Poetry Prompt: Start at the End

Poetry Prompt: Start at the End

Grab some poetry books, pencils, and paper, and let’s get ready to write a poem! In today’s prompt, we’ll be trying a new strategy. Here’s a hint: we’re starting at the end.

Once you’ve got your supplies in front of you, flip through the poetry books. Find a poem that you like or one that sounds interesting. Now, take a look at the last line. How does the poet end that poem?

You can also ask yourself why the poet might have decided on those particular words or that particular arrangement for the last line. Does it pack an emotional punch? Maybe it inspires a particular feeling. Or perhaps it reminds you of something else in the poem.

Now that you’re taken a look at the poem and its final lines, it’s time to do something different. Take your own paper and pencil and write the last line on the top of your page. If it’s not a complete sentence, use the last phrase. Close the poetry book.

It’s your turn now. Use that last line as your first line and let it inspire your poem.

No need to stick to the same topics, themes, emotions, or images as the original poem. This exercise is all about being inspired by another person’s words in order to prompt your own creative thinking. It’s a practice even great poets do to prompt their creativity.

Make sure you give credit to the original poem by writing “inspired by…” or “based on the first line of…” after your title!


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