Oscar Wilde once said bad poetry comes from real emotion. I have three journals of teen angst poetry that proves Wilde’s point. There were plenty of emotions raging through those words I set down on paper; however, those words and line breaks did not make a poem.


Today’s writing prompt looks at the world of emotion that lies within your drafts of poems.

Take something that has an emotional charge for you. It might be a letter, an email, a picture, or a song, but whatever it is, I want you to get it and look (or listen) to it.

For about ten minutes, just write everything that comes to mind about this object.

Now, go deeper. Take the next five minutes and write your reaction to the object.

What you will do next is take a word inventory from your free write. Look for categories you can name and put the actual word you used in the category. Now, look at the categories and look for the one you have the most words filled into the category. In this, what you are doing is finding the true emotion you have associated with this object.

Take the three words that stand out to you the most and weave them into a metaphor for the object. Use only one metaphor (anything else will clog up your poem).