It’s finally here, everyone! The last day of Na/GloPoWriMo. I hope you’ve enjoyed the challenge of writing thirty poems, and that you’ll join us again next year.
We’ll be back tomorrow with a wrap-up post, and our final featured participants, but in the meantime . . .
Today’s featured reading is a live event that will take place tomorrow, May 1, at 3:30 p.m. eastern. Poet sam sax will be reading for The Poetry Center at Passaic County Community College in New Jersey.
And now for our final (still optional!) prompt. Today’s prompt is based on a prompt written by Jacqueline Saphra, and featured in this group of prompts published back in 2015 by The Poetry Society of the U.K. This prompt challenges you to write a poem in the form of a series of directions describing how a person should get to a particular place. It could be a real place, like your local park, or an imaginary or unreal place, like “the bottom of your heart,” or “where missing socks go.” Fill your poem with sensory details, and make them as wild or intimate as you like.
Oh, we’re so close to the end of Na/GloPoWriMo. It’s sad in a way, but also inspiring — we’ve written so many poems together! And of course, like April itself, Na/GloPoWriMo will come again.
Today’s featured participants are Eunoia, where you’ll find a poem about dreams in response to Day 28’s question-based prompt, and My Author-itis, where you’ll find a short and witty response to the prompt.
And now, for our prompt (optional, as always). This one is called “in the window.” Imagine a window looking into a place or onto a particular scene. It could be your childhood neighbor’s workshop, or a window looking into an alien spaceship. Maybe a window looking into a witch’s gingerbread cottage, or Lord Nelson’s cabin aboard the H.M.S. Victory. What do you see? What’s going on?
We’re really in the home-stretch of Na/GloPoWriMo now, with just three days left until we reach April 30.
Today’s daily reading is a live event that will take place tomorrow, April 29 from 1:30 – 3:30 p.m. eastern time. Poets Dina Gatina, Polina Barskova, and Vlazhyna Mort will be reading from their work and discussing contemporary Russian women’s poetry with professor and translator Ainsley Morse.
Our prompt today (optional, as always), is to write a poem that poses a series of questions. The questions could be a mix of the serious (“What is the meaning of life?”) and humorous (“What’s the deal with cats knocking things off tables?”), the interruptive (“Could you repeat that?”) and the conversational (“Are those peanuts? Can I have some?”). You can choose to answer them – or just let the questions keep building up, creating a poem that asks the reader to come up with their own answer(s).
Happy twenty-seventh day of Na/GloPoWriMo, everybody!
Our featured participants today are A Writer Without Words – Some Motivation Required, who has re-written the lyrics to a song from Les Miserables to tell us the sad tale of a woman whose children demand all her chocolates, and Scrambled, Not Fried, where the lyrics to a patriotic song have been replaced with an homage to grammarians.
Today’s featured reading is a live event that will take place tomorrow, April 28, at 8 p.m. eastern time. Arda Collins and Monica Youn will be reading at (well, virtually at) The Poetry Project in New York City.
In today’s (optional) prompt, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem inspired by an entry from the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows. The entries are very vivid – maybe too vivid! But perhaps one of the sorrows will strike a chord with you, or even get you thinking about defining an in-between, minor, haunting feeling that you have, and that does not yet have a name.
Happy (well . . . sort of ) writing!
UPDATE: If this prompt has shown up late for you, I apologize! It was all scheduled to go out at 12:01 a.m. New York time, but it seems that there might have been a timing hiccup — possibly a result of the work that was done to fix the site up after it was offline for a few hours yesterday while my hosting service worked to resolve a hack.
Welcome back, all, for the twenty-sixth day of Na/GloPoWriMo.
Today’s featured participants are Barbara Turney Wieland, who has brought us a happy, snappy poem sprinkled with daisies, and Manja Mexi Mexcessive, whose poem about the not-so-normal process of trying to get back to normal may resonate with many of you — it surely did for me!
And now for our (optional) prompt. Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a parody. Besides being fun, writing parodies can be a great way to hone your poetic skills – particularly your sense of rhyme and sound, as you try to mimic the form of an existing poem while changing the content. Just find a poem – or a song – that has always annoyed you, and write an altered, silly version of it. Or, alternatively, find a poem with a very particular rhyme scheme or form, and use that scheme/form as the basis for a poem that mocks something else.
If you’d like to get some inspiration, you might consider some of the poems that Lewis Carroll included in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, which parody the moralistic verse of Isaac Watts. For example, “The Crocodile” is a send-up of Watts’ “How Doth the Little Busy Bee,” while “Tis the Voice of the Lobster” is a parody of Watts’ poem “The Sluggard.” Or, for a briefer and more whimsical poem, consider “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Bat,” which is a parody of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.”
As of today, there’s less than one week left in Na/GloPoWriMo. I hope you’ve been happy with your writing! And remember, if you fall behind, you can always catch-up! Or just pick up fresh with the new day.
Our featured participants for the day are Sunra Rainz, who gives us a poem in which sorrow and other minor-key feelings become flying insects, and Paula Aamli, who has turned rage into a strange, burrowing parrot.
Today’s featured reading is a pre-recorded one, so that you can enjoy it at your leisure. It’s a video showing selections from two poetry readings given by John Ashbery and Barbara Guest, both associated with the “New York School” of poetry, in the mid-1990s.
