Hello, all. We’re now more than one-third of the way through NaPoWriMo, and our we’re up to 1845 participants. Wow!
Our featured link for today is to UbuWeb, which hosts a vast archive of pdfs, sound, and visual files relating to avant-garde poetry. If you’ve never heard any of Christian Bok’s work, go do yourself a favor and check out poetry-as-music-as-beatboxing-as-poetry.
Our featured participant for the day is The Caged Murmurs. The poem for Day 9 wasn’t written in response to yesterday’s prompt, of course, but it really fits the theme! Overall, the poems here display great imagery and attention to emotional detail.
And now, our prompt! Today I challenge you to write a tanka. This, like the “American” cinquain, is a poem based on syllables, with the pattern being 5-7-5-7-7. They work best when those final two 7-syllable lines contain a sort of turn or surprise that the first three lines might not wholly anticipate. You can string a bunch of them together to make a multi-stanza poem, or just write one!
To get you going, here’s an anonymous example from the Japanese, translated by Kenneth Rexroth:
On Komochi Mountain,
from the time the young leaves sprout,
until they turn red,
I think I would like to sleep with you.
What do you think of that?
That one makes me laugh!
Welcome, everyone, to Day 10 of NaPoWriMo!
Our featured link for the day is to Poets House, a non-profit with a 50,000-volume poetry library and a full roster of events. Those of us (i.e, most of us) that are not in New York can still take advantage of their online video and audio archive.
Our featured participant for the day is lag weer, where the noir poem for Day nine has a particularly creepy finale!
And now, the (again, optional) prompt. Many of us have read and even written love poems. But have you written an un-love poem?
You Fit Into Me
You fit into me
like a hook into an eye
a fish hook
an open eye
An un-love poem isn’t a poem of hate, exactly — that might be a bit too shrill or boring. It’s more like a poem of sarcastic dislike. This is a good time to get in a good dig at people who chew with their mouth open, or always take the last oreo. If there’s no person you feel comfortable un-loving, maybe there’s a phenomenon? Like squirrels that eat your tomatoes. (I have many, many bitter feelings about tomato-eating squirrels). There’s lots of ways to go with this one, and lots of room for humor and surprise as well. Happy writing!
Hello, everyone, and welcome back!
Our poetry link for today is to Small Press Distribution. Many poetry publishers are small outfits, and don’t have the money or manpower to deal with large distributors. Sometimes it can even be hard to find their books on Amazon. That’s where SPD comes in — there’s hardly a small press volume of poetry (or fiction, or nonfiction) that isn’t available from them. They also publish a monthly list of poetry bestsellers, which is a great way to keep up with what is new and interesting.
Our featured participant for today is Questions and Canards, where the valedictions are based on Paul Celan and Game of Thrones, and the cinquains take their inspiration from tai-chi moves!
And now our (totally optional) prompt. I’m a sucker for a good mystery novel, especially the hard-boiled noir novels of the thirties and forties. There’s always a two-timing blonde, a city that keeps its secrets, and stuck in the middle, a man who just can’t help but rabbit after truth. Today I challenge you write a poem inspired by noir — it could be in the voice of a detective, or unravel a mystery, or just describe the long shadows of the skyscrapers in the ever-swirling smog. After all, “you know how to write a poem, don’t you, Steve? You just pick up a pen and you write.”
Hello, everyone. We’re more than a week into NaPoWriMo. Whether you’ve been here since April 1, or have joined us more recently, I hope you’re enjoying it!
Today’s featured poetry link is PennSound, which hosts a vast archive of recordings of poetry readings. It’s very cool stuff — you can search by poet, by reading series, and they even have an internet radio station, for all-day poetry listening.
Our featured participant’s blog for the day is The Dukkha Files. The internal rhymes in the poem for Day 6 are really effective, and the language is very fresh.
