Another April gone, another Na/GloPoWriMo in the books! Thanks to everyone who participated. It’s so heartening to see the many folks who return year after year, as well as each year’s crop of fresh, new participants willing to spend their Aprils writing poetry.
And my special thanks go out to everyone who cheered on other participants in the comments on each day’s post, on Facebook, and on Twitter! The community that you create and foster is truly special, and I’m beyond grateful that you give your time and enthusiasm to making Na/GloPoWriMo a welcoming place for all.
Our final featured participants for the year are Farah Lawal Harris, who brings us a blazing hip-hop cento, written by e.s., who provides a lyrically lush cento of gratitude, and finally, Gloria D. Gonsalves, who wrote not one, but two centos in response to our final prompt.
All of this year’s posts and comments will remain up and available for your perusal, and I will leave this year’s list of participants’ site up until we begin our housecleaning early next year in anticipation of NaPoWriMo/GloPoWriMo 2022 — which will be the project’s twentieth year! I can hardly believe how it’s grown since 2003, when it was just me writing poems by myself in my bedroom, to the present day, when there are participants all around the world!
See you next April! And in the meantime, happy writing!
Well, it’s happened again, everyone. We’ve gotten to the final day of another Na/GloPoWriMo! We’ll be back tomorrow with a post to laud our final, featured participant, but in the meantime, let’s get to it!
Today, we have another trio of featured participants. First up, here’s Backwoods Walking‘s lyrical and nostalgic response to Day 29’s “gifts” prompt, and second and third, rather humorous responses from Graham Parker’s Poetry and Poetic Inquiry for Beginners.
Our final featured online magazine is Freeze Ray, which specializes in poems about pop culture. From their most recent issue, I’ll point you to Thomas Fucaloro’s “Into the Spider-verse Deleted Character: Charles Baudelaire Parker, the Loathsome Spiderman” and Heather Knowles’ “Wow (Or, the Time I Served Owen Wilson Coffee).”
And now – our final (but still optional!) prompt. Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a cento. This is a poem that is made up of lines taken from other poems. If you’d like to dig into an in-depth example, here’s John Ashbery’s cento “The Dong with the Luminous Nose,” and here it is again, fully annotated to show where every line originated. A cento might seem like a complex undertaking – and one that requires you to have umpteen poetry books at your fingertips for reference – but you don’t have to write a long one. And a good way to jump-start the process is to find an online curation of poems about a particular topic (or in a particular style), and then mine the poems for good lines to string together. You might look at the Poetry Foundation’s collection of love poems, or its collection of poems by British romantic poets, or even its surprisingly expansive collection of poems about (American) football.
Happy Friday all, and happy penultimate day of Na/GloPoWriMo 2022!
For the first time, we have a trio of featured participants, as there were so many wonderful responses to Day 28’s “concrete” poem prompt that I had even more difficulty than usual choosing! First up, here’s Alice Whitehead‘s lovely pear-shaped poem. Nex, Joy Wright‘s criss-crossing, repeating poem about a bandstand, and last but not least, flippedserendipity‘s wavy ocean poem.
Today’s featured online magazine is On the Seawall, which has been publishing issues at least monthly since 2018. From the poems they’ve recently published, I’ll direct you to Barbara Daniels’ “My Lost Generation” and Melissa Eleftherion’s “Fool Reversed/Let Go.”
And here’s our prompt (optional, as always). In certain versions of the classic fairytale Sleeping Beauty, various fairies or witches are invited to a princess’s christening, and bring her gifts. One fairy/witch, however, is not invited, and in revenge for the insult, lays a curse on the princess. Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem in which you muse on the gifts you received at birth — whether they are actual presents, like a teddy bear, or talents – like a good singing voice – or circumstances – like a kind older brother, as well as a “curse” you’ve lived with (your grandmother’s insistence on giving you a new and completely creepy porcelain doll for every birthday, a bad singing voice, etc.). I hope you find this to be an inspiring avenue for poetic and self-exploration.
