132 Best Poetry Prompts and Ideas to Spark Creativity

Many great minds considered poetry to be the superior form of art. It transcends mortality and the transience of human life and becomes an eternal monument of people’s existence and creativity. Poetry that was written hundreds of years ago can still mesmerize, astonish, inspire, move, horrify, and elevate us.

There is an unlimited number of themes that can be used to produce great poetry. Inspiration can find its way in a myriad of ways, so this is a chance for you to get your creative juices flowing. Poetry prompts can be of great help when you are trying to find your poetic voice, or trying to step outside your comfort zone. We hope that these ten sets of themes will bring the best of your writing skills.

Ideas for poems about different types of emotions

It is no wonder that the first set is dedicated to emotions. Poetry is almost synonymous with people’s emotional footprint. These 10 prompts cover a wide range of human emotions, so dive in deep!

  1. Write a poem about a moment when you felt overwhelmingly joyful. Try to convey this emotion by depicting the setting, the time, and what prompted this strong feeling of happiness and joy. Was it a personal success? Perhaps a wish you’ve had for years finally came true. Whatever it was, draw from your own life experience.
  2. Sadness is a complex emotion that all of us have felt. Sadness often gives birth to the most poetical literary pieces because many people have experienced grief, or unhappiness at a certain point in their life. Write about the cause for your sadness. Perhaps you experienced a loss of a loved one, perhaps it was a professional failure.  Oftentimes, people feel sad when they had their trust betrayed by a person they considered a friend.
  3. When was the last time you felt truly angry? Think of a moment when you suffered injustice at your workplace, or you were deceived by a person you love and trust. Writing a poem about anger can be a powerful poetic expression and a way to deal with your anger.
  4. Write a poem about a time when you felt scared. It can be told from a perspective of a frightened child, or, perhaps, an adult afraid for his/her life. Sometimes fear is connected to certain expectations and uncertainties about the future.
  5. Imagine that you feel very proud. What prompted this feeling of pride? Being proud is usually the result of an accomplishment on a personal or a private level.
  6. Write a poem about a time in your life when you felt brave and powerful. Describe the circumstances that led to this outburst of bravery in a personal, or professional setting. Let the reader feel the confidence and resolution in your actions through the power of verse.
  7. Alienation is a feeling that can be soul-crushing. All people experience some moments in life when they feel as if they don’t quite fit in, or are overlooked. The feeling of alienation is often linked to the feeling of low self-worth. Write about how you managed to overcome this feeling and who, or what helped you in the process. Many people will recognize themselves in a poem about personal alienation.
  8. Another poetry prompt about an emotion is writing about anxiety. In these modern times filled with busy schedules, it is more than expected that people would feel anxious. Take a deep look within and try to discover the source of anxiety in your own life. Sometimes it is the workplace, sometimes it’s your love life, but sometimes people have existential crises that lead to anxiety due to life’s uncertainty and complexity.
  9. Pessimism is a theme widely explored in poetry. People often feels pessimistic due to a variety of problems in their lives. Writing a poem about pessimism may inspire people to try and find another way to look at the world by seeing things in a new perspective.
  10. On the opposite side of the specter is optimism. A poem about being optimistic often falls in the category of carpe-diem poems, or poems about seizing the day and making the best of every opportunity that presents itself in our lives. Write poetry about a bright time in your life when you felt that every new day offered a new chance to become better, happier, and more successful.

Ideas for poems about love

For many people love represents the meaning of life. With its so many forms, love is an eternal spring for inspiration all over the world and across generations.

  1. A mother holding her baby for the first time is one of the most intense human experiences. Try to capture the deepest connection between two human beings that happens instantly. Find a new way to depict the unconditional love that is born with the birth of the baby.
  2. Write a poem about love between siblings. Siblings, especially when they are younger, sometimes have strange ways of showing their love for one another. Write about the big and small gestures that describe the loving connection between brothers and sisters.
  3. Do you believe in love at first sight? Describe the setting, the time, and the situation in which two strangers meet and instantly develop strong feelings of affection. You can write it in a form of a dialogue, or use love letters. You can also give their personal perspectives in different stanzas.
  4. The theme is “a marriage proposal.” Imagine that this poem is written by a person who is planning to propose to their partner. List all the reasons why you think that these two lovers are perfect for each other.
  5. Love stories are never absolutely perfect. Write about a fight between two spouses. Describe the circumstances and the reasons for experiencing anger towards the person you love. Present both sides of the argument. Try to find an elegant solution to the fight and end the poem with a reconciliation. 
  6. Not every fight ends in making peace. Unfortunately, some love stories end in divorce. Write about the complex feelings that the two ex-lovers experience in the process.
  7. Unrequited love can be horrible and depressing. The world’s greatest literature includes poem about unrequited love. Try to draw from either personal experience, or from people who are close to you. How did you try to win the other person over? What was the major obstacle? Were you disillusioned about love afterwards?
  8. Write a poem about the one who got away. Start by describing the first date, the first kiss, the first fight, and the last fight before the end of the romance. Write about the expectations you both had from the relationships, the red flags, the disappointment, and the lost love.
  9. Write a poem about the love between your grandparents. How did they show their affection for one another? Which small love gestures did you enjoy witnessing as a child? What did you learn from seeing how much they still care for each other? Try to portray the respect and devotion of a long-lasting relationship.
  10. Talk about love in general. Write about the reasons why it is a vital part of human’s experience. Meditate upon your own experiences regarding different kinds of love. Write about the ways in which love makes us better people. Find different ways to depict the manner in which love enriches our souls.