And now, the prompt (again — the prompt is optional!). Because it’s the 8th, I thought we might try writing in ottava rima — an Italian form that, in English, usually takes the form of an eight-line stanza of iambic pentameter, with a rhyme scheme of a-b-a-b-a-b-c-c. The most famous poem in English that uses the ottava rima form is probably Byron’s Don Juan. If you haven’t read it, it’s wickedly funny! It’s really amazing how contemporary Byron’s language is — it’s like he’s your mean-girl friend just gossiping at you in verse. But unlike Byron, you don’t have to write an entire epic in ottava rima! Just eight lines will do for now. Happy writing!
Today’s poetry link is The Rumpus, where they are posting a poem each day in honor of National Poetry Month, as well as links to readings and other poetry events around the United States.
Our featured participants’ blog is Little Learner, who has been following the daily prompts with much aplomb! I’m so glad the prompts are working out so well for so many of you.
Speaking of which, here is our optional prompt for this, the seventh day of NaPoWriMo. I challenge you to write a poem in which each line except the last takes the form of a single, declarative sentence. Then, the final line should take the form of a question. With any luck, this will result in poems that have a sort of driving, reportorial tone, but with a powerful rhetorical finish. Let’s hope so, anyway!
Hello, all, and welcome to the sixth day (and first Saturday!) of NaPoWriMo!
Our featured link today is the always reliable Verse Daily, where they feature a new poem every day. They tend to pick poems from recently published books so it can be a good way of finding new poets with new books that you might like!
Our featured participant’s site is ab chaos poesis, where A Quinlan and Alan Kleiman are posting their NaPoWriMo efforts. I really like A Quinlan’s poem for Day Five, with its shades of Mr. Rochester’s mad wife.
And now, our (completely optional) prompt for the day! This might seem like a bit of a downer, but I challenge you to write a valediction. This is a poem of farewell. Perhaps the most famous one is John Donne’s A Valediction Forbidding Mourning, which turns the act of saying good-bye into a very tender love poem. But your poem could say “good-bye” (and maybe good riddance!) to anything or anyone. A good-bye to winter might be in order, for example. Or good-bye to the week-old easter eggs in your refrigerator. Light or serious, long or short, it’s up to you!
Hello to all of those coming back, and to those of you joining us for the first time!
Before we get started, a little public service announcement. I’ve had some inquiries from folks trying to find their sites in the ever-growing participants’ list. I’m working on getting a “search” feature built into the site, but in the meantime, the easiest way to find your site is to go to the participants’ list, and use the drop down buttons in the upper left-hand corner to (1) sort the list alphabetically and (2) display all the sites on a single page. At that point, it’s a matter of finding your blog in the giant alphabetical list. A bit inelegant, perhaps, but workable.
And now, our link for the day! The Poetry Foundation maintains about one jillion podcasts relating to poetry, and they’re adding more all the time. You can hear just one poem. You can hear a lecture on a poet. You can hear an interview. I’m particularly fond of the recordings of old readings — I heard one by William Carlos Williams that was Capital-D Delightful. Check out their many podcast series, and maybe download a little something different for your next walk or long car ride.
Our participant’s site for the day is StumbleFumbleGrumble, which is what I do half the time when I get out of bed in the morning. Anyway, the sea shanty for Day 3 is very funny! It seems like a lot of you enjoyed the sea shanty exercise. Hooray!
But now we have a new prompt to deal with! Because I am a rather obvious person at heart, I challenge you to write a cinquain on this, the fifth day of NaPoWriMo. A cinquain is a poem that employs stanzas with five lines. Each line has a certain number of accented or stressed syllables, and a certain number of overall syllables per line. In the “American” cinquain, a form invented by a woman with the highly unfortunate name of Adelaide Crapsey, the number of stresses per line is 1-2-3-4-1, and the number of syllables is 2-4-6-8-2. So the first line would have two syllables, one stressed and one unstressed. The second line would have four syllables, two of which are stressed, and so on. This kind of accent/syllabic verse can be a bit frustrating at first, but it’s useful for learning to sharpen up your language!
