I'm so excited to share my latest news! Writer's Digest Books is releasing my book Smash Poetry Journal, a collection of 125 poetry prompts and other poetic fun, later this month. Order your copy here.
Last week, I celebrated my 19th work anniversary. I've done a lot of cool stuff in that time. But this project ranks up there with my favorite accomplishments ever. Because it kind of completes a cycle that started nearly 11 years ago with the first April Poem-A-Day Challenge.
Through April challenges, November challenges, and Wednesday Poetry Prompts, I've shared more than 1,000 poetry prompts and 1,000 example poems (to get things started). Smash Poetry Journal collects 125 poetry prompts. And it includes a little bit more.
Smash Poetry Journal Example Poetry Prompt
Okay, so here's an example prompt from the book (prompt number 52 for those who are counting):
Write a "coordinated" poem. Coordination could refer to keeping your balance, but it can also be a coordinated event. Sports teams have coordinators; complicated processes require coordination; and even poems have to coordinate words, line breaks, and stanzas.
Then, there's plenty of white space provided to write poems. Or at least get some ideas started. But that's not all. Many of the prompts come with an extra sidebar of poetic knowledge. Such is the case for this one.
Smash Poetry Journal Example Sidebar
Since this poetry prompt was about coordination, I included a sidebar about the one poetic form that I consider the polar opposite of that idea:
Believe it or not, there's actually a French poetic form that's basic premise is to be an uncoordinated, chaotic mess. The main rule of the descort is that the poem should not be the same from line to line or stanza to stanza. Varied syllable count, no end rhymes, no refrains, and unpredictability from one line to the next.
Some Poetic Asides readers' may remember and may have even tried this particular form. If not, learn more about the descort here.
Praise for the Poetry Prompts in Smash Poetry Journal
So yeah, I'm pretty excited about the Smash Poetry Journal and the poetry prompts within its covers. But if you have any doubts about the effectiveness of these poetry prompts (maybe the prompt above didn't spark any ideas), here's some praise from other poets who've used my prompts over the years:
"For years I avoided prompts--too narrow, too woo-woo, too not me--but Robert Lee Brewer's prompts won me over with their unusual balance between specificity and open-endedness. I've published many poems based on them, poems I never would have written otherwise." - Amy Miller, author of The Trouble with New England Girls, winner of the Louis Award from Concrete Wolf Press
"Robert Lee Brewer's Poetic Asides blog has been a vital tool in my career when I need a writing prompt 'boost' to put something down on the page. I can't wait to share this book with my students!" - Shaindel Beers, author of Secure Your Own Mask, winner of the White Pine Poetry Prize
"I have stacks of books on my desk, by my bed, and piled in my office. Some have been there for months. This book arrived, I opened it, and I immediately took it into my Poetry Workshop the next day ... and the day after that ... and the day after that..." - Joe Mills, author of Exit, Pursued by a Bear
"Robert Lee Brewer's prompts reached me at a time when, after 20 years of writing, I was becoming disillusioned with the art form. The gentle and copious inspirational offers he gave reinvigorated my creative practice, and I've continued to write, publish, perform, and teach poetry ever since." - Daniel Ari, Richmond, California poet laureate and author of One Way to Ask
"Robert's prompts have brought good results for me. In fact, many poems from my upcoming chapbook resulted from his prompts." - Nancy Breen, author of Burying the Alleluia, a Top 10 finalist for the New Women's Voices award
I'm thankful for these kind words. But there are actually more than a dozen other endorsements included in the book--and those are just the ones we could squeeze into the front two pages! I honestly believe these prompts work, whether you've never written a poem before or you've published multiple collections.
Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and author of Solving the World’s Problems (Press 53). He's also the author of the forthcoming Smash Poetry Journal. Follow him on Twitter @RobertLeeBrewer.