If you enjoy the prompts presented here, please go buy Danez's book from IndieBound.
1. My President. Whether you're A Social Justice Communist That's Ruining Our Mid-Twentieth Century White Conservative Values That Don't Apply To Us, or A Greedy Nazi Bigot For Christ Whom Jesus Wouldn't Care For, you probably think at least one American President in your lifetime is a garbagey piece of unrecyclable garbage. Nominate a list of people you wish were President of Wherever You Live. They can be politicians, celebrities, your relatives, cartoon characters. This is your list. Forget everybody else's rules. Why do you think they'd be a great President?
2. Homies. Reclaim a word that's meant to hurt you. You. Personlly, you. Don't choose a word that doesn't apply to you and try and make it okay. That's someone else's prompt, probably. I want you to take a specific name that someone called you, personally, and reclaim it as something powerful to you. Sing its praises. Why should we love you because of your relationship to that word?
3. How Many Of Us Have Them. This is a new form prompt. Write a poem that ascends. Opening with a one line stanza, followed by a two line stanza, all the way up to twelve lines in a stanza. Have this poem be a praise poem for friendship that starts with praising the friendship of two people you don't know but grows into a poem about either a specific friendship you have, or else umbrellas one of your general feelings about friendship.
4. Jumped! Whether it's violent or psychological, we've all been a bully to someone at some point. Take us on a journey that starts with you being in the position of power and punishing someone for something you feel was justified. End with a story about when you were the victim, but you can see how the person in power felt justified in punsihing you.
5. Saw A Video Of A Gang Of Bees Swarming A Hornet Who Killed Their Bee-Homie So I Called To Say I Love You. Who would you commit an act of violence for? Why would you be willing to do it? Examine Your moral code for this until you learn something new about yourself and/or the person you love enough to violently defend.
6. Fall Poem. Leaves and school and new television shows and termination of vacations are the stuff of fall. Change change change change change. I'm actually surprised more people don't get married in fall. Yea, spring is all bloomy flowers and grass splitting the tundra, and all, but that's also babies babies babies and being terrible at things. Fall is all about growth change instead of born change. Take us on a journey of growth using autumnal imagery.
7. Rose. We've all been the bully at least once. Forget the times you think you were justified. When were you competely in the wrong. Looking back, who should you have apologized to for the way you treated them? Give them your apology and/or your explanation. Own your terribleness. Don't excuse your behavior, apologize for it.
8. I'm Going Back To Minessota Where Sadness Makes Sense. For me, places hold emotional triggers even more than places. Sure, some are nostalgic and positive, but mostly there are places I won't return to unless I have to. The place just feels Wrong. Tell us about a place that holds some sort of emotional power over you. You don't need to try and explain why. Just describe the emotional feel of the place.
9. The Flower Who Bloomed Through The Fence In Grandmother's Yard. A ghost line is where you start a poem using a line by someone else, and write a whole poem wherever that first line guides you. Then you go back and delete that first line. You can make it an epigraph, if you wish, but it can no longer be the first line of your poem. Your ghost line for this exercise is : grander for his quarantine.
10. In Lieu Of A Poem, I'd Like To Say. For years, I thought I hated figs. Those cardboard Fig Newtons that parents gave out to my generation clotted my mouth. But it was the cookie I hated, not the fruit. Thirty years of avoiding figs because of crappy cookies. Sing us a song of praise for the fruits you love. Sure, vegetables, candy, bread, soup, juices, you can do that if it suits you better. But do your best to love on some fruit.
11. Dogs! Pretty straight forward, here, a poem that encompasses multiple dogs, real or fictional, and contains many different themes or metaphors. No #notalldogs or #alldogs, stories about dogs that might contradict each other. Dogs you love. Dogs you fear. Dogs that bit you. Dogs who waited for you. Wag our tails.
12. Ode To Gold Teeth. Write a praise poem for something rooted in vanity. The face lift. The spray tan. The expensive shampoo you canm't really afford. Something that has impacted your life (it doesn't have to be something you've done, it can be something someone you love has done, or something one of your coworkers has done; Just someone's act of vanity that you have to deal with on a fairly regularly basis). Praise it.
An ongoing conversation between writers and the text that they're reading.