Need Some Inspiration? These Poems Will Get Your Creativity Flowing
Young woman sitting on carpet in living room and looking at laptop
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Often, people look for ways to avoid distractions, especially during important work. And, really, what could be more important than your writing? The process of transforming your wildest ideas, your most daring stories, your most beautiful daydreams — well, that's worthy of all your focused energy and then some. Though most of us know the above, that doesn't make it any easier to combat the kagillion-horned monster known as Writers Block. Fortunately, spending a few short minutes with a good poem can get you back at that keyboard — and more synched in with your writing than ever.

You can use poetry in your writing process in a number of different ways. If you're stuck at the beginning — i.e., Blank Page Syndrome — you might borrow (okay, steal) a line or a phrase or even a word from a poem. Type it into your document and figure out what comes next. You might also read a poem aloud and let the rhythm of those words inspire your own novel/story/screenplay's flow. The crucial thing to remember is that poems can be inspiring. Seriously, no matter what they're about, poems succinctly express images, emotions, ideas, messy psychological truths, and more. Let them teach you what you need to be taught. These seven are good candidates.


"Fatigue Empire" by Cynthia Cruz

Food in the underworld, the Death
In his seedy, green nightgown
Holding up flowers.

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"Pilgrim" by Megan Snyder-Camp

What rises in such a clearing?
What stays home
checking and re-checking the egg.

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"Poetics" by Yusef Komunyakaa

Beauty, I’ve seen you
pressed hard against the windowpane.

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"In Tongues" by Tonya M. Foster

These yawns into which we enter as into a harbor—
Come. Go. Don’t. says the vocal oceans which usher
each us, so unlike any ship steered or steering into.
A habit of place and placing a body.

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"Freedsong: Dream Song" by Tyehimba Jess

Here comes a departure:
hereafter, something falls out. Now, it might go fraught.

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"Hold Still, Lion" by C.D. Wright

He was not there to accommodate anyone's prepackaged expectations—he was there to discover the direction of his own thinking. And in that lies, as he often quoted William Carlos Williams, the profundity.

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"Chinese Silence No. 36" by Timothy Yu

To make a Japanese poem in English
we must allow the silence to creep up upon us
the way the ninja stalks and strangles
his unsuspecting victim.

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