How transcendental meditation led to a conversation with Allen Ginsberg about poetry prompts and unlocking poetry. Happy 2023!

I was in a state of transcendental meditation when the idea of Allen Ginsberg suddenly popped into my mind. I couldn’t shake the thought of the famous Beat Generation poet, and before I knew it, I found myself asking him about his use of poetry prompts.

Poetry prompts are short phrases or sentences that are designed to inspire and stimulate creative writing. They can be used as a starting point for a poem or as a way to jumpstart the creative process when you’re feeling stuck. The power of poetry prompts lies in their ability to unlock creativity and free language, allowing you to explore new ideas and express yourself in new and innovative ways.

Ginsberg’s use of prompts was inspired by the Surrealist movement, which believed that the unconscious mind was the source of true creativity and that it could be accessed through the use of techniques such as automatic writing and free association. By using prompts to stimulate the unconscious mind, Ginsberg believed that poets could unlock a wealth of creativity and find new ways to express themselves.

In addition to unlocking creativity, the use of poetry prompts can also help to free language and break down the barriers that can often prevent us from expressing ourselves fully and authentically. By providing a starting point for a poem, prompts can help to take the pressure off and allow us to simply write without worrying about structure or form. This can lead to more natural and spontaneous language, and can help us to express ourselves more freely and authentically.

Allen,” I said, “I’ve heard that you were a big proponent of using prompts to inspire creativity and free language. Can you tell me more about that?”

Ginsberg looked at me with a twinkle in his eye and smiled. “Yes, I believe that prompts can be a powerful tool for unlocking creativity and finding new ways to express ourselves,” he said. “By providing a starting point for a poem, prompts can help to take the pressure off and allow us to simply write without worrying about structure or form. This can lead to more natural and spontaneous language, and can help us to express ourselves more freely and authentically.”

I nodded, fascinated by his words. “Can you give me some examples of prompts that you’ve used in the past?” I asked.

Ginsberg thought for a moment, then began reciting a list of prompts that he had used over the years. “The colors of the sunset are the colors of my emotions,” he said. “I am the sum of my memories. The city at night is a symphony of sounds. I am a drop of water in an endless ocean. The moon is my witness, the stars are my thoughts.”

As I listened to Ginsberg’s prompts, I felt a sense of excitement and inspiration wash over me. I knew that I had to try using these prompts for myself and see what kind of poetry they would inspire. I thanked Ginsberg for his insights and promised to put his prompts to good use.

5 prompts to write an experimental poem

  1. “The colors of the sunset are the colors of my emotions”
  2. “I am the sum of my memories”
  3. “The city at night is a symphony of sounds”
  4. “I am a drop of water in an endless ocean”
  5. “The moon is my witness, the stars are my thoughts”