Poetry Prompt #146

It’s Creative Ice Cream Flavors Day!

Summer and ice cream go together. What kind of ice cream is your favorite? Vanilla? Chocolate? Razzle Dazzle? Tutti-Frutti? Moose Tracks? Peanut Butter and Jelly?

ice cream 2.jpg

What do you choose if you go to an ice cream stand? If you made up a new flavor, what kind would it be? No combination is off limits…at least not until it’s taste tested.

What’ll it be: mashed potato ice cream, beer ice cream, olive oil ice cream, buffalo wing ice cream, goat cheese ice cream, or candied bacon ice cream? Yum!

An ode is a short poem praising something. In celebration of National Creative Ice Cream Flavors Day (Yes, it’s a real thing, celebrated every July 1st), write an ode to your favorite ice cream or to a flavor you wish existed.

Make us taste it, feel it, want it! Make our mouths water!

I’ll take two scoops, please!

Set your timer for 7 minutes

Don’t think about it too much; just do it!

Start writing!

Kelly Bennett and I began this 7-Minute Poetry Challenge over 1500 days ago. We now take turns creating our own prompts to share with you. If you join us in the 7-Minute Poetry Challenge, let us know by posting the title, a note, or the whole poem in the comments.

Poetry Prompt #145

Too Darn Hot!

Some days it’s just too darn hot. So hot you stick to every chair. So hot you can’t move. So hot it feels like you’re melting.

Too Hot cartoon.jpg

Writers use figurative language to convey feeling. They compare things in new and unusual ways. Similes are comparisons using “like” or “as”. Metaphors are comparisons that don’t have to use “like” or “as”. Hyperbole is exaggeration.

Too Hot.jpg

Try writing a poem describing how hot it is without using the word “hot”. Use figurative language to show what hot feels like, smells like, tastes like, sounds like. To help you get started, think of ways to finish this sentence—and then leave out the prompt.

You know it’s hot when…

Set your timer for 7 minutes

Don’t think about it too much; just do it!

Start writing!

Kelly Bennett and I began this 7-Minute Poetry Challenge over 1500 days ago. We now take turns creating our own prompts to share with you. If you join us in the 7-Minute Poetry Challenge, let us know by posting the title, a note, or the whole poem in the comments.

Poetry Prompt #144

Global Garbage Man Day

Boy howdy, where would we be without those garbage trucks to roll down the street gobbling up trash! Buried under piles, heaps, mounds of smelly yuck is where. Pee-yew!

One fella, John D. Arwood, knowing what a smelly world this could be, designated June 17th as Global Garbage Man Day, in honor of the hard-working, under-appreciated trash collectors who keep our communities clean. Let’s join in the celebration!

Hip-Hip-Hooray! It’s Global Garbage Man Day

Write a garbage poem—it can be about a garbage truck, garbage collector, or kinds of garbage. Toss in as many words that include the letter g as you can. And, at least one onomatopoeia. Can you make your poem sound like a garbage truck roaring down the street?

For extra fun, read Trashy Town by Andrea Zimmerman & David Clemesha, illustrated by Dan Yacarrinao. Here’s a link to the read-aloud: https://youtu.be/jFu0_hWbE2Q

Global Garbage Man Day: https://nationaldaycalendar.com/global-garbage-man-day-june-17/

Set your timer for 7 minutes

Don’t think about it too much; just do it!

Start writing!

Kelly Bennett and I began this 7-Minute Poetry Challenge over 1400 days ago. We now take turns creating our own prompts to share with you. If you join us in the 7-Minute Poetry Challenge, let us know by posting the title, a note, or if you want, the whole poem in the comments.

Poetry Prompt #143

National Ballpoint Pen Day

There’s a saying that “Necessity is the mother of invention.” Before ballpoint pens, people used fountain pens—pens that needed to be dipped or refilled with ink and whose sharp points worked only on paper. If you wanted to write on any other surface (wood, coarse wrapping paper, leather) you were out of luck.

The first patent for the ballpoint pen was issued in 1888 to John J. Loud, a leather tanner who often needed to write on the leather. This pen had a metal ball for the point (where it got its name!) that couldn’t fall out or in but rolled on the surface. It worked well on leather but was pretty messy on paper. Many years passed before the Biro brothers found a solution for a new sharper point.

In honor of Ballpoint Pen Day and inventions, write a poem about your favorite pen. What does it feel like? What does it look like? What color does it write? What’s the best thing it has ever written?

Set your timer for 7 minutes

Don’t think about it too much; just do it!

Start writing!

Kelly Bennett and I began this 7-Minute Poetry Challenge over 1400 days ago. We now take turns creating our own prompts to share with you. If you join us in the 7-Minute Poetry Challenge, let us know by posting the title, a note, or if you want, the whole poem in the comments.

Poetry Prompt #142

Repeat That!

Repetition can be used in poetry in many ways. You can repeat a sound like a long o sound or an l or t sound. You can repeat a word several times in the poem like the word “bells” in a famous poem by Edgar Allan Poe. You can repeat a phrase or a whole line. Or you can repeat a verse like the refrain in a song.

