Post Series: Advent: Poetry topic idea: anticipation

Advent is a time of anticipation.  There is anticipation of Christmas.  Anticipation can make a good poetry topic idea.  A poet could write about anticipating something and the ideas and the emotions that go with it.

Here is an example poem:

wrapping a gift
wondering what
they’ll think of it


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Post Series: Advent: Poetry topic idea: Christmas symbols

Throughout Advent and through the Christmas season you are likely to encounter a number of Christmas symbols.  This includes things like stars, wreaths, Christmas trees, ornaments, candy canes, presents, nutcrackers, and so forth.

You could explore these different symbols in poetry.  You could take some time to learn about their history, their original meanings, their current meanings, how their meanings have changed over time, and how Christian symbolism can be applied to them.

You could either pick one topic such as stars, and explore it in depth, or you could explore a number of different topics in one poem.

This exercise could be a good learning experience about Christmas symbols and it could help you to explain them to others.  It could also be a good exercise to learn about and apply Christian symbolism to the different symbols, both those that started with them, and those that had them applied later.

Here is an example poem looking at stars:

As you place the star,
atop the tree,
and plug the plug,
turn down the lights,
and watch it shine,
think back,
to that one star,
that brought men from the east,
hundreds or thousands of miles,
in search of someone,
they had never met,
whose name they did not know,
whose story they had not heard.

Think about,
how they may have seemed,
to those who knew them.

How strange it must have seemed,
to hear them say,
they were following a light,
to an unknown place.

Think about the journey they took,
the hardships they encountered,
and the faith the must have had.

Think about what they left,
what they risked,
and who they found.

As you look at the star,
atop your tree,
think back,
to that one star,
and see it,
in a new light.

Poetry topic idea: the death of a pet

Today’s poetry topic idea is the death of a pet.  After M. Sakran’s dog Shadow died, there was a commemoration on this blog.

When a pet dies, writing poetry about it can sometimes help.  It can be a way to deal with emotions and express things.  It can give a person something to do related to the death that feels like active mourning.

When a poet writes about the death of a pet, there are number of things they can write about.  A poet can write about:

  • The sadness they feel.

  • How the pet died.

  • Memories of the pet.

  • What the pet was like when it was alive.

  • What their life is like now that the pet is gone.

  • How they mourn for the pet.

  • How other people perceive their mourning for the pet.

  • How they feel more generally after the death of the pet.

  • How they are memorializing the pet.

Here is an example poem:

the calculator says,
it’s been three years,
six months,
two weeks,
and three days since you died.

it doesn’t feel like that long.
It feels like it was a month ago.

Your photo,
is still on the computer.

The little resin dog,
painted to look like you,
is there on the shelf.

your friend is squeaking now.
He probably wants a treat.
Hold on just a minute.

he got some treats.

although you are thought of,
it isn’t enough.

It seems,
like something more should be done,
like somehow,
it affects you.

At least,
there is this.

This is something.

You are missed,
you funny little dog.

Poetry topic idea: professional wrestling

Today’s poetry topic idea is professional wrestling.  A poet could write about:

  • The contrast between professional and amateur wrestling.

  • Themselves as a wrestling performer.

  • How professional wrestling reflects society.

  • People’s perception of professional wrestling.

  • Professional wrestling as a metaphor for other situations.

  • A professional wrestler.

  • A professional wrestling match.

  • Injuries in professional wrestling.

  • Costumes in professional wrestling.

  • Professional wrestling story lines.

  • Professional wrestling characters.

  • Something in the style of a professional wrestling interview.


Here is a poem that uses the idea of professional wrestling:
He trains three hours a day.

He knows seventy five different moves.

He’s on the road two hundred days a year.

He’s been in more than two thousand matches.

He’s been hit with chairs.

He’s been thrown through tables.

He’s fallen off of a steel cage.

His leg was broken.

His arm was broken.

He had surgery on both knees.

He had surgery on his elbow.

His back always hurts.

His vision is blurry in his left eye.

And people tell him

that what he does

isn’t real.

Poetry topic idea: sports

Today’s poetry topic idea is sports.  Sports is good topic to write about because there are so many different areas a poet could focus on.  A poet could write about:

  • Different sports. Some include: baseball, basketball, football, hockey, soccer, rugby, cricket, archery, boxing, gymnastics, bob sledding, downhill skiing, sprinting, hurdling, medium distance running, long distance running, tennis, swimming, and diving.

  • Winning and losing.

  • Various social issues associated with sports. These include ideas such as gender, race, and economic status.

  • Playing a sport.

  • Watching sports.

  • Discussing sports.

  • Play by play announcing in sports. A poet could apply this idea to other things and give a play by play for them.

  • Retiring from a sport.

  • The change in sports over time.

  • An invented sport. A poet could invent a sport and write poetry about it.

  • Sports video games.

  • Sports merchandise.