Our prompt for today (optional, as always) is to write an “occasional” poem. What’s that? Well, it’s a poem suited to, or written for, a particular occasion. This past January, lots of people who usually don’t encounter poetry got a dose when Amanda Gorman read a poem at President Biden’s inauguration. And then she followed it up with a poem at the Superbowl (not traditionally an event associated with verse!) The poem you write can be for an occasion in the past or the future, one important to you and your family (a wedding, a birth) or for an occasion in the public eye (the Olympics, perhaps?).
Happy Saturday, everyone, and happy twenty-fourth day of Na/GloPoWriMo 2021.
Today, our featured participants are Writing in North Norfolk, where you will find a swift and lyrical poem responding to Carol Ann Duffy’s “The Light Gatherer,” and Graham Parker’s Poetry, where you’ll find a meditative response to the Carl Phillips poem we shared yesterday.
Today’s (optional) prompt is a fun one. Find a factual article about an animal. A Wikipedia article or something from National Geographic would do nicely – just make sure it repeats the name of the animal a lot. Now, go back through the text and replace the name of the animal with something else – it could be something very abstract, like “sadness” or “my heart,” or something more concrete, like “the streetlight outside my window that won’t stop blinking.” You should wind up with some very funny and even touching combinations, which you can then rearrange and edit into a poem.
Good morning, and welcome back for Na/GloPoWriMo’s twenty-third day!
I just can’t seem to kick this new habit of having two featured participants. I suppose there are worse things! Today, we have Donna M. Day, who brings us a lovely meditation on kiwi fruit, and Judy Dykstra-Brown, who has basically written us a country music song.
Our daily featured reading is a live event scheduled for tomorrow, April 24, at 7 p.m. eastern time. Poets Martha Collins, Laura Cronk, Rebecca Morgan Frank, Nathan McClain, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, and Elizabeth Lindsey Rogers will read for the COUPLET Reading Series at New York City’s storied KGB Bar.
And now for today’s prompt (optional, as always). One thing that makes me want to write poetry is reading poetry. Sometimes, reading another poet’s work gives me an idea or image. And sometimes I read a poem that I want to formally respond to – whether because I agree with it, or disagree with it, or just because it starts a conversation in my head that I want to continue on the page.
Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that responds, in some way, to another. This could be as simple as using a line or image from another poem as a jumping-off point, or it could be a more formal poetic response to the argument or ideas raised in another poem. You might use a favorite (or least favorite poem) as the source for your response. And if you’re having trouble finding a poem to respond to, here are a few that might help you generate ideas: “This World is Not Conclusion,” by Peter Gizzi, “In That Other Fantasy Where We Live Forever,” by Wanda Coleman, “La Chalupa, the Boat,” by Jean Valentine, or “Aubade: Some Peaches, After Storm,” by Carl Phillips.
Happy Thursday, everyone, and happy twenty-second day of Na/GloPoWriMo.
Our featured participant today is again, two participants. If you all would just stop writing such great poems, I could probably get myself back down to one. Oh well! First up, we have Connect/Hook, with a rollicking and silly response to the “double deed” prompt for Day 21, and My Musings Through Life, which brings us a softer, more haunting response.
Today, our featured reading is a pre-recorded one, which you can enjoy whenever you have the time. It’s the poet James Dickey (who despite having been the Poet Laureate of the United states, is probably best remembered for his novel, Deliverance, and the film it inspired), reading his poems for the Library of Congress back in 1960.
Finally, here’s our (optional) prompt for the day. It comes to us from Poets & Writers’ “The Time is Now” column, which provides weekly poetry prompts, as well as weekly fiction and creative non-fiction prompts.
In a prompt originally posted this past February, Poets & Writers directs us to an essay by Urvi Kumbhat on the use of mangoes in diasporic literature. As she discusses in her essay, mangoes have become a sort of shorthand or symbol that writers use to invoke an entire culture, country, or way of life. This has the beauty of simplicity – but also the problems of simplicity, in that you really can’t sum up a culture in a single image or item, and you risk cliché if you try.
But at the same time, the “staying power” of the mango underscores the strength of metonymy in poetry. Following Poets & Writers’ prompt, today I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that invokes a specific object as a symbol of a particular time, era, or place.
Hello, all, and welcome back for the third week of Na/GloPoWriMo!
As for today’s featured participant, well, I seem to be making a habit of having two featured daily participants, instead of just one. But that’s because you all are making it so difficult to choose! Today’s dynamic duo is Words with Ruth, where you’ll find a slightly jarring but very wonderfully observed sijo in response to our prompt for Day 20, and Smoke Words Every Day, which braids three sijo verses into a single poem.
And now for our (optional) prompt. Have you ever heard or read the nursery rhyme, “There was a man of double deed?” It’s quite creepy! A lot of its effectiveness can be traced back to how, after the first couplet, the lines all begin with the same two phrases (either “When the . . .” or “Twas like,”). The way that these phrases resolve gets more and more bizarre over the course of the poem, giving it a headlong, inevitable feeling.
Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that, like this one, uses lines that have a repetitive set-up. Here’s an example I came up with after seeing this video of . . . a bucket of owls.
Several owls can fill a bucket.
Several buckets can fill a wheelbarrow.
Several wheelbarrows can fill a truckbed.
Several truckbeds can fill a song.
Several songs can fill a head.
Several heads can fill a bucket.
Several buckets filled with heads and owls
Sing plaintive verse all night long.