompt word in your poem, but your piece should reflect a sense of what the word means.
Six-Pack Odes – For this prompt, you will be given a wordle consisting of six words. The form you choose is not important, but you must use all of the words. From experience, this is not as easy as it sounds. Any length in any style.
The Stylish Poet – This is the prompt many poets dread. We will pick a poetry form at random and ask you to write a poem in that particular form. I will write a poem that represents this style to get you started. A complete definition of the chosen form will be found below under “Strict Formation.” We will add new definitions each time a Stylish Poet prompt post goes live. We don’t want to give you too much notice ahead of time for what might be coming your way!
STRICT FORMATION (poetry form definitions)
Cameo – The Cameo is a six-line unrhymed poem with a corresponding syllable count per line of 2, 5, 8, 3, 8, 7, 2 (from the Poetry Base website).
Chronos – The Chronos is one of several mathematical verse schemes built around the root of Pi and, in this instance, equates to Pi2 or 9.8696. It is an unrhymed, five-line poem with a syllable count per line of 9-8-6-9-6 (from the Poetry Magnum Opus).
Ekphrastic – An ekphrastic poem is a vivid description of a scene or, more commonly, a work of art. Through the imaginative act of narrating and reflecting on the “action” of a painting, sculpture [or photograph], the poet may amplify and expand its meaning (from The Poetry Foundation).
Etheree – The Etheree poem consists of 10 lines with a corresponding 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 syllable count. It can also be reversed and written 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. In addition, an Etheree can be written with more than one verse. For a Double Etheree the syllable count would be 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Take it to the next level with a Triple or Quadruple Etheree (from Shadow Poetry).
Hay(na)ku – This 21st Century poetic form was created by poet Eileen Tabios, its first appearance on the web being June 12, 2003. A traditional hay(na)ku (pronounced “ai-na-koo”) is written in 3 lines and contains a total of 6 words (one word on line 1, two on line 2 and three on line 3). There is no restriction on syllables or rhymes. In a reverse hay(na)ku, the longest line appears first and the shortest line appears last. Multiple hay(na)ku can be chained to form a longer poem (from Baymoon.com).
Haiku – A haiku is designed to be small and concise by limiting the number of lines and the number of syllables in a line. Japanese haiku are three-line poems with the first and the third line having five syllables and the middle having seven syllables. English-language haiku may be shorter than seventeen syllables, though some poets prefer to keep to the 5-7-5 format. Written in the present tense, a haiku focuses on nature, frequently includes or suggests a season word (a “kigo”) and relates a moment of discovery/surprise (the “aha!” moment) with each line offering a distinct image. English-language Haiku may be shorter than seventeen syllables, though some poets prefer to keep to the 5-7-5 format (from Poets Collective).
Senryu – The traditional Japanese senryu mirrors the haiku in its seventeen syllable, 5-7-5 format. Unlike the more nature-related haiku, this short poetic form primarily focuses on people: men, women, husbands, wives, children, relatives and other relations. It portrays the characteristics of human beings and psychology of the human mind (from Simplyhaiku.com).
Tanka – Another Japanese form, a tanka consists of 31 syllables written in five lines in a 5-7-5-7-7 format. Like other Japanese poetry, tanka does not rhyme. It is personal and often romantic in content and feeling (from the Missouri University of Science and Technology website).
Wordle – Although not a poetic form, a wordle is essentially a toy for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide. For purposes of The Poetry Park, we create our wordles using six randomly selected words for our Six-Pack Odes prompt (in part, from wordle.net).