We’re now two-thirds of the way through NaPoWriMo. Congratulations to everyone who has made it this far!
Our featured journal today is Finery, an online magazine associated with the small press Birds of Lace, which has been running a special series of poems for April. You can see Finery’s submissions guidelines here.
And now for our (optional) prompt. Today I challenge you to write a poem in the voice of a member of your family. This can be a good way to try to distance yourself from your own experience, without reaching so far away from your own life that it’s hard to come up with specific, realistic details. But watch out! This type of exercise can also dredge up a lot of feelings. So if you think writing in the voice of your grandfather will be too heavy, maybe try the voice of your four-year-old niece. Four-year-old problems might be a little lighter in scope.
Welcome back for Day 19, everyone.
Also! If you have any ideas for featured presses or journals (I’m looking in particular for those that have published (or will soon be publishing) NaPoWriMo participants), please send me your ideas at napowrimonet-AT-gmail-DOT-com!
Today’s featured participant is The Georgia Southern University NaPoWriMo blog.
And now for today’s (optional) prmpt. This is a bit silly, but it’s Saturday. I recently got a large illustrated guide to sea shells. There are some pretty wild names for sea shells. Today I challenge you to take a look at the list of actual sea shell names below, and to use one or more of them to write a poem. You poem doesn’t have to be about sea shells at all — just inspired by one or more of the names.
Snout Otter Clam
Shoulderblade Sea Cat
Lazarus Jewel Box
Atlantic Turkey Wing
Just twelve days left! I hope your poetry motors are purring.
Today’s featured participant is Dizygotic Poets, where the poems for Day 14 and Day 15 have a sort of post-apocolyptic Old West flair.
Our featured journal today is Sink Review, which has published both Jared White and Becca Klaver, both of whom are posting poems over at the Bloof Books blog. Sink is accepting poetry submissions through December 15.
And now for our prompt (optional, as always). Today I challenge you to write a ruba’i. What’s that? Well, it’s a Persian form — multipe stanzas in the ruba’i form are a rubaiyat, as in The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam. Basically, a ruba’i is a four-line stanza, with a rhyme scheme of AABA. Robert Frost’s famous poem Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening uses this rhyme scheme. You can write a poem composed of one ruba’i, or try your hand at more, for a rubaiyat. Happy writing!
Hello, all, and welcome back for Day 17.
our featured participant for Day 17 is The Robust Epicurean, where you’ll find a series of abecedarian haiku.
Today’s (optional) prompt is to write a poem in which you very specifically describe something in terms of at least three of the five senses. So, for example, your poem could carefully describe the smell of something, the taste of something, and the sound of something. It might be helpful to pick things you have actually encountered during your day: a cup of coffee at the office (“burnt, flat, and joylessly acrid”), or a hyacinth in the neighobr’s yard (“riotously curled petals shading violet-lavender-white, against the dark-green glossy-smooth leaves”). Happy writing!
It’s the first day of the second half of NaPoWriMo. Welcome back, everyone!
our featured participant today is the Rutgers NaPoWriMo blog, where you’ll find a poem each day by students in the English PhD program and their friends.
And now for today’s prompt (optional, as always). After yesterday’s form-based prompt, today’s will hopefully be somewhat easier to get into. This prompt is from Daisy Fried, and the basic idea is to write a ten-line poem in which each line is a lie. Your lies could be silly, complicated, tricky, or obvious. This exercise kind of reminds me of Calvin’s dad:
It’s Day Fifteen, everyone. We’re halfway through NaPoWriMo!
Our featured journal for today is White Whale Review, which has published work by NaPoWriMo-er Jay Snodgrass. White Whale Review is currently reading for its sixth issue. Check out their submission guidelines here.
Today’s featured participant is Optional Poetry. There’s a tender resignation to Day 11’s anacreontic poem that I really enjoyed.
And now our (optional) prompt! Today, I challenge you to write a poem in terza rima. This form was invented by Dante, and used in The Divine Comedy. It consists of three-line stanzas, with a “chained” rhyme scheme. The first stanza is ABA, the second is BCB, the third is CDC, and so on. No particular meter is necessary, but English poets have tended to default to iambic pentameter (iambic pentameter is like the Microsoft Windows of English poetry). One common way of ending a terza rima poem is with a single line standing on its own, rhyming with the middle line of the preceding three-line stanza.
