We’ve made it, everyone! Today is the last day of NaPoWriMo/GloPoWriMo 2016! Congratulations to everyone who had made it through the month. And if you didn’t get all the way to thirty poems, don’t worry! You can always play catch-up, or try again in 2017.
I’ll be keeping the participants list up for a while, but I’m also planning to do a redesign of the website for 2017. If you have ideas on how to make the site more user-friendly and useful overall, please drop me a line at napowrimo-AT-gmail-DOT-com!
Our final featured participant is My Own Garden of Verse, where the “I remember” poem for Day 29 catalogs a host of sensory memories.
And now for our last poet in translation, Mexico’s Dolores Dorantes. Now living in the United States, Dorantes spent twenty-five years in Ciudad Juarez, and her poems interrogate the intersection between violence and gender. You can find a number of her poems at the link above, and bilingual editions of several of her books are available, including sexoPUROsexoVELOZ//Septiembre, Style, and her collaboration with Rodrigo Flores Sanchez, INTERVENIR/INTERVENE.
And now our prompt (still optional!) Because we’ve spent our month looking at poets in English translation, today I’d like you to try your hand at a translation of your own. If you know a foreign language, you could take a crack at translating a poem by a poet writing in that language. If you don’t know a foreign language, or are up for a different kind of challenge, you could try a homophonic translation. Simply find a poem (or other text) in a language you don’t know, and then “translate” it based on the look or sound of the words. Stuck for a poem to translate? Why not try this one by Nobel Laureate Wislawa Szymborska? Or here’s one by another Laureate, Tomas Transtromer. Happy writing!
Just one day left in NaPoWriMo and GloPoWriMo!
Our featured participant is undercaws, where the backwards-story poem for Day 28 tells the tale of an unsettling encounter with a neighbor.
Today’s poet in translation is Haiti’s Frank Etienne. Unfortunately, there’s very little Haitian poetry available in English translation, and even though Etienne is one of Haiti’s best-known writers (he is a playwright, novelist, and artist, as well as a poet), the same is true for him. Still, you can read his poem “Dialect of Hurricanes” here, and check out a New York Times profile of Etienne here.
And now for our prompt (optional, as always). Poet and artist Joe Brainard is probably best remembers for his book-length poem/memoir, I Remember. The book consists of a series of statements, all beginning with the phrase “I remember.” Here are a few examples:
I remember the only time I ever saw my mother cry. I was eating apricot pie.
I remember how much I cried seeing South Pacific (the movie) three times.
I remember how good a glass of water can taste after a dish of ice cream.
The specific, sometimes mundane and sometimes zany details of the things Brainard remembers builds up over the course of the book, until you have a good deal of empathy and sympathy for this somewhat odd person that you really feel you’ve gotten to know.
Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem based on things you remember. Try to focus on specific details, and don’t worry about whether the memories are of important events, or are connected to each other. You could start by adopting Brainard’s uniform habit of starting every line with “I remember,” and then you could either cut out all the instances of “I remember,” or leave them all in, or leave just a few in. At any rate, hopefully you’ll wind up with a poem that is heavy on concrete detail, and which uses that detail as its connective tissue. Happy writing!
Happy 28th! Day of NaPoWriMo and GloPoWriMo, everyone. Including today, we’ve just got three days left. If you’ve kept up all this time – kudos!
Our featured participant today is erbiage, where the long-lined poem for Day 27 is a wonderfully claustrophobic account of a data center.
Today’s poet in translation is Brazil’s Marcio-Andre, who is also a visual and sound artist. The lines of his poems are spaced across the page, forcing the reader’s eye to jump restlessly from place to place, while providing a visual sense of airy openness. You can find fourteen of his poems at the link above.
And now, for our prompt (optional, as always). Today I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that tells a story. But here’s the twist – the story should be told backwards. The first line should say what happened last, and work its way through the past until you get to the beginning. Now, the story doesn’t have to be complicated (it’s probably better if it isn’t)! Here’s a little example I just made up:
The Story of a Day
She lay her head down on the table.
She climbed the stairs to her room and sat down.
The afternoon of the boarding house was cool and dusty.
She walked home slowly, watching the sun settle on brick walls and half-kept gardens.
Work lasted many hours. Office lights buzzing with a faint, mad hum.
Breakfast was a small miracle.