Ideas for poems about life in general

Life is mysteriously beautiful, complex, difficult, and painful. You can show your appreciation for it, by writing on at least one of the following ten prompts.

  1. Growing old is an important part of the life cycle. Some people fear the inevitable end so much that they don’t live their life to the fullest. Others are older and wiser, so they happily pass their knowledge and wisdom to the future generations. Write about your own experience, or how the old age of family members has affected your own life.
  2. Write a poem about a specific accomplishment in your life and how it has improved you as a person.
  3. The main theme of the poem is “the life cycle.” Everything which is born eventually dies, and the cycle starts again.
  4. Write a poem about the experience of a couple who is expecting a baby. Write about the overwhelming emotions, love, affection, and care that the future parents feel.
  5. There are many obstacles in life, and facing them is an important aspect in a person’s life. Write a poem about the potential hardships in life and how they affect people’s lives.
  6. Write a poem from a child’s point of view. Remember how you used to perceive the world and how you tried to explain things to yourself using child’s logic. The poem will depict the sweetly naïve child’s perceptions of the world.
  7. Write a poem about hope. Life is hard and complex as it is, so hope is often our driving force. Think of a time when you were hopeful.
  8. Write a poem about a usual, boring day. Find poetry in the monotony of life.
  9. Write a poem about travelling to a foreign country. Capture the essence of changing scenery, and dwell on the way travelling makes us more open-minded.
  10. Think of a time when you were badly hurt. Write a poem about how you dealt with the pain.    

Ideas for poems about death

People from every culture and generation in the world have been obsessed with understanding death and what comes after it. It brings, sadness, nostalgia, wisdom. These ten prompts can stir your imagination and inspire philosophical thought about the most mysterious concept in the world.

  1. Write a poem about the fondest memory you have of a person who had passed away. Why is this memory so special? How did you feel when this person died?
  2. Death is often personified. Write a poem addressing Death as a person. What is it that you would like to tell him? What would you want to ask him?
  3. Imagine that you are Death and you hate your vocation. How do you justify your actions? You can use a lighter tone for the poem.
  4. Write a poem about a person who had a near-death experience. What happened to them? How did they survive? Did they change for the better after it?
  5. Write a poem about a real or an imaginary genocide.
  6. Write a poem about a person trying to deceive Death and reach immortality.
  7. Write a poem about the death of a pet. What did you do to help you deal with the loss?
  8. Imagine that you have only a day to live. What would you do?
  9. Write a poem about the first time you understood the concept of death.
  10. How do you want to be remembered after you die? Write a poem about how your death is going to affect your loved ones.

Ideas for poems about philosophy

People are gifted with intelligence, wisdom, and the power to think in abstract ways. People’s quest to understand the meaning of life and the world surrounding us is a fantastic basis for writing poetry.

  1. Write a poem about what you perceive to be the meaning of life.
  2. Friendship is a type of human connection that makes people happier and healthier in every possible way. Write a poem about your best friend, or somebody you’ve lost.
  3. The thirst for knowledge is a concept that defines us as a human race. Write a poem about the eternal quest for knowledge.
  4. Imagination is a distinctly human quality. Write a poem about the role imagination plays in creating art.
  5. Write a poem inspired by the Machiavellian quote that the goal justifies the means.
  6. Write a poem about people’s ancient desire to explain the natural phenomena by inventing elaborate mythological stories.
  7. Write a poem about the good and the bad aspects of humility.
  8. Patience teaches us a valuable lesson about controlling our desires. Write a poem about a time when you had to be patient when you wanted something.
  9. Write a poem about the benefits from daily meditation.
  10. Write a poem about perfection. Think of the combination of aesthetics and ethics and how perfection can be achieved.  

