Poetic Prompts

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So far in Wordplay Wednesday posts we have used word lists, book titles and song titles as sources for writing ideas. Today I am going to suggest one of my favorite places to find prompts: poetry.

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Poets possess a gift for succinctly expressing common emotions, ideas and experiences in a way that makes us nod our heads in recognition. I am no poet, but I have great admiration for what they do. Often I have the experience of reading a poem and wondering how the poet could to aptly express what I think or feel with such precision and beauty, I have found many writing ideas in poems; sometimes from a single line  or more often from reading an entire work as an image or memory gradually emerges.

At other times I struggle to understand the meaning behind the words, but the act of wrestling with the confusion is also of great value for bringing ideas to the surface. Not knowing can be an illuminating path for a writer to navigate and see what discoveries can be made.

Today I invite you to explore poetry as a way of prompting your creativity, Taste in poetry varies widely, but with an attitude  of openness I believe most people can find poems they can enjoy and relate to. The public library and the internet are both great resources for discovering poets and their works.

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Here are some of the poetry collections I own and dip into for inspiration:

Good Poems selected by Garrison  Keillor

Sailing Alone Around the Room by Billy Collins

The Essential Rumi translated by Coleman Barks

Finding My Elegy By Ursula K. LeGuin

Below are lines gleaned from the volumes mentioned above that can be used as prompts for your creativity:

I sometimes fear that the younger generation will be deprived of the experience of….

Everything changes, we’re told, and now the changes are everywhere…

It is in the small things we see it…

And another regrettable thing…

There are many that I miss…

Tell all the Truth but tell it slant…

Nothing is simple anymore…

You’d think we had enough of…

The dead are always looking down on us, they say…

As if, one by one the memories you used to harbor decided to retire…

This is the force of friendship…

Your grief for what you lost lifts a mirror…

There is a deliverance that comes…

The way of love is not a subtle argument…

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Did any of these stir an inkling, an idea, a memory?

Do you have any favorite poems or poets to suggest?

I would love to hear about them.