40 Poetry Prompts for High School

Published June 13, 2019
High School Girl Writing Poem

You love poems but creating them isn't as easy as it looks. Having writing prompts can help you to work your linguistic magic. Poetry writing prompts that are fun, lovey dovey or even political can work great for high schoolers.

Poetry Slam or Competition Writing Prompts for High School

Spoken word poetry is different from written. Your tone, emotion, and words all matter. You want your poem to leave an impact on the audience, giving them that wow moment. Therefore, when you're writing for a competition or spoken word poetry, you want your poem to have an impact. Working with more controversial topics that bring about passion like prejudice, justice, etc. can leave your audience stunned. Poetry prompts you might try include:

  • Discuss a moment where you were pressured to make the wrong choice. How has that choice affected you? How did it change your life?
  • Share feelings on the social hierarchy at school. Speak as an observer or from a perspective where this affected your life.
  • Describe the first moment that you experienced any kind of prejudice in high school. It could have been racism or classism. Explore your feelings from that moment.
  • Examine a moment that you experienced social injustice from teachers. This might be where favoritism affected you or you were punished unfairly.
  • Delve into the impact of bullying. You might choose to delve into this from the point of view of an observer or from your own personal experience.
  • Explore the way that your first real loss affected you. This might be the loss of a pet, friend, or family member.
  • Examine the fear that comes with the unknown. This could be the fear of a death or an upcoming event. Explore the anxiety and fear that unknown can bring.
  • Write your feelings about a political issue that you feel strongly about or that has made a personal impact on your life. This could be a presidential election, environmental issue, etc.
  • Look at how you have changed from elementary school to now. Look at your choices both good and bad. You might examine one personal event that shaped you or changed your course or just how your feelings, emotions and thoughts have changed overall.
  • Think about your fears and insecurities about school safety. Examine your feelings in relation to school massacres that have happened in history. How has this changed you? What do you feel when a school goes into lockdown?
  • Explore your feelings on sex and the pressure to have sex. How does it affect you and those around you? Does this pressure change the way you think?
  • Use your experiences with teen drinking or drug use in a poem. This might be a warning poem or just a personal experience that you've had. What lead the drinking or drug use? Why did you do it?
  • Write about having a close friend become an enemy. Why did it happen? How did it change you?

Funny Poetry Prompts

These prompts are fun to write about and typically include embarrassing moments. You'll want to really pump up your use of literary devices like similes and metaphors to go for maximum laugh potential. To get going, check out these funny writing prompts.

  • Write an ode to your favorite food.
  • Explore your feelings about school lunch in a limerick.
  • Examine your most embarrassing moment.
  • Write a poem about your pet as if it were a human.
  • Pick a funny image and create a poem based off the image.
  • Write an epic poem about the event that lead to a stain on your favorite piece of clothing.
  • Create a poem about the day in the life of an eraser.
  • Form a sonnet about a time you fell in public.
  • Delve into a moment where you embarrassed yourself in front of your crush.
  • Write a humorous poem about your parent as a high schooler.
writing on notebook in park

High School Poetry Prompts of Love

Many times, high school is the moment that you experience your first great love and most likely loss. Breaking down the feelings of euphoria and pain can be great poetry material. Many great works were based on an epic love. Try out a few poetry writing prompts on love for high schoolers.

  • Think about the feelings of a love never realized. Did you confess? Was your love hidden? Is it still hidden?
  • Write a poem about the first great love loss that you've experienced in high school. How does it compare to your other experiences?
  • Examine how maternal, paternal, or sibling love is different from romantic love. Analyze the similarities and differences.
  • Create a work based on your feelings for a crush.
  • Document the feeling of your first love. If you haven't had a first love, what are your expectations?
  • Explore what you love about your crush. What brought them to your heart? Was it looks or personality?
  • Examine the euphoria or awkwardness of your first kiss.
  • What does love mean to you? How do you describe love?
  • Write about your parents, grandparents, siblings or guardians love. How has that love changed or morphed since becoming a high schooler?
  • Think about emotions that come with first love. Put a new perspective on exploring the feeling of first love.

Politically Charged Poetry Prompts

Most high schoolers might not think outside of their own little community bubble. However, if you're exploring political situations in class or there is an event that has affected you and other students, writing a poem about them can be a therapeutic way to express your feelings. A few political prompts for high schoolers include:

  • Write a poem about the current political climate.
  • Explore a historical event and how it has modified the path of history. What would be different if another outcome had happened?
  • How does racism affect communities and lives? Use personal experience or an event to explore your feelings through poetry.
  • Is crime always black and white? Are there gray areas? Use free verse poetry to explore your personal experiences or thoughts.
  • Write about a catastrophic event that has happened around the world and how it has affected you personally.
  • Do you think that teen pregnancy is an epidemic? Write your thoughts in a short rhyming poem.
  • Look at your thoughts on climate change and how it is affecting you personally and the world. Create a poem based on your opinions and assumptions.

Using Poetry Writing Prompts in High School

Poetry writing prompts are a great tool for a competition or slam to see different viewpoints, along with a great way to get high schoolers thinking and writing. You might use these in the classroom, as part of a competition, or just to get past writing block. Here's a few tips for using these writing prompts for yourself.

  • Poetry is personal. You need to choose a prompt that you can relate to and write well on.
  • Use personal experiences and imagery to really get your message into the poem. You don't have to be a master linguist, but you do need to let the audience see your thoughts.
  • To keep your writing magic alive, try a different prompt daily. Sometimes writing on a difficult subject, can boost your ability.
  • If you don't have personal experience with a subject, explore imagery. Imagery can sometimes make the words come to live in your mind.
  • Try writing in different poetic styles, rhyming schemes and wording. Creating haikus is more challenging than you realize.
  • Have fun with it. Writing is about getting your thoughts on to paper, the more fun you have poetry, the more it will show.
  • Experiment with perspective. Have you ever considered putting yourself into the perspective of an inanimate object? Try creating a poem from a bird's eye view.
  • Modify a prompt to fit you.
  • Don't expect to be a lyrical genius your first time through. Try the same prompt from a different perspectives to see if it changes the poem.

Poetic Writing

Poetry can cram a lot of emotion and experience in a short amount of writing. You might write poetic books or short haikus. Whatever you choose, remember to experiment and have fun with your poetry writing prompts. You might not be a literary master yet, but poetic writing is all about the personal journey.

40 Poetry Prompts for High School