Saturday, March 7, 2015

Prompt #219 – A Piece of Your Mind

When most people think about poetry, they think in terms of beautiful expressions. For the uninitiated,  that usually means the stuff of spring days and flowers, love and loveliness. However, some of the most compelling poetry goes in an entirely different direction. Enter the “rant poem.” Rant poems offer poets opportunities to metaphorically stamp their feet, throw things out the window, and tell people off. Rant poems enable their writers to “let off steam” and walk away feeling good. In a rant poem, you can:

  • Complain
  • Criticize
  • Argue
  • Denounce
  • Engage in a Verbal Tirade
  • Spit Nails
  • Tell Someone What You Really Think of Him or Her
  • Tell Yourself Off for Something You’ve Done and Regret


1. Pick a subject that really annoys, angers, provokes, or upsets you (something personal, something in the news, something about other people’s behaviors, etc).

2. Free write about that subject for several minutes. In this part of the process, don’t “pull your punches.”

3. Take a look at what you’ve written, and decide on the tone or “feeling” you want to highlight in your poem.

4. Think about what you want your readers to understand in your poem. In other words, what's the point of your rant?

5. Think about how you want to rant (using humor, vehemently, using sarcasm).

6. Go back to your free write and pick the details that will be a good fit for the tone or mood you want to create. Use language with “muscle.”

7. Begin writing using the details you selected from your free write, but don't be afraid to move in other directions as well.
8. Conclude with a real punch (a statement that beings your rant to closure in a unique and powerful way).


1. Imagine yourself reading your poem aloud to an audience, then look at your poem and determine whether or not the emotion you want to convey comes through written language as well as it would if you were to read the poem aloud. Revise accordingly.

2. Punctuate purposefully. Use commas, dashes, and other punctuation marks to emphasize important parts of your rant.

3. Use adjectives sparingly. Remember that too many adjectives can be your worst enemy: most often the concept is already made clear in the noun.


  1. This called to mind the old quote about the pen being mightier than the sword. Now I just have to figure out which rant will take priority for a poem (so many things to rant about). Great idea—thanks!

    1. Thanks for your comment, Jamie! So glad you like the idea.

  2. Love that big, punchy fist image! This is a great prompt for anyone who needs to vent.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Sandy! I like that fist too -- seemed right for this prompt.

  3. Hi Adele, thanks for that prompt! Simply the thought of writing a rant poem made me laugh! :)

    Instead of posting the rant poem itself - which I could not complete, due to not having anything in particular to rant about! I am posting some of my initial ideas/feelings that arose during the free write. --

    The pinpoint spike of the dentists syringe.

    The sharp and jagged edge of a soup can lid.

    The space between index and middle finger; a paper cut slice.


    By taking
    the bait
    on a
    metal bar,
    you're caught
    under the snap
    of a mousetrap.


    An out of control

    ~ ~ ~

    1. Thanks so much for sharing, Lewis! And thank you for sharing your notes/feelings/ideas. it isn't often that we have an opportunity to share in the early parts of the writing process. I hope you're able to work some of your thoughts into a poem, if not right now, then later.

  4. Needless to say, the students are going to love this one!

  5. Okay! I've written a rant poem, and I really do feel better!

  6. I'ts not Fashionable

    They live on the street
    Homeless and dirty
    Nowhere to eat
    Can't even be flirty

    Houses are scarce
    Costs are high
    Desire to live fierce
    But slipping away by and by

    See us, hear us
    We are human too
    Don't send a bus
    Nor the old woman in a shoe

    It's housing
    we need
    and compassion
    It's the cats you feed
    We,too, need a ration

    1. A good reminder to all about the plight of the homeless. Thanks for sharing this, Risa!

    2. Thanks, Adele. Got your book today!