Paint Chip Poetry: 9-11

A few weeks back, I posted a Paint Chip Poetry exercise. It was so much fun, I thought I’d give it another try this week. The rules for Paint Chip Poetry are simple:

  • Choose a random selection of color swatches from your local hardware store or online.
  • Give yourself a time limit of ten or fifteen minutes.
  • Write a free verse poem using as many of the paint colors as possible in the time allotted.

When I studied my paint chip colors, the color “brownstone” evoked an image in my mind of New York City. From there, my mind went to the fallen towers and I had the subject of my poem. For my poem, 9-11, I selected eight paint chip colors and used seven of them:

Photo, with thanks, by Josh Wilburne

Paint chip colors:

Wispy pink
Hard work
Winter snow

My paint chip poem

Sundried mud on brownstone, 
ashes raining down.
Bear-in-mind the date was 9-11.
Tragedy hit just before the winter snow.
Restoration would take hard work,

©Danna Smith at all rights reserved

A paint chip poetry game is now available

Poets and teachers worldwide have used this creative technique in their writing for decades, so I wasn’t surprised to find a new game by Chronical Books called…you guessed it, Paint Chip Poetry. It’s the same game we’ve played forever. Only it’s in a colorful, compact kit with everything you need, including paint chips and prompts.


Feel free to comment below or use my lists of paint chip colors to write a poem and share it with us (scroll way down past the share buttons). Poetry is better when shared!

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