From The 3 a.m. Epiphany by Brian Kitely. Write a very short story in which each sentence has one word from the previous sentence. and is a reexamination of the previous sentence and the word.Use a dictionary or thesaurus to help you keep this crab-style of writing interesting.
From The Practice of Creative Writing by Heather Sellers: Write a poem that is a list of questions. make sure each is surprising, fresh and unexpected. (Is this asking too much?) Try to include images in as many of the questions as you can. Try to steer toward questions that are in front of us every day, but that few notice or take the time to articulate. If you’re around small kids, put some of their questions in there. (I once said something to my oldest daughter, who replied, “I can’t know that yet.” And I was, like, great answer!).
From The Practice of Poetry. Write a poem in which some major change (in style or content) occurs across a stanza break. The poem should not explicate or comment on the change; it should rather absorb or reflect it. This may seem mumbo jumbo-y, but once you get going, it will make sense.
From Thirteen Ways of Looking for a Poem by Wendy Bishop: You might try a praise song of a natural environment that praises a single element, like Gerard Manley Hopkins does when he praises spotted and dappled and freckled things. You might praise elements of flying things or aquatic things. You might praise the foods (and in doing so the culture) of your youth to explore what you felt then and what you know now.
Today’s poem is waiting to be discovered in your junk drawer. I know you have one. Or in the closet you’re afraid to open. Find it in there.
Write a poem using only one syllable words. When you revise it, you can cheat.
From an old Poets and Writers: Think about dreams you’ve had in the past that still linger, or search through old writing to dig up images that are repeated. Write a poem that attempt to find meaning or a connection within these visual artifacts. How can you interpret their significance now?
From The Writer’s Idea Book by Jack Heffron: Write about a family ritual. How did it start? Why has it continued? Do your family members have nicknames for each other? How did they start? Why do they stick? What do the nicknames suggest about the roles people play in your family?
I did this one yesterday and had a good result. From Western Wind, an Introduction to Poetry by David Mason and John Frederick Nims. Write a descriptive poem (of, say, a dozen lines) about a familiar object or anything of interest to you. Do not use any adjectives until the last line; then try to use, effectively, a series of three. Here’s a famous example from Charles Simic.
Fork – by Charles Simic
This strange thing must have crept
Right out of hell.
It resembles a bird’s foot
Worn around the cannibal’s neck.
As you hold it in your hand,
As you stab with it into a piece of meat,
It is possible to imagine the rest of the bird:
Its head which like your fist
Is large, bald, beakless, and blind.
Every once in a while, this will work. Take a poem that seems lost but has some good lines. Reverse it. That is, take the last line as the first line and rebuild it from the bottom up. Usually last lines are good, so start with that one. If it changes, so be it. I think Sekou Sundiata taught me this.