Here is an example poem using the idea of sports:

Strike one!
Strike two!
Strike three!
You’re out!

Hold on.
Loading saved game.

Strike one!
Strike two!
Home run!

Too bad,
this only works,
in video games.

Poetry topic idea: bias in news stories

Today’s poetry topic idea is bias in news stories.  Bias in news stories can show up in a number of ways.  Some of them include:

  • Cherry picking of facts. There can be a number of facts about an issue.  Bias can occur when someone only selects those facts that support their point of view.
    For example, if someone wanted to say that a city had worse crime than it did in the past, they might look at crime statistics for the city.  If some crime statistics showed a decrease in crime (for example robbery went down), but other statistics showed an increase (for example car theft went up), a biased person would only show those statistics that showed an increase in their story.

  • Searching for an example. There can be a number of situations that can represent an issue.  A biased person might look for those situations that fit the position they have.
    An example might be a person wanting to show that cities that have a certain kind of something also have an increased rate of some other kind of something (either both good or both bad depending on the idea).  They might look for cities until they found one that fit the idea.  This is a bit like cherry picking of facts, but in this case the person would look one by one for the information they wanted until they found what they wanted, instead of getting a large amount of information and then picking what supported their view.

  • Exaggerating the truth. The truth can be exaggerated in a number of ways.  For example, if a person found two cities that had crime rates of 1 and 2% respectively for a certain kind of crime and they wanted to portray one place as better or worse than the other they might say a statement such as:
    City A has twice (or double or 100% more) the crime rate of a certain crime than City B (if City A had the 2% rate and City B the 1% rate)
    They might also do something like show a graph with no numbers that shows City A’s rate to be twice as high as City B’s.
    In this case, the exaggeration comes because, although the statement is true, it makes things sound worse than they are (assuming rates of 1 and 2% are both considered low).

  • Choosing stories. An example of this might be a story related to minimum wage.  If a person wanted to show an increase in the minimum wage was good, they might find a person who got an increase and do a story about how their life was better because of it.  Conversely, if they wanted to show that an increase in minimum wage was bad, they might show a small business that had to close when the minimum wage increased.

  • A story can have a number of adjectives.  A report, for example, might be described as “shocking”.  An event might be called “unprecedented”.  Something perceived as good might be called “great” or “wonderful”.  Something else might be described as “routine”.  Adjectives are used to make something sound more or less than what it is depending on the point of view.

  • What stories are told. Bias can appear when some stories are told and others are not.  For example, if one story supported a point of view it might be told.  If it didn’t, it might be ignored.

  • Drawing conclusions. A story can have bias when it draws an unsupported conclusion.  This can happen for example, when something happens and someone gives an unsupported reason why it happened.

  • A story can show bias by granting legitimacy to a person, group, or point of view.  By reporting about someone, some group, or some idea, and portraying them as mainstream and important, a story can grant that person, group, or idea legitimacy.  They are indicating that that something is important and is part of the conversation about some idea.

  • Half the story. This idea was related above in choosing stories, but the idea here is that a person presents a view of something while ignoring opposing views.  They might not have facts or people that speak, but rather, they simply give one side of an issue while ignoring the other side.

  • A story can have bias by implying urgency.  Is the story described as “breaking news”?  Are frequent updates given?  Are reporters “on their way now”?  Something that is portrayed as being urgent is similarly portrayed as being important.

  • Story emphasis. Bias can occur when a story gets more or less time or space than some other story.  Bias emphasis can also occur when one story is more prominent (e.g. on the front page) than another story (e.g. somewhere in the middle).

If a poet wanted to write about bias in news stories, they could read, watch, and listen to news stories and look for examples of the bias above.  They could note what the bias is and how it was portrayed.  They could then write a poem about the issue and the bias shown.

A poet could also pick from the ideas above and apply them to situations in life.  For example, they might describe a boss giving a biased speech at some meeting.  They could work in different types of bias into the poem presentation.

As another idea, a poet could write a satirical poem containing overt bias.  They could go out of their way to use the different bias ideas above and present them in an overt way to emphasize bias regarding an issue.

Another idea might be for a poet to pick one of the ideas above and write a poem about the idea.  For example, a poet might write about the idea of cherry picking facts.  They could describe it, how it works, and how it is used.

For another idea, a poet could try to write a poem about something they have a strong opinion about without any bias.  They might write it normally first, and then look for bias in it and change those parts.

Another idea might be for a poet to explore reasons for bias in news stories.  They could look at the ideas of views, opinions, agendas, and so forth and explore why bias occurs in a poem.

A poet might also write a poem about the effectiveness of bias.  They might write about how people are influenced by biased information they read and hear.

Here is an example poem using the idea of bias in news stories:

Mars has half the crime of Venus!

Breaking news!

In a shocking report,
just released today,
Dr. Fluff,
chair of fluffology,
at the prestigious,
and renown,
Institute of Fluff,
has found that Mars,
has half the rate,
of spaceship theft,
compared to Venus.

