Welcome back, all, for the second Saturday of NaPoWriMo!
Today’s featured participant is Brittany’s Blog of Random Things, where the abecedarian poem for Day Ten has visual elements. Swoop it goes!
You’ve heard that clothes make the man? Well, it may be that they make the poet, too — our featured resources for the day seem to think so, at any rate! Here’s a bit of sartorial Saturday silliness, in the form of a tumblr dedicated to poets and shoes. To round things out, here’s a project dedicated to poets and their jeans. Maybe you’ll be inspired to write an ode to denim yourself?
Our (optional) prompt for today departs from such concerns, however. Today, rather than being casual, I challenge you to get rather classically formal, and compose a poem in Sapphics. These are quatrains whose first three lines have eleven syllables, and the fourth, just five. There is also a very strict meter that alternates trochees (a two-syllable foot, with the first syllable stressed, and the second unstressed) and dactyls (a three-syllable foot, with the first syllable stressed and the remainder unstressed). The first three lines consist of two trochees, a dactyl, and two more trochees. The fourth line is a dactyl, followed by a trochee.
It may be easier to hear the meter than to think about it – try reading this poem in Sapphics aloud to yourself, and you’ll see what an oracular tone it produces – the stressed beginnings of the lines produce a feeling of importance, while the unstressed syllables of the trochees keep the pace measured. Rhyming is optional, and if you begin to bridle at the strict meter, feel free to loosen it up!
Today is the tenth day of NaPoWriMo. We’re one third of the way through!
Our featured participant today is Arakawa Fiction, where the visual poem for Day Nine is pretty keen both in terms of the poem’s shape and the wonderful use of calligraphy.
Our resource for the day is Entropy, an online journal of literature that, besides its many fine articles and poems, also hosts great posts on submission opportunities, a small press database, and more.
And now for today’s prompt (optional, as always): Today I challenge you to write an abecedarian poem – a poem with a structure derived from the alphabet. There are a couple of ways of doing this. You could write a poem of 26 words, in which each word begins with a successive letter of the alphabet. You could write a poem of 26 lines, where each line begins with a successive letter. Or finally, if you’d prefer to narrow your focus, perhaps you could write a poem which focuses on a few letters, using words that repeat them.
Hello, all. Welcome back!
Today’s featured participant is Gram’s Ramblings. I noticed the poem for Day Three a few days back, and it fits so nicely in with today’s prompt that I’ve been saving it up! The curving, turning form of the lines both reinforces and reflects the subject matter, adding visual flair to the words.
Speaking of visual flair, our poetry resources today are meant to introduce you to the world of visual poetry. What’s that? Well, it’s sort of a spectrum ranging from poetry-with-visual-elements to visual artwork that incorporates text. Here’s a brief explanation with a portfolio of work. And here’s a curated collection of women’s visual poetry. And finally, here’s a collection of examples, with essays, from Ohio State University.
Our prompt for the day (optional, as always) plays of our resources. Today, I challenge you to write a visual poem. If that’s not specific enough, perhaps you can try your hand at a calligram? That’s a poem or other text in which the words are arranged into a specific shape or image. You might find inspiration in the famous calligrams written by Guillaume Apollinaire. And a word to the wise — the best way to cope with today’s exercise may well be to abandon your keyboard, and sit down with paper and pen (and maybe crayons or colored pencils or markers!)
Welcome back, everyone, for Day Eight of NaPoWriMo.
Today’s featured participant is Marilyn Cavicchia, whose “money” poem for Day Seven veers from water to space to Scrooge McDuck.
Our poetry resource today is Michelle Detorie’s hilarious #whatshouldwecallpoets tumblr, which provides animated .gifs to express all your most inexpressible poetry-related emotions.
And now, without further ado, our prompt (optional as always) for Day Eight: today I challenge you to write a palinode. And what’s that? It’s a poem in which the poet retracts a statement made in an earlier poem. You could take that route or, if you don’t have an actual poetically-expressed statement you want to retract, maybe you could write a poem in which you explain your reasons for changing your mind about something. It could be anything from how you decided that you like anchovies after all to how you decided that annoying girl was actually cool enough that you married her.
