Happy Wednesday, everyone! Today we are two-thirds done with April, and entering the home stretch of NaPoWriMo/GloPoWriMo.

Today, our featured participant is Vijaya Sundaram, whose didactic poem for Day 19 will teach you how to clean your house!

Our featured poet in translation is Denmark’s Inger Christensen. Christensen was an experimentalist, but that doesn’t mean her poems don’t have heart. Her book-length litany, Alphabet, for example, seems at first to be an odd, mathematically-circumscribed work, but builds gradually and through repetition into an emotionally complex reflection on the horrors of atomic warfare. Three of her poems, translated into English, can be found here, another here, and an excerpt of the first sections of Alphabet here.

And finally, our prompt (optional, as always)! Today’s prompt comes to us from Vince Gotera, who suggests a prompt very much in keeping with our poet in translation, a “kenning” poem. Kennings were riddle-like metaphors used in the Norse sagas. Basically, they are ways of calling something not by its actual name, but by a sort of clever, off-kilter description — for example, the sea would be called the “whale road.” Today, I challenge you to think of a single thing or person (a house, your grandmother, etc), and then write a poem that consists of kenning-like descriptions of that thing or person. For example, you might call a cat a mouse-stalker, quiet-walker, bird-warner, purr-former, etc. If you’re looking for examples, you can find one that Vince wrote here and a different example here. Happy writing!

 

80 Responses to Day Twenty

  1. […] two-thirds done with April, and entering the home stretch of NaPoWriMo […]

  2. […] NaPoWriMo Day 20 challenge was to write a poem with kennings, metaphors used in Norse […]

  3. […] tricky prompt for NaPoWriMo today, as we are to write a ‘kenning,’ It is pretty complicated (well, at least to me), […]

  4. […] prompt  was to write Kenning poem. The object of my kenning/affection elected […]

  5. Carla Jones says:

    Twenty is all about the d to the o to the double g

    https://thisandotherpoems.wordpress.com/2016/04/20/glopowrimo-april-20th/

  6. Angela says:

    It might be a kenning, it’s a riddle and it comes with metaphors: https://unassortedstories.wordpress.com/2016/04/20/oeugs/

  7. […] Prompt: Today’s prompt encourages us to write a kennings poem. A Kenning is a two word phrase describing an object often using a metaphor. A Kennings poem is a riddle made up of several lines of kennings to describe something or someone. For example, you might call a cat a mouse-stalker, quiet-walker, bird-warner, purr-former, etc.  […]

  8. Kruti says:

    Thank you for this prompt :)

    My kennings on my dog: http://bit.ly/1WESJU5

  9. […] heutige Anregung bei NaPoWriMo.net sollen wir mit Kenningar arbeiten, d.h. einfache Begriffe poetisch umschreiben. Heute ist es […]

  10. […] Day 20 of NaPoWriMo leaves us 2/3rds done with the challenge.  Today’s prompt is a kenning, which is essentially a poetic riddle.  Can you figure out mine? […]

  11. Gene says:

    I wrote about a fourth of what I like to have and really wish I had more.

    https://genesmusings.wordpress.com/2016/04/20/riddle-me-this/

  12. […] Day 20. Prompt from NaPoWriMo, kennings. Prompt from Poetic Asides, what […]

  13. Thought this was gonna be easy, but it proved to be challenging. Here’s my kenning to a volcano. :)

    http://charlene-delfin.blogspot.com/2016/04/napowrimo-2016-20th-day.html

  14. […] NaPo prompt challenged participants to write a “Kenning” poem. I will use the description from the […]

  15. Grace says:

    I really enjoyed this! A bit challenging but very fun. Here’s mine: https://pensandcastlesonacloud.wordpress.com/2016/04/20/napowrimo-day-20-kenning-poem/

  16. […] NaPoWriMo prompt was to incorporate kennings, or colorful indirect descriptions of something, like calling […]

  17. housepoet says:

    Hi Poets! This site is so much fun, and this has been a wonderful month because of the prompts! The poems I’ve read from this group are stunning. Just saying thanks for a very pleasant experience. What do we do in May when we are missing this?

  18. […] of which – today’s prompt is quite challenging: a riddle poem. Last year we had something similar and my poem wasn’t […]

  19. kristel rose says:

    NaPoWriMo day 20 calls for a Norse, so here it is. A Norse about Facebook :)
    https://kristelrose.wordpress.com/2016/04/20/napowrimo-2016-entry-20-facebook/

  20. S.G. Liput says:

    Here’s my stab at a kenning poem, inspired by the film that recently won the Best Actress Oscar. Keep up the great work, everybody!
    https://sgliput.wordpress.com/2016/04/20/room-2015/

  21. Vijaya says:

    Thank you again for featuring my poem “How to Clean Your House” – I am so honored!