Stretch TheTruth
is on the scene now,
on Venus,
for an exclusive report.

(Gritty urban environment,
sirens in the distance.)

“Yes mam,
tell us about the,
extremely upsetting,
theft of your spaceship,
in the crime riddled streets,
of Venus.”

Stay safe out their Stretch.

Falsly Claim,
is on Mars,
with this story.

(Idyllic scene.  Sun shining.  Flowers blooming.  A cool breeze.)

“Here on Mars,
where most Martians,
seemingly don’t have locks on their doors,
it’s been impossible,
to find one spaceship theft victim,
in the remote,
and unpopulated,

Enjoy your stay there Falsly.

There you have it folks.

Mars –
peaceful, serene get away.

Venus –
a tragic example of blight in the solar system.

Poetry topic idea: westerns

Today’s poetry topic idea is westerns: films, books, shows, and so forth depicting the time period in the American west from around 1865 to 1900.

Westerns can be an interesting idea to write about because there are so many things to them.  A poet could write a poem about the actual west, things in the west, the western genre, or interpretations of the west or depictions of it.

Different ideas a poet could write about include: western towns, ghost towns, cowboys, ranchers, Native Americans, settlement, homesteaders, expansion, western law, western technology, horses, railroads, telegraphs, barbed wire, cattle, cattle drives, sheep, western violence, farming, and prices and pay in the west among other ideas.

A poet could also write about western movie actors, western directors, specific western films, specific western television shows, specific western books, how old westerns related to the time period they came out, how old westerns relate to today, modern westerns, old westerns made in the modern era, and authenticity in westerns.

Here is an example poem about westerns:

So what,
if the sheriff’s horse,
had white socks,
in one scene,
and no socks,
in the next?

they got dust on them,
or maybe,
the white was just from the light,
or maybe,
the sheriff switched horses.

There are a lot
of very reasonable

It doesn’t mean
they made a mistake
in the movie.

Poetry topic idea: gum

Today’s poetry topic idea is gum.  There are a number of ways gum can inspire poetry.

First, gum is chewed but not eaten.  This idea of doing something that seems to have a certain result, but that does not, can be used in poetry.

Second, bubbles can be blown with gum.  A poet could apply this idea to things like expansion, the expression “bursting someone’s bubble”, or to the idea of something being filled with something lacking substance.

Third, gum can have artificial flavors and colors.  The idea of inauthenticity could be applied to different situations.

Fourth, some people find other people chewing gum annoying.  The idea of annoying could be used in poetry.

Fifth, a problem with gum is what to do with it when the flavor is gone.  It can be thrown away, but if the wrapper is gone, that can be difficult.  The idea of what to do when some aspect of something is gone can be applied to a number of ideas.

Here is a poem inspired by gum:

chewing on thoughts
that don’t lead anywhere
can cause cavities
in accomplishments

Poetry topic idea: aluminum cans

Today’s poetry topic idea is aluminum cans.  There are a number of ways a poet can use aluminum cans in poetry.  Some ideas include writing about:

  • The different beverages that can be in aluminum cans.

  • Recycling.

  • The idea that the fluid in aluminum cans, once opened, is only good for a short amount of time.

  • Fragility mixed with strength. Aluminum cans are fragile, in the sense that they can be easily crushed.  They are strong though because they can bear a relatively large amount of weight.

  • Preservation.

  • Mining.

  • Cans

Here is an example poem using the idea of fragility mixed with strength from aluminum cans:

seventy hours
collapsing on the sofa
a long week at work

Poetry topic idea: nightmare

Today’s poetry topic idea is nightmare.  A poet could use the idea of nightmares in a lot of ways.  A poet could write about:

  • Fear.  A poet could write about the underlying emotion of fear that is in nightmares.  They could explore different fears and how a person deals with them.

  • A nightmare in actual life. A poet could write about a life situation that is like a nightmare.  They could compare the actual situation to the imagined one of a nightmare.  They could explore the difference between what is real and what isn’t.

  • Different nightmares. A poet could explore different nightmares.  An example might be the nightmare of being chased.  A poet could look at this kind of nightmare and write about the emotions and situations involved in it.

  • How nightmares reflect real life. A poet could look at the psychology of nightmares and write about how they might reflect what is happening in a person’s life.

  • Nightmares of real situations. A poet could write about a nightmare a person has about something that really happened to them.  They could explore the idea of dreaming of something that is real.

  • Waking up from a nightmare. A poet could write about what it is like to wake up from a nightmare.  They could write about the feeling of realizing something was only a dream.

Here is an example poem:

a meaningless dream
then feeling awake
someone is in the room
how did they get in?

not being able to move
not being able to speak
what is going to happen
why are they here?

feeling something
and then the bed
looking around
is anyone there?

having a moment
of realization
but it felt so real
was it?