She thought it a wonder, as always, that she’d woken up at all.
Well, that’s kind of unsettling! But I think it works as a poem. Maybe you’ll have better luck working backwards toward a happy beginning. Happy writing!
Welcome back, all, for the 27th Day of NaPoWriMo/GloPoWriMo.
Today’s featured participant is Quest for Whirled Peas, where the call-and-response poem for Day 26 turned into a meditation on time!
Our poet in translation for Day 27 is Peru’s Luis Herndandez, whose selected poems, The School of Solitude, was recently published in English translation. His poems – often funny, and as often equally sad, were mostly written by hand in notebooks that he gave away to friends and even to strangers. Here’s one example that falls on the funny side of the equation, and five more can be found here. You can also look at images of the original notebooks here.
Finally, our prompt (optional, as always!) Today’s prompt comes to us from Megan Pattie, who points us to the work of the Irish poet Ciaran Carson, who increasingly writes using very long lines. Carson has stated that his lines are (partly) based on the seventeen syllables of the haiku, and that he strives to achieve the clarity of the haiku in each line. So today, Megan and I collectively challenge you to write a poem with very long lines. You can aim for seventeen syllables, but that’s just a rough guide. If you’re having trouble buying into the concept of long lines, maybe this essay on Whitman’s infamously leggy verse will convince you of their merits. Happy writing!
Hello, everyone, and welcome back for the 26th day of NaPoWriMo and GloPoWriMo. Just a few days left to go!
Our featured participant for Day 26 is Writing Rochdale, where the poem for Day 25 takes its inspiration from Daniel Defoe.
Today’s poet in translation is the Netherlands’ Maarten van der Graaff, a very young poet who won the C. Buddingh’ Prize for the best Dutch-language debut collection in 2014, for his book Getawaycarpoems. He writes glossy, glassy, “beat”-like poems are filled with references to the internet and technological and dissociative aspects of contemporary life. Five of his poems can be found at the link above.
And last, but not least, our prompt (optional, as always). Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that incorporates a call and response. Calls-and-responses are used in many sermons and hymns (and also in sea chanties!), in which the preacher or singer asks a question or makes an exclamation, and the audience responds with a specific, pre-determined response. (Think: Can I get an amen?, to which the response is AMEN!.). You might think of the response as a sort of refrain or chorus that comes up repeatedly, while the call can vary slightly each time it is used. Here’s a sea chanty example:
Haul on the bowline, our bully ship’s a rolling,
Haul on the bowline, the bowline Haul!
Haul on the bowline, Kitty is my darlin’,
Haul on the bowline, the bowline Haul!
Haul on the bowline, Kitty lives in Liverpool,
Haul on the bowline, the bowline Haul!
The call can be longer than the response, or vice versa. But think of your poem as an interactive exchange between one main speaker and an audience. Happy writing!
Hello, everyone! Happy final Monday of NaPoWriMo and GloPoWriMo!
Our featured participant for Day 25 is Rhyme and Reason, where the mix-and-match prompt for Day 24 is folded into a versical movie review!
Today, in addition to our featured participant, I’d like to post out the websites of some participants who have not been following our prompts, but instead have been using NaPoWriMo/GloPoWriMo to pursue independent, themed projects! Mark Lamoureux and Chris McCreary, for example, have been collaborating on poems based on The Dictionnaire Infernal, an old French demonology book. Over at the Bloof Books blog, a number of different poets have been publishing daily poems, including editor Shanna Compton, Natalie Eilbert, and Farrah Field. For her part, Joanna Penn Cooper has been focusing mainly on diaristic prose poems, interspersed with prompt-based and collaborative work.
Our poet in translation for today is Finland’s Olli Heikkonen, whose work is intimately concerned with the interrelation between city, suburb, and countryside, between forest and town. Thirteen of his poems can be found at the link above.
And now for our (optional) prompt! Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that begins with a line from a another poem (not necessarily the first one), but then goes elsewhere with it. This will work best if you just start with a line of poetry you remember, but without looking up the whole original poem. (Or, find a poem that you haven’t read before and then use a line that interests you). The idea is for the original to furnish a sort of backdrop for your work, but without influencing you so much that you feel stuck just rewriting the original!. For example, you could begin, “Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day,” or “I have measured out my life with coffee spoons,” or “I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster,” or “they persevere in swimming where they like.” Really, any poem will do to provide your starter line – just so long as it gives you the scope to explore. Happy writing!