Hello, all! One week down, three-and-some-change to go!
Our featured participant today is Purple Toothed Grin, where the Monday morning aubade has a cinematic patina.
Today’s poetry resource is Jessica Piazza’s Poetry Has Value. Poetry rather famously “doesn’t pay,” but Piazza has decided to test that assertion, as well as the accompanying rhetoric of the “gift economy” and devaluation of poetry, by spending a year only submitting her work to paying venues. On the Poetry Has Value website, she interviews editors of journals that pay writers, keeps track of how she’s doing on actually making money, and features guest posts on the financial side of the poetry game.
And now our (optional!) prompt: keeping to the theme of poetry’s value, Wallace Stevens famously wrote that “money is a kind of poetry.” So today, I challenge you to write about money! It could be about not having enough, having too much (a nice kind of problem to have), the smell, or feel, or sensory aspects of money. It could also just be a poem about how we decide what has value or worth.
Hello, all! Welcome back – I hope you’re getting into the swing of things.
Our participant for today is Not Enough Poetry, which reworked and elaborated on Emily Dickinson’s “Wild Nights” in response to our “Be Your Own Emily” prompt.
So, we’ve learned about memorizing, reciting, and recording poems. Let’s give ourselves a bit of a break – Mondays are hard enough as it is – and settle into simply listening to some poems. Poetry podcasts have exploded over the last few years. Swing on over to iTunes and you’ll find a plethora of them. But I’ll point out a few to get things started: The Lannan Foundation’s podcast, the Poetry Foundation’s Poetry Off the Shelf series, and the podcast series of the Scottish Poetry Library. Listen to some poetry next time your out on a walk, or during your commute!
Today’s (optional) prompt springs from the form known as the aubade. These are morning poems, about dawn and daybreak. Many aubades take the form of lovers’ morning farewells, but . . . today is Monday. So why not try a particularly Mondayish aubade – perhaps you could write it while listening to the Bangles’ iconic Manic Monday? Or maybe you could take in Phillip Larkin’s grim Aubade for inspiration (though it may just make you want to go back to bed). Your Monday aubade could incorporate lovey-dovey aspects, or it could opt to forego them until you’ve had your coffee.
Hello all, and welcome back for Day Five!
Today’s featured participant is The Central Texas Introvert, where the loveless love poem for Day Four has a softly surprising ending.
Our last two days’ poetry resources focused on memorizing and reciting poems. Well, what about recording them? Online poetry journals are increasingly providing .mp3 files of poets reading their work, alongside the written words. This can be surprisingly helpful for understanding the poems – giving distinct cadence and emotional tone to lines that the reader might otherwise have trouble with. It also gives readers who might not be able to attend an in-person reading a more intimate experience of the poem and the poet. Another valuable aspect of recording poems is to help poets know what they sound like to others. Listening to yourself read a draft of a poem can help you pinpoint weak spots, or areas where your rhythm has stumbled. If you’re interested in recording your own poems, whether to share with others, or for personal use, the Kenyon Review has posted these tips and tricks. They’re meant to aid poets making recordings for the magazine’s website, but there’s no reason you can’t take advantage of their advice!
Today’s prompt (optional, as always) is a variation on a teaching exercise that the poet Anne Boyer uses with students studying the work of Emily Dickinson. As you may know, although Dickinson is now considered one of the most original and finest poets the United States has produced, she was not recognized in her own time. One reason her poems took a while to gain a favorable reception is their slippery, dash-filled lines. Those dashes baffled her readers so much that the 1924 edition of her complete poems replaced some with commas, and did away with others completely. Today’s exercise asks you to do something similar, but in the interests of creativity, rather than ill-conceived “correction.” Find an Emily Dickinson poem – preferably one you’ve never previously read – and take out all the dashes and line breaks. Make it just one big block of prose. Now, rebreak the lines. Add words where you want. Take out some words. Make your own poem out of it! (Not sure where to find some Dickinson poems? Here’s 59 Dickinson poems to select from).
