In honor of Poetry Month, I give you a 30-day poetry challenge.
Day 1—Write a poem where each line starts with a letter from your first name (an acrostic). It can be about anything, but it should not be about you or your name.
Day 2—Who was the last person you texted? Write a five line poem to that person.
Day 3—Find the nearest book (of any kind). Turn to page 8. Use the first ten full words on the page in a poem. You may use them in any order, anywhere in the poem.
Day 4—Write a haiku. They’re often about nature, but yours can be about anything.
Day 5—Write a three line poem about lemons without using the following words: lemon, yellow, round, fruit, citrus, tart, juicy, peel, and sour.
Day 6—Write a poem of any length incorporating every word from your latest Facebook status.
Day 7—Take a walk until you find a tree you identify with, then write a poem using the tree as a metaphor for yourself or your life.
Day 8—Write a cinquain on a topic of your choice.
Day 9—Quickly jot down four verbs, four adjectives, and four nouns. Write a poem using all 12 words.
Day 10—Pick a one line song lyric to serve as an epigraph to your poem. Then, write the poem to accompany it.
Day 11—Write a list poem.
Day 12—Tell your life story in 6 words.
Day 13—Write a short poem that a child would like.
Day 14—Write a bad poem, make it as lousy as you can, do everything wrong, let yourself be awful.
Day 15—Post a poem (written by someone else) that you love (for any reason).
Day 16—Respond to the poem you posted yesterday with a poem of your own.
Day 17—Write a poem that employs a rhyme scheme.
Day 18—Write a poem without any end rhyme, only internal rhyme.
Day 19—Imagine yourself doing any household task/chore, then write a poem using what you’ve imagined as an extended metaphor for writing.
Day 20—Write a narrative poem detailing a specific childhood memory.
Day 21—Choose one of the poems you’ve already written and posted as part of this challenge and re-order it in some way. You could rearrange the lines or stanzas or even words in a line. Think of it as a puzzle!
Day 22—What is the first car you bought/drove/remember? Write a poem about it.
Day 23—Write a seven line poem that begins with “it’s true that fresh air is good for the body” (from Frank O’Hara’s poem “Ave Maria”) and ends with “this is our body” (from Gary Snyder’s “The Bath”).
Day 24—Write a poem that’s different in some way from anything you’ve ever written. Take a chance! Be wild!
Day 25—Write a poem that includes all of the following words: pistachio, ink, pebble, weather, varnish.
Day 26—Gather some magazines/catalogs you don’t mind cutting up and spend ten minutes flipping through them looking for words/sentences that spark your interest. Cut out the words as you go, and (at the end of the ten minutes) arrange the words to form a cut-out poem.
Day 27—Begin with the title “The Poem I’d Never Write.” Then, write that poem.
Day 28—Visit a virtual art gallery and look around until you find a piece that intrigues you. Write a poem inspired by the artwork.
Day 29—Briefly research a poetic form of your choice and write a poem according to the rules of that particular form.
Day 30—Write a poem employing extended metaphor to illustrate the experience of the last thirty days.