    Here’s a poem I wrote upon awakening this morning. I will write one in response to your prompt soon.

    https://magicsurrealist2013.me/2016/04/20/questions-for-a-new-odysseus/

    Vijaya

  22. […] NaPoWriMo’s “Kenning Challenge” NotaLiteraryJournal’s “What Terrifies You prompt” Poetic Asides P-A-D “What Goes Unsaid prompt” Poetry School’s “Destruction& Reconstruction prompt” Mariah Wilson’s “An Ending prompt” QuillsEdge Press’ “When the Tea Kettle Sings prompt” Found Poetry’s “Decimator prompt” Apparatus Mag’s “News stories prompt” Imaginary Garden’s “Good Wishes Gone Bad prompt” Kate Foley’s “Airport muses prompt” Jo Bell’s “Spring Green prompt” Indiana Humanities’ “The Moment Before prompt” […]

  23. […] Day Twenty of 2016 NaPoWriMo. Last weekend, we say a performance by The Bad Plus Joshua Redman in a small jazz club.  After playing a few times with Joshua Redman, starting in 2011, The Bad Plus asked him to join them in a collaboration, with their first CD being released in 2015.  While much of the trio’s music is avant-garde, the majority of the CD is comprised of balanced compositions, and Joshua Redman’s skill and experience working with various musicians in the past make him a perfect addition. Each member stood out in his own right, but all wove themselves into a tight, cohesive unit, even on the looser numbers.  There were times when a piano or bass solo eased into the sax so smoothly that it caught me unawares. It was great to see people nodding, with eyes closed, just feeling the groove as it washed over them.  Not for me, though.  Just twenty feet from the piano, I kept my eyes on Ethan Iverson’s fingers on the keyboard, when I wasn’t watching the rest of the quartet play.   It became obvious that Joshua Redman has immersed himself in this collaboration.  There was an intensity, even as he watched and listened to his bandmates play, closing his eyes at times, nodding and even letting out an emphatic “Yeah!” during piano and drum solos, before easing his sax in like it had always been there.  It was a great show. […]

  24. […] “Kenning” poem written for NaPoWriMo Day 20. A kenning is a riddle-like metaphor….a circumlocution. In this case — life is like a boulanger […]

  25. […] NaPoWriMo Prompt – Today’s prompt comes to us from Vince Gotera, who suggests a prompt very much in keeping with our poet in translation, a “kenning” poem. Kennings were riddle-like metaphors used in the Norse sagas. Basically, they are ways of calling something not by its actual name, but by a sort of clever, off-kilter description — for example, the sea would be called the “whale road.” Today, I challenge you to think of a single thing or person (a house, your grandmother, etc), and then write a poem that consists of kenning-like descriptions of that thing or person. For example, you might call a cat a mouse-stalker, quiet-walker, bird-warner, purr-former, etc. If you’re looking for examples, you can find one that Vince wrote here and a different example here. Happy writing! […]

  26. Katie Staten says:

    Here’s mine for today! https://krstaten.wordpress.com/2016/04/20/napowrimo-20/

    I didn’t write the poem using entirely kennings, but I used a couple to get the ball rolling.

  27. […] A kenning is way of saying something without using the actual word…but rather a description of the object.  For example, the ocean might be called a “whale road”.  Here’s my attempt at writing a poem with some kennings in it (for NaPoWriMo) […]

  28. No time to write to the prompt today. Rescheduled a short elfje that I had originally scheduled for this Friday.

    https://lindakruschke.wordpress.com/2016/04/20/darkness/

  29. […] prompt is to write a kenning poem. As I’m on a train, in motion, patchy 3G, train line passing […]

  30. […] poem was based on this prompt to write a poem using […]

  31. After spending an inordinate amount of time attempting to do the Found Poetry prompt I whipped over here and did this:

    http://purplemountainpoems.blogspot.mx/2016/04/my-feet-are-killing-me.html

  32. David Ellis says:

    I used the prompt and decided to write a kenning about a specific feeling

    https://toofulltowrite.com/2016/04/20/napowrimo-day-20-queen-of-hope-by-david-ellis/

  33. Vince Gotera says:

    Maureen, many many thanks for taking my suggestion.

