Two Simple Poetry Prompts

Recently I read Holly Lyn Walrath’s post on Medium about her favorite poetry writing prompt.

“Go to a book you love. Find a short line that strikes you. Make that line the title of your poem. Write a poem inspired by the line. Then, after you’ve finished, change the title completely.”

As she said, that is so simple. I tried it below with a line from a book I’ve been reading, Holy Curiosity by Winn Collier. The line I chose was: “Fear is a second self”

My first self was born of joy and gladness
Then I sat with brokenness around me
My second self became fear and sadness
What and when will my third self be?

Walrath also tells of another prompt she learned from Jericho Brown. This is where you choose an existing poem and replace every word with an opposite word. Then you go back and polish it up.

For my first attempt I wanted to check out the process, and see if it was worthwhile to come back to. What better mentor than “Twinkle, Twinkle” I thought.

Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star

Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are!
Up above the world so high,
Like a diamond in the sky.

When the blazing sun is gone,
When he nothing shines upon,
Then you show your little light,
Twinkle, twinkle, all the night.

‘Tis your bright and tiny spark,
Lights the trav’ller in the dark,
Tho’ I know not what you are,
Twinkle, twinkle, little star.


Darken my voluminous insignificance,
I have no interest in your dissonance.
Down under the heavens so deep,
Unlike any catastrophe on cliffs steep.

When the inauspicious draws to closeness,
When she bathes everything in darkness,
Then I conceal my magnanimous gray,
Darken, darken throughout the day.

It was my depressed and massive night,
Shading the resident in pure sunlight,
For that, you know not my coincidence,
Darken my voluminous insignificance.

After note: I decided I will try it again later with a text more meaningful to me. The process was puzzling and engaging.