“limited word” prompt


  1. Take a piece of paper, and fold it in half.
  2. In the left-hand column, make a list of your 26 favorite words, 1 for each letter, A-Z.
  3.  Using Google or a thesaurus, find a synonym for each of the 26 words.  The synonyms need not start with the same letter as the original word. Write each word’s synonym in the right column next to it.
  4. Use the righthand-column words as a limited vocabulary with which to craft a poem. The only additional words you may add to the poem (for the sake of clarity) are: theisare, & and.

DO feel free to pluralize words (i.e. “sun” versus “suns”), deviate from proper syntax (i.e. using a noun as a verb or an adjective as a noun), to reconjugate non-verb verbs for the sake of clarity (i.e. “turntable” to “turntabled”), and use wordplay (i.e. “sons” versus “suns”).

DON’T re-conjugate preexisting verbs (i.e. “love” to “loved”).


Note: This prompt was inspired by the concept behind Aaron Kunin’s book The Sore Throat, a collection of poems crafted from a limited vocabulary of approximately 50 words total.  Its subtle power is epic. I highly, highly recommend it.

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