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6 Writing Prompts for the Summer Solstice

For those of us in the northern hemisphere, 2024’s summer solstice will fall on June 20, marking the start of astronomical summer and the longest day of the year. With traditions ranging from jumping over bonfires to hiking to the peak of Mt. Olympus, there is a long history of humans celebrating the summer solstice. In commemoration of this special day when the sun is highest in the sky, here’s a collection of solstice-inspired poetry prompts to help spark your creativity.


1. Write a magical realism poem. 

Magic and mysticism have always been central to summer solstice celebrations around the world. For example, according to ancient Pagan folklore, demons, spirits, and fairies were more powerful during the summer solstice, able to talk to humans and cause mischief. 

In honor of the long-held magical beliefs associated with the solstice, try writing a magical realism poem that blends everyday life with the supernatural. The trick with magical realism is to not get too carried away with the magical elements of the poem—let the fantastical details bleed into the mundane without totally diverting from reality.


2. Try participating in a poetry marathon. 

The Summer Solstice marks the longest day and shortest night of the year. Depending on where you’re located, the actual length of the day will vary—in Ohio, for example, you’ll likely get about 15 hours of sunlight, whereas parts of Alaska will see sunlight 24/7 for months at a time. 

Wherever you are when the summer solstice hits, why not take advantage of the long days and try participating in a poetry marathon? A poetry marathon is a writing challenge where participants write one poem every hour for 24 hours straight. If a full marathon feels too ambitious for you, you could try a half-marathon for 12 hours instead (which would still leave you a few free hours of sunlight to enjoy on the solstice!).


3. Write a dirge for spring.

Although the summer solstice is typically associated with rebirth, fertility, and abundance, it is also an opportunity to pause and let go. In fact, the word “solstice” even derives from the Latin solstitium, meaning the sun standing still. 

The solstice may be a time of creativity and harvest, but it is also the end of spring and the start of a slow decline back to the darker days of winter. If this is more your speed during the solstice, try writing a dirge, a poetry form focused on expressing grief or lamenting the dead. 


4. Invent your own sun god. 

Various gods and deities are associated with the sun and the summer solstice, including the Egyptian god Ra, the Greek god Apollo, the Norse goddess Sol, the Zuni Sun Father, the Buddhist Surya, and more. 

In honor of the broad, cross-cultural mythology associated with the summer solstice, try writing a creation myth poem that features a sun-related deity and explores the folklore behind where the sun came from and why it rises and falls.


5. Explore the domestic, emotional themes of Cancer season. 

Along with the beginning of astronomical summer, the summer solstice also marks the start of the astrological Cancer season. Ruling from late June to late July, Cancer is the fourth Zodiac sign and is associated with the home, comfort, self-care, and intuition. 

Even if you aren’t a Cancer sign yourself, you can still use poetry to explore the unique essence of the season. Try writing a poem that explores your relationship with your home, family, and internal life. As an added challenge, you could also try incorporating Cancer-related motifs and symbols like the ocean, the moon, and the crab.


6. Spend the day outside and write an eco-poem.

The summer solstice is closely associated with natural phenomena like crop cycles and astronomical positioning, so it’s no surprise that solstice traditions typically place a heavy focus on celebrating and connecting with nature. For example, in Celtic traditions, the oak tree is honored during the solstice as a “gateway” to otherworldly realms.  

In keeping with these natural themes of the solstice, try spending the day outside and writing an eco-poem. Eco-poetry features imagery and details about the natural world, but it also tends to include strong commentary on environmentalism and concerns about climate change. 


The summer solstice has been celebrated in a variety of ways across cultures and eras, but almost all solstice traditions share a common thread of reverence for the sun and the abundance it brings. As the sun reaches its zenith on June 20, we hope these poetry prompts spark your imagination and help you celebrate the life-bringing essence of this important celestial event.


Enjoy writing during this year’s summer solstice!