Choose a way to repeat from the list above and write a poem that uses some repetition.

Set your timer for 7 minutes

Don’t think about it too much; just do it!

Start writing!

Kelly Bennett and I began this 7-Minute Poetry Challenge over 1400 days ago. We now take turns creating our own prompts to share with you. If you join us in the 7-Minute Poetry Challenge, let us know by posting the title, a note, or if you want, the whole poem in the comments.

Poetry Prompt #141

 Popsicle Daze                                 

National Grape Popsicle Day: https://nationaldaycalendar.com/days-2/national-grape-popsicle-day-may-27/

It rarely freezes in San Francisco, but boy, when it does . . . Grape Popsicle!

Here’s the story: in 1905, 11-year old Frank Epperson “was outside on his porch, mixing water with a powdered flavoring to make soda. Upon going inside, he left it there on the porch with the stirring stick still in it.  That night something that rarely ever happens in San Francisco happened: temps dipped below freezing! The following morning, Frank discovered the drink frozen to the stick.” *

Popsicles are now as much a part of summertime as, well, the sun! Who hasn’t sat on the steps hot afternoons slurping ice treats? Trying to catch the sweet syrup as it drips down your hand. Or maybe you’ve made your own popsicles, the way we did. We used to fill ice cube trays with whatever sweet drink was on hand: cola, root beer, Kool aid, lemonade—and yes sometimes grape juice—stick in toothpicks for sticks and wha-lah!  What about you? What memories come to mind when you think of popsicles? What was your favorite flavor? Grape?

Try writing a Tongue Twister about Popsicles. A tongue twister is a phrase that’s hard to say multiple times in quick succession or sometimes even once. Sally sells seashells by the sea shore, and Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers are two tried trustworthy tongue twisters.

Tongue Twister Tips:

There are three key elements in the twistiest tongue twister: alliteration, consonance, & confusion.

  • Alliteration: words that begin with the same-sound. Lucky Lucy liked_____ or tricky twisters twist ____.
  • Consonance: repeated consonants within a word or phrase. Think “pitter patter” “slippy splinter splitter”…
  • Confuse the reader’s eye and trip up their tongue with consonant combinations that are almost the same, but not… as in soldier’s shoulder or chains clang. And change the endings of words—s ending are really slippery.

With these elements in mind, begin by brainstorming phrases that come to mind when you say grape or popsicle. Wait! I think I hear the ice cream truck now…

*The rest of Frank’s story: Fast forward 17 years to a Fireman’s Ball in 1922, Epperson introduced his frozen treat-on-a-stick and the guests went wild. Knowing he was onto something—cheap to make, fun to slurp, Frank began selling “Epsicles” in an amusement park and finally, in 1924 he patented the “Epsicle,” which he renamed “Popsicle.”

Set your timer for 7 minutes

Don’t think about it too much; just do it!

Start writing!

Kelly Bennett and I began this 7-Minute Poetry Challenge over 1400 days ago. We now take turns creating our own prompts to share with you. If you join us in the 7-Minute Poetry Challenge, let us know by posting the title, a note, or if you want, the whole poem in the comments.

Poetry Prompt #140

Rescue Dogs

Have you ever rescued a dog or do you know a rescue dog? The ones I know are wonderful—and lucky. They have nice homes after starting out in less than perfect situations. They’re smart and happy and full of love.

An ode is short poem praising something. Today’s prompt is to write an ode praising a rescue dog. Think about what it looks like, acts like, anything that makes the dog special. You can write it to your dog friend if you want!

Set your timer for 7 minutes

Don’t think about it too much; just do it!

Start writing!

Kelly Bennett and I began this 7-Minute Poetry Challenge over 1400 days ago. We now take turns creating our own prompts to share with you. If you join us in the 7-Minute Poetry Challenge, let us know by posting the title, a note, or if you want, the whole poem in the comments.

Poetry Prompt #139

National Frog Jumping Day

Three Ribbits for National Frog Jumping Day! Ribbit! Ribbit! Ribbit!

As long as toads have been croaking, frogs (and kids) have been jump-jump-jumping, and, every May 13th, in honor of Mark Twain’s first published short story, Jim Smiley and His Jumping Frog (better known as The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County or The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County) folks have been celebrating frog jumping day.

According to the Guinness Book of Records, the longest frog jump on record is 1.21 m (3 ft 11.64 in)—compared to the frog jumps recorded at the Calaveras County Frog Jumping Jubilee, a mere hop.  The 2019 Calaveras Country winner “The Webbed One” jumped 18 feet 6 inches! Seeing a frog jump that far is surely the stuff of poetry!

It Jumped How Far?

