Category Archive: tips from the bar

Tips from the Bar: You Didn’t Ask to Be Born

Unfairly blame a person or inanimate object for something that’s gone wrong in your life that it/they cannot possibly be responsible for.

Tips from the Bar: Vagoo Zeebrah

Write a poem based on a word you mispronounced (“vague,” “zebra”) for an inexcusable amount of time.

Explain the following sign: “Due to last week’s incident, there are no more Oreos allowed in the library.”

Tips from the Bar: White Elephant

Write a polite thank-you note for a gift you definitely did not want.

Tips from the Bar: Hello, 2017

Use the following John Murillo idea from his book, Up Jump the Boogie, as a ghost line:

“Shame is a luxury lost on the wretched.”

Tips from the Bar: Down to the Crossroads

Go down to the crossroads, and meet your Devil there. What do you talk about? Is there a soul sold, and in exchange for what?

SPECIAL BONUS PROMPT: write about the poet laureate of a place you don’t like.

Tips from the Bar: It’s All True

Find a setlist for a band you don’t usually listen to (examples here). Let it inform the arc of your poem.

Tips from the Bar: That Guy Works for a Living

Write about the job you held for the shortest amount of time. Include why you quit/left/were fired.

Tips from the Bar: Adulting Choices

Use this concept from John Pinkham as a ghost line, theme, or literalism:

The floor is lava! Everything in the adult world is lava!

Tips from the Bar: We Can Do It

Write a poem about how your parent’s (or parents’) occupation defined them.

Tips from the Bar: The Happy Parakeet

Find something in the real world that seems especially unusual or out of context.

Don’t ask anyone involved to explain it. Write your own explanation.

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