It’s the first weekend day in NaPoWriMo! Pat yourselves on the back for having made it through three poetry-writing weekdays.
Our featured participant today is: Bag of Anything, where the fourteener for Day Three has a mysterious but urgent quality, as though it were a speech given by a character in an ancient myth. I really enjoy the use of enjambment, which keeps the poes moving from line to line.
Yesterday, our featured resource was an app to assist in memorizing poems. The practice of reciting poems is enjoying a resurgence in schools, partly due to the great efforts of the Poetry Out Loud program, which organizes recitation contests. At their website, you’ll find teaching resources, tips on how to organize contests, tons of wonderful poems, and more.
And now for today’s prompt (optional, as always). Love poems are a staple of the poetry scene. It’s pretty hard to be a poet and not write a few – or a dozen – or maybe six books’ worth. But because so many love poems have been written, there are lots of clichés. Fill your poems with robins and hearts and flowers, and you’ll sound more like a greeting card than a bard. So today, I challenge you to write a “loveless” love poem. Don’t use the word love! And avoid the flowers and rainbows. And if you’re not in the mood for love? Well, the flip-side of the love poem – the break-up poem – is another staple of the poet’s repertoire. If that’s more your speed at present, try writing one of those, but again, avoid thunder, rain, and lines beginning with a plaintive “why”? Try to write a poem that expresses the feeling of love or lovelorn-ness without the traditional trappings you associate with the subject matter.
We’re three days in, everyone, and I imagine you are still getting your sea-legs (poem-legs?) Hopefully, you’ll get the rhythm down and writing a poem each day will come as naturally as eating breakfast! And poetry is cholesterol-free!
Our featured participant today is Oaks to Acorns, which took our star-based prompt for Day 2 in a novel and charming direction.
Our featured resource for the day is Poems by Heart, an app that helps you memorize poems. If you’ve never tried to memorize a poem, it’s easier than you think, and has lasting benefits! Memorization, ironically enough, helps you to read better, by forcing you to “act out” the poem. It also gives you a means to entertain yourself (yes, I have spent time while waiting for buses quietly reciting “The Raven” to myself).
And now, for our optional prompt! Today I challenge you to write a fourteener. Fourteeners can be have any number of lines, but each line should have fourteen syllables. Traditionally, each line consisted of seven iambic feet (i.e., an unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable, times seven), but non-iambic fourteeners also exist. The fourteener was popular in 16th and 17th century England, where it was particular common in ballads, but it also is the form in which “Casey at the Bat” is written. The form is versatile enough to encompass any subject matter, but as the example of “Casey at the Bat” shows us, it is particularly useful in narrative poetry, due to the long line and the step-like sense of progression created by the iambs.
Welcome back, everyone! I hope your first day of NaPoWriMo left you inspiring and excited for more.
Today’s featured participant is: Quest for Whirled Peas, where the negation poem for Day One is about that most wonderful of morning beverages, coffee! I like the jaunty rhythms and rhymes, both for themselves and because they come as a reminder that a good tip for getting through NaPoWriMo with all 30 poems is to think of it as a sort of game. It’s supposed to be fun, and so you can free yourself from any need to write only ‘serious’ poems (though if you end up writing serious poems anyway, no one will complain!)
In keeping with the theme of fun, our poetry resource for today is, well, less a resource than a diversion. You know how, when you go to search something in Google, the search box will automatically pre-populate with potential searches, based on your first few words? Sometimes, there’s a sort of serendipitous poetry to these automatically completed search terms, which leads us to Google Poetics, a website devoted to capturing these rare specimens and preserving them for posterity.
And now, our (as always, optional) prompt, provided to us by NaPoWriMo participant Carla Jones. Today, I challenge you to take your gaze upward, and write a poem about the stars. You may find inspiration in this website that lists constellations, while also providing information on the myths associated with each one, as well as other salient information. Your poem could be informed by those myths or historical details, by the shapes or names of the constellations, or by childhood memories of seeing them. Any form or style will do.