Ideas for poems about everyday things

Sometimes the most poetic compositions are created out of the simplicity of life. These ten prompts can help you find poetry in the smallest of things around you.

  1. Write a poem about your everyday little rituals.
  2. Write a poem about raindrops slowly falling down the window glass while you’re thinking about your life in general.
  3. Write a poem about a relaxing walk in the park. Use natural imagery, but also try to depict the noises you hear: rustling, splashing, chirping, etc. 
  4. Write a short poem about the simple pleasure one gets from eating a juicy piece of fruit.
  5. Pets are an important part in our lives. Write a poem about the joyfulness from playing with your pet.
  6. Everybody makes mistakes, so write a poem about apologizing to somebody for something you’ve done.
  7. Write a poem about a sunny morning when you went out and bought some flowers from a flower shop.
  8. Eating a dessert might be the most relaxing and enjoyable part of dinner. Write a short poem about eating a delicious dessert.
  9. Write a poem about a time when you didn’t have electricity due to a heavy storm, so you had to read a book using a candlelight.
  10. Think of an activity that relaxes you before falling asleep and write a poem about it. Perhaps the activity can be listening to Mozart!

Ideas for poems about time

Time, even for scientists, is one of the most interesting concepts. Its abstractness has served as an inspiration for many philosophical and literary works. The following prompts can guide you into writing poetry about different complexities of the notion of time.

  1. Write a poem about a childhood memory that still brings you joy when you think about it.
  2. Write a poem about the modern age we live it. What is positive and what is negative about living today
  3. Think of a lost opportunity because the timing wasn’t right. Write a poem about the importance of using every opportunity, which is difficult because people often find excuses for their failures.
  4. Write about a person who has wasted his/her youth. This person feels immensely remorseful.
  5. Waking up after having spent a few months in a coma can make people reevaluate their life choices and decisions.
  6. Write a poem about a time in the past when you experienced an epiphany – a sudden realization of great truth.
  7. Write about the development of the human life, starting from the time a person is a toddler.
  8. Describe the sunset and use it as a metaphor for the end of a person’s life.
  9. Describe the sunrise and link it metaphorically to the concept of birth.
  10. Write a poem about an antique clock.

Ideas for poems about different forms of art

Poetry has always been regarded as one of the most sophisticated aspects of human existence. As a form of art, it is inevitably connected to other forms of art. These ten prompts can inspire pieces that combine different artforms.

  1. Write a poem about the feelings that overcome you while listening to your favorite music.
  2. Write a poem about a Shakespearean play.
  3. Write a poem about a mysterious painter.
  4. Write a poem from the perspective of a ballet shoes.
  5. Describe the images and stories painted on a Grecian urn.
  6. Imagine that you are a famous painter looking at a freshly finished piece. Write a poem about the painter’s perceptions of a painting.
  7. Write a poem about a day spent in a museum.
  8. Write a poem about a film character that you admire.
  9. Write a poem that will instruct actors on the manner that they should act, which is similar to prince Hamlet’s speech to the players.
  10. Write a modernized version of a famous speech taken from a Renaissance play.

Ideas for poems about historical events

Historia est magistra vitae. Indeed, history teaches us about life. Numerous works have been written celebrating historical events, so this is your chance to use verses to do the same.

  1. Imagine that you lived in the period of Alexander the Great. Write a poem about him.
  2. Write a poem about the hardships in World War I.
  3. Write a poem about life in the industrial revolution in England.
  4. Write a poem about Martin Luther King.
  5. Imagine that you are an archaeologist who makes a startling discovery in Egypt.
  6. Imagine you saw the apple falling on Sir Isaac Newton’s head.
  7. Write a poem about Queen Elizabeth I. She was an exceptional monarch that deserves literary praise.
  8. Write a poem about the trial of Galileo Galilei.  
  9. You are Alexander Bell, the person who invented the telephone. How is the world different because of you?
  10. Write a poem about Archimedes and his “eureka” moment.   

Ideas for poems about religion and spirituality

If something truly separates us humans from the other forms of life on this planet, it is spirituality. The belief in a higher power is a distinctively human quality. Delve deeper into your own beliefs and spirituality and put your religious experience into words.

  1. How can you restore the faith in God in somebody who seems to have lost it? How can you help this person find his way again?
  2. Imagine that you are one of the three Magi following a star to Bethlehem.
  3. Write a poem about a moment you felt that you are one with nature.
  4. Describe your feelings after meditation. Write about the setting, your surroundings, and the feelings that come rushing in.
  5. Write a poem about the afterlife. It doesn’t have to your own perception. It can be inspired by major religions.
  6. Think of a religious temple you’ve visited. How did it make you feel? Where was it? Is it real, or imaginary?
  7. Everybody has experienced personal hardships. Write a poem about a difficult period in your life and about your prayers to overcome it.
  8. The death of a close family member, or a spouse can be the most traumatic experience in a person’s life. Write about your relationship to God after you lost somebody you loved. Did it change?
  9. Write a poem about temptation. Did you give in to the temptation? How did you feel after that?
  10. Imagine that you are God for only a day. What would you do with your power?

