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.
Hello, everyone! It’s the first day of NaPoWriMo – I hope your poetry muscles are all warmed up.
We’ll be featuring a participant’s blog and an online poetry resource each day, as well as an (optional, as always) prompt. If you have ideas for featured participants or resources, or an idea for a prompt, let us know at napowrimonet-AT-gmail-DOT-com – we’ll credit it you if we use them!
Today’s featured participating site is the Poetry Month Scouts (PoMoSco) blog. Organized by the Found Poetry Review, the blog’s 213 participants are writing experimental and found poems each day for the month of April. They’ve gotten right out of the gate with a variety of poems produced by remixing and erasing existing texts.
And our first featured resource is the humorously-named Real Pants – a new online literary blog from the folks behind Publishing Genius Press. At Real Pants, you’ll find interviews with poets, prompts, and poet-written columns about everything from book cover design to fashion, and much, much more. I’ve really enjoyed reading along with Real Pants since the site launched in January – I hope you will, too.
And now, without further ado, our optional prompt. Today’s prompt is a poem of negation – yes (or maybe, no), I challenge you to write a poem that involves describing something in terms of what it is not, or not like. For example, if you chose a whale as the topic of your poem, you might have lines like “It does not settle down in trees at night, cooing/Nor will it fit in your hand.” Happy writing!
Eee! Can you feel the poetry excitement in the air? NaPoWriMo begins tomorrow!
For all you early birds who’d like to post your first poems as soon as possible on April 1 (and in recognition of the fact that, by the time NaPoWriMo rolls around on the east coast of the United States, it will already have been April 1 for some hours in much of the globe), today we are featuring an “extra” prompt. As always, the prompts are optional. If this one doesn’t suit you, or if you have other ideas, feel free to ignore!
Without further ado, the prompt is this: Take a look at this poem by Bernadette Mayer, a “New York School” poet whose highly influential book, Sonnets, was recently reissued by Tender Buttons Press. Like other poets associated with the New York School, Mayer pushed the boundaries of what poetry could be and could talk about, writing in a straightforward, highly vernacular style that belies the rhetorical complexity of the work. Mayer’s lamentation for the other lives we could have led is something we probably have all felt. Today, why not try writing your own poem that begins “I guess it’s too late to live on a farm”? Or if you already live on a farm, why not “I guess it’s too late to live in the city”? Or, if you’ve lived on both farms and in cities, perhaps it’s too late to live on a boat or in the mountains or on the moon or in an underground missile silo?
By the way, for those of you in search of greater inspiration than our daily prompts may provide, Mayer is the author of a well-loved series of journaling ideas and poetry “experiments” that have kept generations of budding and experienced poets happily engaged. If you feel your creativity sagging, why not check it out?
In the meantime, Happy Writing!
NaPoWriMo is just two days away, and as we draw ever closer to the starting line, we thought we’d tackle a topic that is near and dear to nearly every poet’s heart: how do I get published?
Well, it’s as simple – and as hard – as identifying magazines or journals that you think would be a good fit for your work, and following their submission guidelines. (Sadly, your first publication is very unlikely to be a hard-cover full-length collection brought out by a major press, unless you just so happen to be, say, the owner/editor of a major press). The Academy of American Poets has this useful FAQ for those who are just getting started on this journey. And here’s another from Poets & Writers Magazine.
As for finding the likely journals – well, we’re afraid you’re in for some reading! It’s very difficult to tell whether a journal or magazine would be a good home for your work without reading it. But with so many journals operating online, it’s easier to survey the field now than it was in the past. Keep your eyes open for magazines/journals that publish work you admire, and always remember to follow the guidelines. Many journals receive simply incredible numbers of submissions during their reading periods, and will reject outright any submission that doesn’t follow guidelines. It doesn’t seem very fair, we know, but there are very few editors of journals who get paid in any way — it’s all volunteer work, and there’s only so much time in a day. Be respectful of that volunteered time!
And if at first you don’t succeed, don’t be discouraged. Getting published often feels arduous, and even well-established poets get far more rejections than acceptances – really. In baseball, a batting average of .333 is considered impossibly excellent. In poetry, if even one out of ten of your submissions is accepted, you are basically Babe Ruth. In pop terms, we’re talking Beyoncé levels here.
Finally, if you look over the journals out there, and think to yourself, no one is publishing work like mine, and worse, no one is publishing anything I like!, then you might just consider starting your own magazine. It’s a rite of passage for many poets, and with the ability to host journals online, there’s not necessarily a big financial outlay. And if you’re not quite ready to start your own magazine, why not volunteer with one that already exists?