Here’s an example to get you going:
when I drive home
in snow like falling ice,
the crystal air becomes a road
Hello, everyone! Welcome to those of you who are joining us for the first time, and for the rest of you, welcome back!
Our featured link for the day is 30xLace, a tumblr curated by Birds of Lace press and Carrie Murphy, where they are posting a new poem every day of April.
Our featured participants’ blog is Mask and Unveiling, where the poems’ use of rhyme is very sensitive and lovely. I also appreciate the photo of the red panda!
Our prompt for today (again — totally optional!) is a little odd, but here goes. Recently, I read an article about the Scottish science fiction writer Iain M. Banks. His books often have spaceships in them. And those spaceships have extremely odd, poetic names. Like:
Unfortunate Conflict of Interest
Very Little Gravitas Indeed
A Series of Unlikely Explanations
Just Another Victim of the Ambient Morality
Frank Exchange of Views
Lightly Seared on the Reality Grill
Falling Outside the Normal Moral Constraints
Abundance of Onslaught
Refreshingly Unconcerned With the Vulgar Exigencies of Veracity
A Fine Disregard For Awkward Facts
There’s a whole twitter account devoted to tweeting Iain-M-Banks-like names for spaceships. So your challenge for today is to write a poem with a title drawn from one of these spaceship names. Feel free to pick a genuine Banks, like the ones listed above, or to take one from the twitter. And if you think of your own Banks-like spaceship name title, feel free to use that! The poet Barbara Guest wrote an essay warning poets about starting from the title, but while I’ve found that a wonderful poem usually finds its right title, I’ve also found that the right title can easily lead to a wonderful poem!
Hello all, and welcome back for the third day of NaPoWriMo! If you’re just joining us now, that’s all right too. Just jump in and start writing!
Today’s featured link is to the Academy of American Poets’ tumblr, where they are posting writing advice from a different poet for each day in April. I very much like Elizabeth Robinson’s advice for April 2, in which she encourages poets to start their own magazines, etc. It’s sometimes better to host a party than to sit around waiting for someone else to invite you to one!
Our featured participant’s blog for the day is Seditious Libel, where the poem for Day 2 involves an unlikely emperor.
And now, our prompt (remember — these are optional, so if they don’t inspire you or you have an idea of your own you want to work with, go ahead!). I’m playing to my own strengths here, but I challenge you to write a sea shanty (or shantey, or chanty, or chantey — there’s a good deal of disagreement regarding the spelling!). Anyway, these are poems in the forms of songs, strongly rhymed and rhythmic, that sailors might sing while hauling on ropes and performing other sea-going labors. Probably the two most famous sea shanties are What Shall We Do With A Drunken Sailor? and Blow the Man Down. And what should your poem be about? Well, I suppose it could be about anything, although some nautical phrases tossed into the chorus would be good for keeping the sea in your shanty. Haul away, boys, haul away!
Hello and welcome back. I hope your first day of NaPoWriMo went swimmingly and that you’re ready for more.
But now, let me draw your attention to a few links. The good folks at wordpress gave us a shout-out on their blog yesterday. Huzzah! And if you’re looking for a little inspiration, I invite you to check out Pulitzer Remix, a project sponsored by the Found Poetry Review, in which 85 different poets are daily creating found poetry remixed from Pulitzer Prize-winning books. Wow!
Our featured blog for today is Right, Write, which brings us a poem for Day 1 that I find rhetorically very compelling, as it moves from the idea of a voice to windows and brings the intimate, inside idea of a voice outside into the world, and vice versa.
And now, the prompt! Today’s prompt is drawn from an idea that Kelsey Howard gave me — that of a poem that tells a lie. I think you could have a poem that’s all lies (that could be very funny — full of things like “the sun is the size of a nickel”) or a poem that steadily builds to telling one big whopper. I can imagine these being very poignant, or very much like goofy shaggy-dog stories. I suppose it all comes down to what you want to lie about!