Ideas for poems about family life

The family life is in the core of a healthy society. Family ties can bring you joy, sadness, love, pride, etc. Use the following prompts to express your understanding of family life.

  1. Write a poem about a child who gets a puppy as a Christmas present.
  2. Describe a family trip to the ZOO. The tone can be lighter, and it can be told from the children’s point of view.
  3. Write a poem about a family summer vacation. Draw inspiration from from jumping into the water, sunbathing, building sand castles, exploring cities’ architecture and culture. A summer vacation brings the best in every family, so you could go back to your own childhood in order to depict a realistic representation of the feeling.
  4. You are celebrating Christmas with your extended family. Write a poem about the conversation around the dinner table.
  5. Imagine that you are a mother, or a father expecting a child. You have created a new heartbeat in the world. Try to depict the wonders that surround procreation.
  6. You are planning a surprise birthday party for you father and you’ve invited all of his close friends into his home.
  7. Write a poem celebrating your parent’s 40-year anniversary. Tell them why this is a special event for you, how much they’ve touched your life, and how much affection you have for them.
  8. Imagine that you are stuck with your sibling in an elevator for two hours. What are you going to talk about?
  9. Write a poem about leaving the home you were born in and moving to anew place. Try to portray the strong feelings of nostalgia and the memories that arise from packing your life in card boxes.
  10. Write a poem about an ill family member. Use your verses to make them feel better and to bring hope that everything will turn out alright in the end.

Ideas for poems about nature and travelling

Nature is a powerful and mesmerizing force that sustains us. We are a part of nature, and nature is within all of us. These ten prompts can serve as an inspiration for you to create an homage to this planet.

  1. Write a poem about the beginning of spring and the new cycle of life. Use natural imagery, colors, and active verbs that would signify the awakening of nature.
  2. Think of a city that you haven’t visited yet, but you really want to. Why is it so? Is it because it is exotic? Is it because of its architecture? Perhaps, you are more interested in the people and their culture.
  3. Write a poem about a natural phenomenon. Are you astonished by it? Is it devastating for people? Focus on the power of nature.
  4. Imagine that you are a raindrop and describe your journey.
  5. Many poems have been written about the Sun and the Moon. Try to find a different angle when writing about them.
  6. Write a poem about meeting an interesting/mysterious/funny person on a train in a foreign country. How did you start the conversation? How long did you talk? Did you explore the city together?
  7. Imagine that you are on top of Mount Everest.  How do you feel? Who are you with? How can you inspire other mountaineers to conquer the highest mountain peak?
  8. The ocean, unlike the earth, can’t be conquered by humans. The ocean is too powerful and people are it his mercy during every voyage, regardless of the length. Write a poem about the respect people should have for this large body of water.
  9. Write a poem about the change of seasons and the passing of time.
  10. Imagine that you’ve been granted to power to fly for a month. Where would you go? Why? How do you think your life and perceptions will change after that month?

Ideas for poems with supernatural elements

Human’s imagination is limitless and astonishing. Centuries ago people would come together to tell stories, often incorporating supernatural elements in their accounts. By doing so, they were able to cause catharsis. Mythologies were created because people couldn’t explain natural phenomena. The fight between personifications of good and evil have been of great interest for millions of literature lovers. Here are 12 prompts to help you get started.

  1. Imagine that you are moving into what others believe to be a haunted house.
  2. How far would you go to save a loved one? Would you make a deal with the devil?
  3. You are sage who gives advice to people you believe have kind hearts.
  4. You are a dragon defending your family from human invaders.
  5. Write a poem about a princess locked in a high tower and who isn’t allowed to look at the real world outside her windows.
  6. You find a magic ring in your grandmother’s old casket. You can heal whomever you want on the expense of another human being.
  7. A man who presumably has died at sea returns on Halloween to his old house to visit his grieving mother.
  8. You have the ability to communicate with trees and gain wisdom.
  9. Write a poem from the point of view of a werewolf.
  10. Write a poem about the three Fates who decide on the fate of a baby.
  11. Imagine that world is slowly disappearing and nobody could explain how. Offer a solution to the problem.
  12. You have the ability to foretell the future. You see a great tragedy on a large scale that is to happen in a month. What do you do to stop it? Can you really alter the future with your actions?
Josh Fechter
Josh is the founder and CEO of Squibler.