Happy final Sunday of NaPoWriMo/GloPoWriMo, everyone!
Today, our featured participant is Kirsten Luckins, whose sonnet for Day 23 is full of questions.
Our poet in translation for today is Estonia’s Hasso Krull, whose poetry is very much influenced by Greek and other myths. (That seems to be a theme with a number of our poets in translation! I guess some topics are evergreen when it comes to poetry). Twelve of Krull’s poems, translated into English, can be found at the link above.
And last but not least, our prompt (optional, as always). Today I challenge you to write a “mix-and-match” poem in which you mingle fancy vocabulary with distinctly un-fancy words. First, spend five minutes writing a list of overly poetic words – words that you think just sound too high-flown to really be used by anyone in everyday speech. Examples might be vesper, heliotrope, or excelsior. Now spend five minutes writing words that you might use or hear every day, but which seem too boring or quotidian to be in a poem. Examples might be garbage disposal, doggy bag, bathroom. Now mix and match examples from both of your lists into a single poem. Hopefully you’ll end up with a poem that makes the everyday seem poetic, and which keeps your poetic language grounded. Happy writing!
Welcome back, everyone, for the 23rd day of NaPoWriMo/GloPoWriMo. THere’s just one week left in our month of poems!
Today, we have two featured participants, because I just couldn’t choose between their Earth Day Poems for Day 22. First up is Thomas Tilton’s haiku recalling us to the effects of not taking care of the environment. Second, Clairvetica’s commingling of an Earth Day poem with an elegy for Prince.
Our poet in translation for Day 23 is:
And finally, our prompt (optional, as always). Today, I challenge you to write a sonnet. Traditionally, sonnets are 14-line poems, with ten syllables per line, written in iambs (i.e., with a meter in which an unstressed syllable is followed by one stressed syllable, and so on). There are several traditional rhyme schemes, including the Petrarchan, Spenserian, and Shakespearean sonnets. But beyond the strictures of form, sonnets usually pose a question of a sort, explore the ideas raised by the question, and then come to a conclusion. In a way, they are essays written in verse! This means you can write a “sonnet” that doesn’t have meet all of the traditional formal elements, but still functions as a mini-essay of a sort. The main point is to keep your poem tight, not rangy, and to use the shorter confines of the form to fuel the poem’s energy. As Wordsworth put it, in a very formal sonnet indeed, “Nuns fret not at their convent’s narrow room.” Happy writing!
Happy Friday, everyone, and Happy Earth Day!
Our featured participant today is Summer Blues, where the fairy tale/myth poem for Day 21 is spooky indeed!
Today, our poet in translation is Ukraine’s Halyna Krouk. Krouk’s poetry is intimately concerned with questions of gender – what is masculine or feminine, and why does it (or should it) matter? And does poetry speak in a gendered voice at all? Six of her poems can be found translated into English at the link above.
And now for our (optional) prompt. Today’s prompt comes to us from Gloria Gonsalves, who also suggested our prompt for Day Seven. Today, Gloria challenges us all to write a poem in honor of Earth Day. This could be about your own backyard, a national park, or anything from a maple tree to a humpback whale. Happy writing!
Hello, everyone, and welcome back for the 21st Day of NaPoWriMo/GloPoWriMo! We’re three weeks in now, with just one week and some change left to go.
Today’s featured participant is Katie Staten, whose poem for Day Twenty used kennings as a jumping-off-point to develop a larger theme.
Our poet in translation today is Iran’s Rosa Jamali. Jamali’s poetry uses surreal imagery, broken syntax, and a wealth of mythological references to create a mysterious, urgent sense of speech. Eight of her poems can be found at the link above.
And now, for our prompt (optional as always!) Just as Rosa Jamila’s poems often sound like they come out of a myth or fairy tale (and not always one with a happy ending), today I challenge you to write a poem in the voice of minor character from a fairy tale or myth. Instead of writing from the point of view of Cinderella, write from the point of view of the mouse who got turned into a coachman. Instead of writing from the point of view of Orpheus or Eurydice, write from the point of view of one of the shades in Hades who watched Eurydice leave and then come back. Happy writing!