Let’s invoke the spirit of Mark Twain by writing a hyperbolic poem about a long-high-far jumping frog, or a person who jumps like a frog, or a frog-jumping contest—creator’s choice. See how many words for jump you can include in the poem. And don’t forget to add a ribbit or three:

April Pulley Sayer’s book: Being Frog http://www.aprilsayre.com/2020/01/31/being-frog/

Calveras Country Frog Jumping Jubilee: http://lace23.wixsite.com/frogjump/history

*According to the Guiness Book of World’s Record, that 1.21 meter frog jump was achieved by Noa Möller (Sweden) at Palatset in Stockhom, Sweden, on 19 November 2011.

Guiness World Record: https://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/longest-frog-jump

Longest Frog Jump: https://www.livescience.com/40480-biggest-frog-jumps-calaveras.html

“In 1865, Mark Twain published his first short story, Jim Smiley and His Jumping Frog. Later, he changed the name and published it as The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County.  This same story also had a third title, The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County.

“Mark Twain’s story about a pet frog named Dan’l Webster and a casual competition between two men betting on whose frog jumps higher, is the origin of National Frog Jumping Day.  The annual Frog Jumping Contest, which began in 1849 in Calaveras County, California, is also an origin of this holiday.

Use #FrogJumpingDay to post on social media.

National Frog Jumping Day: https://nationaldaycalendar.com/days-2/national-frog-jumping-day-may-13/

Set your timer for 7 minutes

Don’t think about it too much; just do it!

Start writing!

Kelly Bennett and I began this 7-Minute Poetry Challenge over 1400 days ago. We now take turns creating our own prompts to share with you. If you join us in the 7-Minute Poetry Challenge, let us know by posting the title, a note, or if you want, the whole poem in the comments.

Poetry Prompt #138

Revision

One of the best things to do to make a poem better is to read your poem aloud. Find a poem that you’d like to make better and do the following:

1) Can you replace weak words with more visual words? Words like “that” or “was” or “is” can usually be replaced with something stronger. Try to make every word count.

2) Listen to the sounds of each word. Is there a sound that’s repeated in your poem? Can you replace words to add more of that sound?

3) Read your poem very slowly. Pause at the end of each line. Is that the best word to end on? Play with your line lengths and with punctuation. Make readers read it the way you want them to.

4) Repeat these steps until you’re satisfied and then read the poem once more aloud.

Happy revising!

Set your timer for 7 minutes

Don’t think about it too much; just do it!

Start writing!

Kelly Bennett and I began this 7-Minute Poetry Challenge over 1400 days ago. We now take turns creating our own prompts to share with you. If you join us in the 7-Minute Poetry Challenge, let us know by posting the title, a note, or if you want, the whole poem in the comments.

Poetry Prompt # 137

XYZ: Xamine Your ZZZipppppper!

Two Part Question: 1. Did you wear a coat or pants today? 2. How did you clasp the front closed?

If your answer to the second part was “I zipped it up!” Then put on your party hat and let’s here it for Elias Howe!* It’s National Zipper Day!

Elias Howe’s first zipper wasn’t called a zipper. When Howe filed his patent in 1851, it was for an “Automatic, Continuous Clothing Closure.” But …Howe never tried to market or sell his invention, so it wasn’t until 42 years later when Whitcomb Judson patented a fastener similar to but not exactly the same called the “Clasp Locker.” Judson debuted his clasp locker at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. But… people were too zipped up at that time to fathom doing away with button hooks and laces, so nothing came of it. Finally, in 1917, a fella who worked at the company Judson founded, Gideon Sundback invented the “Separable Fastener.” Folks liked it, but…no one knew quite what to do with it. Apparently, the trouble was all in the name. It wasn’t until 1923 when B. F. Goodrich tried the danged zipper as a boot fastener and coined the name that stuck. Which brings us to our prompt.

Back in my school yard days, whenever a friend forgot to zip his or her pants, we’d call out with a helpful XYZ! Let’s begin by doing exactly that. By design a zipper is “two facing-rows of teeth that pull into a single piece by the slider.” In honor of National Zipper Day let’s choose two different sets of words and link them together—zip them—into a poem.

Let’s begin with two words. But, just as zipping a snug pair of jeans isn’t easy, let’s not make this poem come together too easily. Choose two words that do not seem at all connected. For instance: Tire & Popcorn; Carnival & Pencil; Snow & Tabasco. You get the idea.

Write each word on one side of a paper. Now, take a moment to list at least 5 words that relate to each of those words.

Weave, link, fasten—zip these words together into one poem. Extra points for physically arranging the poem into a zipper shape on the page. Ready! Set! X.Y.Z.

*That zipper isn’t the only thing about those clothes for which we have good ole Elias to thank. He also invented the sewing machine. Without him, instead of closets & drawers full of clothes to choose from, we might be scrounging around in hand-sewn sacks tied with string—zip it, Pontificator, stick to the subject!

National Zipper Day: https://nationaldaycalendar.com/days-2/national-zipper-day-april-29/

Set your timer for 7 minutes

Don’t think about it too much; just do it!

Start writing!

Kelly Bennett and I began this 7-Minute Poetry Challenge over 1400 days ago. We now take turns creating our own prompts to share with you. If you join us in the 7-Minute Poetry Challenge, let us know by posting the title, a note, or if you want, the whole poem in the comments.