Poetry Prompt: Write a Surrealist Poem


This post is part of a series of weekly found poetry prompts. If you have an idea for a found poetry source, email Senior Poetry Editor Beth Ayer.

Thank you to Winston Plowes for providing this week’s poetry prompt! Here are your instructions (slightly edited for the FPR blog), as written by Winston:

  1.  Turn on a radio (any station) and at your chosen time count to ten.
  2. When you reach ten, write down the word(s) you hear.
  3. Repeat this as many times as you like. Each time starting on a new line.
  4. These words are the beginnings of your lines. Now complete them with words drawn from what you experience around you right now. (colours, smells, actions, emotions, appearances)
  5. Enjoy a drink. The name of your chosen drink is the title of your poem.
  6. This is not a false alarm, this is not a test.


To see some examples, visit the Write Out Loud website. We will, of course, be delighted if you share the results in the comments below.


Top image by albdruck on flickr


  • February 14, 2014

    Ed Bremson

    I submitted a poem by the December deadline, and could have sworn the guidelines said to put my name and email address on the submission. Now I notice the current guidelines say not to do that. I don’t know what to say, except, did I make a mistake?

    • February 15, 2014

      Jenni B. Baker

      Hi Ed —

      The guidelines have changed for the current submissions period. We are now reading them blind as of the current submissions period (Feb 1-June 30). Hope that helps.


  • February 14, 2014

    Paul Sands

    Diet Coke For Breakfast

    They’re trying to their level best this kitchen is cold
    No, the point here is green knife
    Gathering for a triple pronged attack I wish the sink was empty
    They could be looking at alternatives swallowing the orange tablet
    Male sexual orientation is effected by genes red tin bread bin
    Fifty years ago, then she was designing buttery and light
    I think we’re part of culture but there is no hot chocolate left
    The haircut is very often how you judge where is the wind
    We show next winter now. Let the cat in
    With us this morning pick a colour
    The pocket books had not been made available I have twenty five minutes
    Both us and individuals as a society a pink plastic pig timer

  • February 14, 2014

    Mary Bast


    shared space, art, work
    critics bemoan chaos, clutter
    reveals touch of red, orange
    data of nostalgic palette
    abandoned caboose on canvas
    party to old time story
    concerned rail workers on strike
    broken from rich owners’
    force, more work, less pay
    union steps in

    (A Godfather is half scotch and half amaretto; the first word in each line is from my continuing count of ten in the BBC 6:00 pm news report on Feb. 12, 2014; the caboose referred to is today’s acrylic on canvas paper in my 30-day fast paint commitment.)

  • February 14, 2014

    james w. moore


    we know this issue: the Doors.
    forever into dust in camo in glasses in beard
    voice unwearied damp and stale
    if not us? blinking light.
    i brought one of the ballplayers his mom claps yays
    that’s true: the Sharpie X
    pure and simple and loud so loud
    stumble and fall on numb big toe
    hope i spend fresh meat
    the niiiiiiiight strings white lights
    now at my head oh my head
    when i came down, i checked the bottle
    details, details: i checked the bottle

  • February 15, 2014


    Brilliant, keep em coming :-)

  • […] Found Language poem taken from the Found Poetry Review’s 2/13/2014 prompt ( http://www.foundpoetryreview.com/blog/poetry-prompt-write-a-surrealist-poem/ ). Source broadcast was episode 26 of the ‘Welcome to Nightvale’ podcast ( […]

  • October 14, 2014


    Hi you might like this surreal poem


  • June 2, 2016


    this was a fun exercise, thank you :)


    Spirit of lament, watching in mute terror

    Wound about the spires, sailing higher

    All the greatest days forgotten in a haze

    Ton upon ton of blocks & bricks

    Boys grown for war, another man’s whore

    Sacrifice the mass, save the select few

    Thoughts lost in lichyards from fading shades

    Calm storms crying over a dying world

    Dial back the clock to a better time

    I wish we could go back there

    I know we are sliding down a fatal slope