Prefix Poem (DIS: Dandelion wishes)

When I first read Idra Novey’s prefix poem, Trans, in her poetry book, The Next Country, I was immediately enamored. Not only with her writing but by the form itself. Today I’m sharing my take on a prefix poem and the simple rules so you can give it a try.

Photo curtesy of Nine Koepfer Zos


Prefixes are words that are added to the beginning of words to change their meaning. Words like Fore (foresee, foreshadow, etc.), or Mis (misfortune, mistake) are prefixes. Click here for a full list of prefixes for inspiration when you’re writing your prefix poem.

what is a prefix poem?

The rules are simple.

  1. Start with a prefix for the title.
  2. Begin the first verse of the poem with that same prefix.
  3. Add more verses that begin with a different prefix.
  4. Each verse is related to the theme of the poem and builds upon the poems meaning.
  5. The poem can be about any subject and any length.

You can learn more about the form and poet, Idra Novey, in this interview where she explains how she went about creating her prefix poem. It is an interesting story, the creation of Trans was quite a process! As a poet and word lover, I’m grateful for the gift and the challenge of the form.

My try at a prefix poem


We’ve all heard the stories
passed down for generations,
Blow on the fluff of a dandelion
and our wishes will come true.

While I see a cheerful flower,
its yellow face reaching for the sun,
others curse the “weed” that dots
their manicured lawns.

When petals fall
and give way to puffs of white... I blow.
Wishes fly like garden fairies.
I’m left holding a stem (and hope).

Some say wishing on dandelion seeds
is a superstition that only ends with weeds.
As for me, I’ll keep wishing.
Who am I to disbelieve?

—Danna Smith at all rights reserved


I came across an interesting article on the history and superstitions of dandelions. It’s worth checking out. It says that modern spiritualists and Medieval peasants consider(ed) dandelions a symbol of fighting through the challenges of life and emerging victorious on the other side. And did you know that if you blow hard on a dandelion that the number of seeds you are left with will imply how many children you will have?


I hope you’ll give writing a prefix poem a try and share your poem or comments below (scroll way down).


I know it can be scary to share your poems with others. If you are feeling “iffy” about sharing here on Poetry Pop, I’ve created settings to allow you to do so anonymously. Just reply without signing into your WordPress account. Poetry is better when shared. 🙂

HAPPY WRITING! And thank you for popping in and for following the blog for your weekly pop of poetry!

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