The deadline for the third issue of our zine ‘Oxford is My Home’ is 11 May! You have less than a week to get your stories, poems, and images to us, so to help you on your way, we are putting out a prompt a day to get your creative juices flowing. Click here for more information about the zine and submitting your work to us

Next up…

A How-To Poem

This is a poem in the form of an instruction manual, recipe, or any kind of directions. Whatever the format is, you must explain how to do something.

Though this is a simple form, this leaves lots of room to play with it. You could:

  • Write instructions to something unusual or fantastical (an example is ‘Instructions’ by Neil Gaiman)
  • Write a recipe for making something abstract – like freedom, love, or trust
  • Be ironic – write instructions which are the opposite of what people should do
  • Mix it up – try writing out a list of instructions for one thing (e.g. pruning roses) and then use those instructions for a ‘how to’ poem about something completely different (e.g. having an argument)


Here’s some examples to get you started:

‘Please do not feed the animals…’ by Robert Hull

‘One Art’ by Elizabeth Bishop

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