35 Tips for Writing Powerful Prose Poems


It’s finally here.  I have included a chapter for your interest.

best from Kaye


Table of contents:



  1. The prose poem
  2. Starting a prose poem
  3. The first few lines
  4. How long should it be?
  5. Write about life
  6. Other ways to paint pictures with words
  7. The creative process (drafting two poems)
  8. Drafting and Crafting
  9. Prompts and more prompts
  10. Who is your audience?
  11. Not enough information
  12. Too much information
  13. Naming your poems
  14. Point of view
  15. To use punctuation or not?
  16. Unity
  17. Using tenses
  18. Make the poem active and alive
  19. Descriptive words
  20. An easy fix
  21. Ending the poem/the last few lines
  22. Examples of prose poems
  23. Are prose poems stories?
  24. Dialogue in prose poetry
  25. Writing two more drafts
  26. Language
  27. Minimalism and Compression
  28. Types of prose poems
  29. Ways to write fresh poems
  30. More tips
  31. Mastering the prose poem
  32. C.O.A.P.
  33. How do I know whether my poem is good?
  34. Workshop groups
  35. Lots more tips



Resource List

About the author


This book addresses the beginning, intermediate or advanced writer of any age or grade level who desires to understand and write prose poetry. I hope that the interested writer will learn to love writing and exploring this liberating genre.

As poetry editor for The Bacopa Literary Review, I have edited over a thousand poetry submissions and read many prose poems that required only minor revisions or a little guidance to become publishable. Most of the insights in this book apply to great writing in general. I have focused the text on prose poems, popular with writers because of their unlimited potential for playful creativity. I invite you to accompany me through each chapter and prompt, to understand the spirit of this intriguing form. If you follow the step-by-step process of learning, you will have written several prose poems of your own by the end of the book.

This is the second reference book in the 35 Tips series. These little books include only the essence, the facts, the bottom line. This textbook focuses on two essential qualities of great prose poetry: brevity and specifics.


Learning objectives

The writer will:

  • learn to recognize a prose poem
  • learn to understand prose poems
  • learn the best techniques for writing a prose poem
  • draft several prose poems from prompts
  • revise and polish these prose poems
  • practice the craft of writing prose poems
  • use the resource list for further exploration of prose poetry


Chapter One

The prose poem

If you love eccentric, beautiful things, you will enjoy prose poetry.

Here are tips about prose poetry:

  1. Prose poetry speaks about the truth of the world as the poet sees it.
  2. Poetry should be clear, understandable and make sense. Otherwise, poems are just words splashed on paper.
  3. Writers of prose poems do not usually use the rhymes, rhythms and line breaks of traditional
  4. In prose poetry, each word chosen is important.
  5. Prose poetry skillfully uses language that inspires the reader.
  6. Prose poets hope to amaze and delight.
  7. Prose poetry might suggest its meaning with poetic language such as metaphors or similes.
  8. Writers of prose poems concentrate on scenes, description and surprise.
  9. Prose poetry can have a story line, but does not need a story line.
  10. Prose poetry has a center of gravity the way the earth has a molten core.
  11. Prose poets aim to arouse an emotional response in the reader.
  12. Prose poetry can consist of two lines, or a few paragraphs, or longer.
  13. Prose poetry includes full sentences.
  14. Prose poetry has a narrative shape on the page: a sentence, a few sentences, a paragraph. That’s one reason it is called prose poetry, because it is written in the shape of
  15. Writers should read their prose poems aloud because this is the best way to hear mistakes, catch skips in rhythm or meaning, inconsistencies, check the pacing and tense, or identify shifts in point of view.


Here is the first stanza from the prose poem “Big Bang” by Leslie Anne Mcilroy, published in The Bacopa Literary Review 2016:

Date with Syzygy


More than once, the sun and the moon doing things they’ve never, trading light for dark, all eclipse and aerial acrobatics. The stars, blinking with confusion, bumping into clouds in broad daylight, dawn and dusk dancing in drag, roosters crowing at twilight, and me, here at the window, waiting for a universe.



Prose poems and the beginning prose poem writer

A prose poem format offers the beginning writer a fantastic trampoline to bounce around creativity. A prose poem can be about any subject. The following chapters will help you write without rambling, choosing words and images that will move your readers. Many a beginning poet has broken through their self-doubt via this pathway. It is a lot of fun, but stick to the tips and suggestions until you have read and written lots of poems.

Don’t bend the rules until you know them.

At the end of the book is a list of resources to inspire the beginner and excite the seasoned writer.


Kaye Linden35 Tips for Writing Powerful Prose Poems

7 Comments on “35 Tips for Writing Powerful Prose Poems”

  1. Merdene Nelson

    Hi, Kaye, I just read on Kindle your Agora (etc. letters) flash non-fiction or fiction, whichever it is. I like your descriptions, build up of suspense and of course that it ended right. I have become interested in trying to do flash fiction and flash non-fiction and wonder about prose poetry also. I like to write humor poetry too. You inspire. Thanks. (I am using my middle name online, one reason being what good is it if you never get to be called by it? Also, it is softer sounding, more poetic than my first name. ) PS. does brevity accept flash?

    1. Kaye Linden

      Thanks so much for your comments. If you mean the magazine “Brevity” I am not sure if they are still in business but research them on google. Lots of journals like flash fiction or flash memoir pieces.
      Take a look at my two tiny text books on writing flash stories and the second one in the series on writing powerful prose poems. Both are available as paperbacks or e-books on Amazon.

      35 Tips For Writing A Brilliant Flash Story

      35 Tips for Writing Powerful Prose Poems

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