There’s only three days left to go in this year’s Na/GloPoWriMo. I hope you’ve had – and are having – fun with the challenge.
Today’s featured participant is yet again, two participants! First up, we have Eunoia, bringing us a duplex that I certainly found meaningful, having grown up as a navy brat (and moving every six to twelve months as a result), and second, Karen Morris, bringing us a fully-rhymed duplex in the form of a mother’s humorous lament.
Our daily online magazine is failbetter. Among the poems that they’ve published recently, I’ll point out Jessie Raymundo’s “Memory with Water” and John Wall Barger’s “I Received a Bitter Email from a Good-Hearted Man.”
Today’s (optional) prompt is to write a concrete poem. Like acrostic poems, concrete poems are a favorite for grade-school writing assignments, so this may not be your first time at the concrete-poem rodeo. In brief, a concrete poem is one in which the lines are shaped in a way that mimics the topic of the poem. For example, May Swenson’s poem “Women” mimics curves, reinforcing the poem’s references to motion, rocking horses, and even the shape of a woman’s body. George Starbuck’s “Sonnet in the Shape of a Potted Christmas Tree” is – you guessed it – a sonnet in the shape of a potted Christmas tree. Your concrete poem could be complexly-shaped, but relatively simple strategies can also be “concrete” — like a poem involving a staircase where the length of the lines grows or shrinks over time, like an ascending (or descending) set of stairs.
Happy Wednesday, all, and welcome back for the twenty-seventh day of Na/GloPoWriMo.
Our featured participant for the day is, again, two featured participants! While the poems may have seemed difficult to write, the responses to Day 27’s “homeric similes” prompt were really quite amazing. Pat yourselves on your collective backs — extended metaphors suit you down to the ground. And now, without further ado, our participants! First up, we have Vixie’s Stories, bringing the jungle into an urban setting. Second, we have Poetry by Hasen, bringing us a wintry and wandering simile.
Today’s featured online magazine is Wood Cat Review, a relatively new magazine that focuses on poetry and other forms of writing about the natural world. From the work that they have published so far, I’ll point you to William Doreski’s “Toads in Early Spring” and Christian Ward’s “The Judges of Wandle River.”
Last but not least, here’s our (optional) prompt. Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a “duplex.” A “duplex” is a variation on the sonnet, developed by the poet Jericho Brown. Here’s one of his first “Duplex” poems, and here is a duplex written by the poet I.S. Jones. Like a typical sonnet, a duplex has fourteen lines. It’s organized into seven, two-line stanzas. The second line of the first stanza is echoed by (but not identical to) the first line of the second stanza, the second line of the second stanza is echoed by (but not identical to) the first line of the third stanza, and so on. The last line of the poem is the same as the first.
Wow, we’re really into the home-stretch of Na/GloPoWriMo now, with just five days left to go!
We again have two featured participants for the day! First, A Poet’s Vision brings us a healing and watery response to Day 25’s “aisling” prompt, while Arti Jain brings us a poem that blends gardening and philosophy.
Our featured online magazine for today is Longleaf Review, which has been publishing quarterly issues since the fall of 2018. From their recent issues, I’ll point you to Sara Elkamel’s “A Bride for a Flood” and Jad Josey’s “Not Bruise, Not Eggplant.”
And now for our daily prompt (optional, as always). A couple of days ago, we played around with hard-boiled similes. Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that contains at least one of a different kind of simile – an epic simile. Also known as Homeric similes, these are basically extended similes that develop over multiple lines. Perhaps unsurprisingly, they have mainly been used in epic poems, typically as decorative elements that emphasize the dramatic nature of the subject (see, by way of illustration, this example from Milton’s Paradise Lost). But you could write a complete poem that is just one lengthy, epic simile, relying on the surprising comparison of unlike things to carry the poem across. And if you’re feeling especially cheeky, you could even write a poem in which the epic simile spends lines heroically and dramatically describing something that turns out to be quite prosaic. Whatever you decide to compare, I hope you have fun extending your simile(s) to epic lengths.
Happy twenty-fifth day of Na/GloPoWriMo, everybody!
