Prompt: A Contemporary Sonnet

Have you written a sonnet lately? Now is a good time. Yes, there is the rhyme scheme but you can squeeze that a little bit. You don’t want to have your lines end at the breaks. That will result in Dr. Seussishness. Enjamb, let the lines flow into the next. The rhyme should be really subtle in this old rhymed form. Write the Black Lives Matter poem. Did Ovid write about Covid? He would’ve. (He didn’t write sonnets either but so…as I used to say as a teenager.) Make it contemporary. No flowery handkerchief language.

Elizabeth Kerlikowske

Prompt: An Updated Myth

Write a poem that modernizes a classical myth. Rewrite the old myth in modern terms. For instance, Sisyphus is doomed to push a car up a hill forever. You may make yourself the classical figure if you like. (From The Mind’s Eye by Kevin Clark) Don’t forget: Poetry Society of Michigan is looking for poems that have turned out well from these prompts for a reading. Send to

Elizabeth Kerlikowske

Here’s a clever example from the pages of Third Wednesday Magazine. (by permission from the editors).

Prompt: An Ekphrastic Poem

ekerlEkphrastic poetry: sounds complicated. It’s not. Ekphrastic art pays homage to another art form. In the case of poetry, we write a poem, taking our inspiration from a work of art. Use a painting or a photograph.

Do not spend any time describing the work of art. Enter it. Become part of it. Use details but let your imagination run amok in the art work. There is no right answer but your answer. – Elizabeth Kerlikowske

Below is an example from The Ekphrastic Review by one of our PSM members.

Prompt: A Begining Quotation

From The Writers’ Idea Book by Jack Heffron:
Find a religious or philosophical quotation that makes a statement about the human condition. Consider looking in the Bible, a book of quotations, the Koran or a book of philosophy. Use that statement as the first sentence in a piece of writing or an an epigraph. In the piece, refute or demonstrate the efficacy of the statement.

Elizabeth Kerlikowske