    I do want to say I learned about the Kennings Poem form from my student Lexi Yost. It’s a form new to me and I’ve written three so far this NaPoWriMo season. Here’s today’s kennings …
     

    When You Just Can’t

    Mum-worder
    Tongue-holder
    Lip-clamper
    Mouth-fastener

    Teeth-gritter
    Jaw-clencher
    Brow-wrinkler
    Eyes-averter

    Fists-baller
    Legs-flexer
    Heart-racer
    Bile-swallower

    Smile-forcer
    Grrr-arrrhh

     
    Come on over to the blog … I’m publishing friends and students’ poems also this month. So 5 kennings poems today! http://vincegotera.blogspot.com/2016/04/day-20-napowrimo-poem-day-2016.html

  34. […] Today’s poem prompt. […]

  35. […] NaPoWriMo.net, whence I was urged to write “a kenning poem. Kennings were riddle-like metaphors used in the […]

  36. […] NaPoWriMo 2016 – Day #20: “Kenning Poem” […]

  37. […] ways of calling something not by its actual name, but by a sort of clever, off-kilter description. Today’s National/Global Poetry Writing 2016 challenge is to think of a single thing or person (a house, your grandmother, etc), and then write a poem […]

  38. […] Prompted by NaPoWriMo, day 20.  […]

  39. TJ Paris says:

    I have gone for a haiku today as I am feeling in a minimalist mood.
    https://amaviedecoeurentier.wordpress.com/2016/04/21/eclipse/

  40. I’m back on prompt here, and I enjoyed writing a Kennings Poem about my favorite author! https://lylannemusselman.wordpress.com/2016/04/20/napowrimo-20-kennings-poem/

  41. Eric erb says:

    Here’s my failure to meet this challenge: https://erbiage.wordpress.com/2016/04/20/kenning/

    I’m enthralled with this idea. It seems to me that every word is a kenning of sorts, a sign of a thing that is not the thing itself. As such all words only hint at a deeper meaning. This is their mystery, and their power. Words, words, words.

    Thank you for this challenge!

  42. […] prompt asked us to write a kenning poem–a poem made up of metaphorical descriptions of something […]

  43. Laying the kenning idea aside for another day but it’s intriguing!

    I turn my eyes to the impossible:
    the sky in the last minutes of the day

    http://www.quiltr.com/?p=14151

  44. […] napowrimo.net prompt is to write a kenning poem. I ignored the part about ‘kenning-like descriptions of [the] thing […]

  45. I didn’t like the list-like format of the poems linked to as examples, so I wrote a poem in which I substituted kenning-like descriptions of as many nouns as I could.

    https://ordinaryaveragethoughts.wordpress.com/2016/04/20/national-poetry-writing-month-day-20/

  46. Vijaya says:

    Hi! I finally wrote my response to your prompt for today:

    https://magicsurrealist2013.me/2016/04/20/en-route-to-Toronto

    Thanks,
    Vijaya

  47. Barry says:

    I love trying kennings. Even though they sometimes break my brain. :)

    http://inevitabletruth.blogspot.com/2016/04/day-20-unconventional-wisdom.html

  48. […] NaPoWriMo prompt for Day 20 was to write a Kenning, a nordic-type of riddle poem using metaphors. For […]

  49. […] Day 20 NaPoWriMo 2016.  The prompt today was writing a kenning.  Kenning is a two word phrase describing an […]

  50. Allie says:

    This is what happens when you wait too late to write… https://abm97.wordpress.com/2016/04/21/20-napowrimo-the-kenning/

    Enjoy!!! <3

  51. […] Day 20 of NaPoWriMo. Prompt: Write a kenning poem. […]

  52. […] A kenning, for Bjorn’s prompt over at Toads. We also did kennings on NaPoWriMo day 20. Mine was […]

  53. […] response to Napowrimo Day 20. (yes, catching up! […]

  54. […] Day 20 NaPoWriMo: The prompt instructed folks to write a kenning poem, described in ForwardPoetry as a “two word phrase describing an object often using a metaphor” and by NPWM as a “riddle made up of several lines of kennings to describe something or someone.” What’s that, you say? Weeeellll . . . Wikipedia has a bit more for your edification: “A kenning (Old Norse kenning [cʰɛnːiŋɡ], Modern Icelandic [cʰɛnːiŋk]) is a circumlocution (an ambiguous or roundabout figure of speech) used instead of an ordinary noun in Old Norse, Old English and later Icelandic poetry. I was totally enchanted by the idea, and totally clueless how to begin. So, I started with something from an earlier prompt and continue on from there . . . I think it worked okay. […]

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