Today, our featured participant is two participants, yet agains: Jacqui Dempsey-Cohen and Amita Paul, both of wrote poems chock-a-block with extemely vivid similes in response to Day 24’s “hard-boiled” prompt.
Our featured online journal for the day is Okay Donkey, which has been publishing poetry (as well as other genres) monthly since June of 2018. From their recent issues, I’ll point you to Audrey Hall’s “Old Man in the Kitchen,” and Amorak Huey’s “A Small, Private Sadness.”
Today’s (optional) prompt is based on the aisling, a poetic form that developed in Ireland. An aisling recounts a dream or vision featuring a woman who represents the land or country on/in which the poet lives, and who speaks to the poet about it. Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that recounts a dream or vision, and in which a woman appears who represents or reflects the area in which you live. Perhaps she will be the Madonna of the Traffic Lights, or the Mysterious Spirit of Bus Stops. Or maybe you will be addressed by the Lost Lady of the Stony Coves. Whatever form your dream-visitor takes, happy writing!
Welcome back, everyone, for the final Sunday of Na/GloPoWriMo 2022.
Today, our featured online magazine is the amusingly-named Miracle Monocle, which has been publishing twice-yearly issues since 2010. From their latest issue, I’ll point out Jessica Barksdale’s “Zoo Story,” and Coleman Childress’s “Broken Cabins on the Beach.”
Last but not least, here’s our prompt for the day (optional, as always). Hard-boiled detective novels are known for their use of vivid similes, often with an ironic or sarcastic tone. Novelist Raymond Chandler is particularly adept at these. Here are a few from his novels:
- A few locks of dry, white hair clung to his scalp, like wild flowers fighting for life on a bare rock.
- Dead men are heavier than broken hearts.
- From 30 feet away she looked like a lot of class. From 10 feet away she looked like something made up to be seen from 30 feet away.
- She smelled the way the Taj Mahal looks by moonlight.
- He looked about as inconspicuous as a tarantula on a slice of angel food.
Today, I’d like to challenge you to channel your inner gumshoe, and write a poem in which you describe something with a hard-boiled simile. Feel free to use just one, or try to go for broke and stuff your poem with similes till it’s . . . as dense as bread baked by a plumber, as round as the eyes of a girl who wants you to think she’s never heard such language, and as easy to miss as a brass band in a cathedral.
Happy Saturday, all, and happy twenty-third day of Na/GloPoWriMo.
Today’s featured participant is Jane Dougherty Writes, where you’ll find a gently melancholy response to Day 22’s repetition prompt.
Our featured online magazine today is Peach Mag, which publishes poems on an ongoing basis, and then archives them based on yearlong “seasons.” Among the work that they’ve recently published, I’ll point you to Ai Li Feng’s “echolocation” and Bob Sykora’s “Crying on the Exercise Bike While Watching The Great British Bakeoff, February 2021.”
And now for our daily (optional) prompt. Today I’d like to challenge you to write a poem in the style of Kay Ryan, whose poems tend to be short and snappy – with a lot of rhyme and soundplay. They also have a deceptive simplicity about them, like proverbs or aphorisms. Once you’ve read a few, you’ll see what I mean. Here’s her “Token Loss,” “Blue China Doorknob,” “Houdini,” and “Crustacean Island.”
Welcome back, all, for the twenty-second day of Na/GlaPoWriMo!
Today, our featured participant is Jessie Lynn McMains, who brings us a poem filled with lush detail and longing in response to Day 21’s memory-based prompt.
Our featured online magazine for the day is Five South, which has published three official “issues,” but also publishes poems every week. Among their recently published poems, I’ll point you to Alina Stefanescu’s “The Home is Six Hens Which Never Lay Eggs” and Erin Carlyle’s “Moon Landing.”
And now for our prompt (optional, as always). In honor of today’s being the 22nd day of Na/GloPoWriMo 2022, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that uses repetition. You can repeat a sound, a word, a phrase, or an image, or any combination of things.
Happy writing! Happy writing! (See what I did there . . . ?)
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