Here’s a short example of a fairly contemporary poem in terza rima:
I read how Quixote in his random ride
Came to a crossing once, and lest he lose
The purity of chance, would not decide
Whither to fare, but wished his horse to choose.
For glory lay wherever he might turn.
His head was light with pride, his horse’s shoes
Were heavy, and he headed for the barn.
— Richard Wilbur
Hello all– we’re two weeks into NaPoWriMo!
Today’s featured journal/press is Similar Peaks, which has published NaPoWriMo-er Kelly Jones. Similar Peaks publishes both an online magazine and poetry chapbooks. Keep your eyes out for their open reading periods.
Our featured participant for the day is Travelling Hat, whose substitution poem for Day 12 is really wonderful. I know that this was a pretty strange prompt, but I think the results across the NaPoWriMo-i-verse have been pretty great. If nothing else, it’s a prompt that gets you to sentences you probably wouldn’t have come up with off the top of your head.
Today’s prompt (optional, as always) is a little something I’m calling “Twenty Questions.” The idea is to write a poem in which every sentence, except for the last one, is in the form of a question. That’s it! It can be as long or short as you like. The questions can be deep and philosophical (‘what is the meaning of life?’) or routine and practical (‘are you going to eat that?’). Or both!
Happy thirteenth day of NaPoWriMo, everyone!
Today’s featured participant is Cartography. The poem for Day 9 (about an interview) made me laugh!
Our optional prompt for today is to write a poem that contains at least one kenning. Kennings were metaphorical phrases developed in Nordic sagas. At their simplest, they generally consist of two nouns joined together, which imaginatively describe or name a third thing. The phrase “whale road,” for example, could be used instead of “sea” or “ocean,” and “sky candle” could be used for “sun.” The kennings used in Nordic sagas eventually got so complex that you basically needed a decoder-ring to figure them out. And Vikings being Vikings, there tended to be an awful lot of kennings for swords, warriors, ships, and gold. But at their best, they are suprising and evocative. I hope you have fun trying to invent your own. Happy writing!
Today’s the 12th Day of NaPoWriMo. We’re getting close to the halfway mark!
Today’s featured participant is Frankly Can’t Communicate, where the poems are all hand-written. It’s interesting to see how the handwriting itself influences the reading of the poems.
Today’s (optional) prompt is a “replacement” poem. Pick a common noun for a physical thing, for example, “desk” or “hat” or “bear,” and then pick one for something intangible, like “love” or “memories” or “aspiration.” Then Google your tangible noun, and find some sentences using it. Now, replace that tangible noun in those sentences with your intangible noun, and use those sentences to create (or inspire) a poem. Here’s a little example that replaces the word “lemon,” in sentences from a Wikipedia article on lemons, with the word “sorrow.”
Sorrow is a small evergreen tree native to Asia.
The origin of sorrow is a mystery.
The first substantial cultivation of sorrow in Europe
began in Genoa in the middle of the 15th century.
A halved sorrow dipped in salt or baking powder
is used to brighten copper cookware. One educational
science experiment involves attaching electrodes
to sorrow and using it as a battery.
Although very low power, several sorrows
can power a small digital watch.
Goofy, but also interesting! It’s not quite a poem yet, but there might be a poem in there, waiting to come out. Happy writing!
Hello all, and welcome back for Day 11.
Our featured journal for the day is The Lincoln Underground, a literary magazine out of Lincoln, Nebraska, that has published NaPoWriMo-er Vicky McDonald Harris. The magazine just launched its Spring 2014 issue, and is currently open for poetry submissions.
Today’s featured participant is the lyrically mysterious Bir and June.
And now, our prompt (optional, as always).Poets have been writing about love and wine, wine and love, since . . . well, since the time of Anacreon, a Greek poet who was rather partial to that subject matter. Anacreon developed a particular meter for his tipsy, lovey-dovey verse, but Anacreontics in English generally do away with meter-based constraints. Anacreontics might be described as a sort of high-falutin’ drinking song. So today I challenge you to write about wine-and-love. Of course, you may have no love of wine yourself, in which case you might try an anti-Anacreontic poem. Happy writing!