Daily Archives: April 25, 2016

NaPoWriMo Day 5 – The Great Catch Up


I feel like a storm chaser!

Back in week 1, at the beginning of April this was what Day 5 had in store. It started with a timely reminder that Rome wasn’t built in a day… you are telling me, I have barely made it to the Lazio region.

NaPoWriMo has also had a naming update. GloPoWriMo – Global Poetry Writing Month.


Today’s featured participant is “this. and other poems,” with a rhyming November-themed haiku. November here seems both cruel and kind, with its sense of a fine balance between cold and light.

Our poet in translation for today is China’s Jiang Hao. Born in 1972, Jiang Hao is known for both the experimental nature of his work, and his incorporation of classical Chinese themes and forms. At the link above, you’ll find English translations of six of his poems, and his work also appears in the anthology New Cathay: Contemporary Chinese Poetry 1990-2012, available from Tupelo Press.


I get to revel in the mystery of what my poem might have been if I had written it 3 weeks ago. I am performing at an event tomorrow night that celebrates Shakespeare 400 and I have lost the sonnet I wrote especially for my set, so I needed new poetry and perhaps a lesson in how to take care and manage computer files, notebooks and paperwork!

The prompt was to think about seedlings, seeds, names of plants etc. We have (well by ‘we’ – I mean Mr G) have spent 3 years working on our garden, visiting garden centres and tending for our precious plants. My favourite was a fuchsia we bought because it was called ‘ Wedding Bells’.

Initially I thought I would look up some seed names and sprinkle them through earthy verse, then I realised I needed new material for tomorrow and so took a curve ball.

William Shakespeare’s plays reference flowers or use them as plot devices, so this was where I began.

Here is an extract;


Pansy of hurried thought

marked since Roman times,

…. flower juice consumes hearts,

divine purity falls to lust

chaotic disturbance

prized by some unsuspecting soul.



I wrote another poem using lifted / directly sourced quotes about flowers from his plays and weaved them together. Then I wrote a further two poems attempting Shakespearean language, followed by paralysing recollection of an A-Level exam on Antony & Cleopatra. I hope the audience will enjoy some of these tomorrow night.

shake getty images © Getty Images 2016



NaPoWriMo Day 4 Resources & Inspiration


Pretending that it isn’t the 25th April, here is Day 4 from NaPo.

News of a couple of resources that I have glanced over and hope to come back to later on in the year.

First, at the NPM Daily blog, you’ll find a new interview with a poet each day during April. Second, in addition to writing poems for NaPoWriMo, maybe you’d be interested in making a guerrilla poetry video. There is a Facebook events page – just type in National #Guerrillapoetrymonth and hit search. I have copied the information from this page.

ZFG Promotions, Sol Collective and Outside the Lines teamed up to celebrate this year with the return of the National (Guerrilla) Poetry Month video series. Originally started in Sacramento in 2014, National (Guerrilla) Poetry Month features videos of poets performing at surprise locations throughout the city. Tune in all month. There will be new releases every few days.

This is a challenge to poets around the world to create and share their own National (Guerrilla) Poetry Month videos!

1) Create an awesome guerrilla poetry video.
2) Post it on your social media outlets and use
3) Share it like crazy!

Contact ZFGpromotions{@}gmail.com for more information.

When I first embarked on Performance Poetry, back in the 90s in Leicester, I knew a couple of hard-core poets* who performed Guerrilla poetry and recently experienced it live at Ledbury Poetry Festival. Personally I have not got the time or the tech to join this challenge, but it may be of interest to some of you.

* Who rather like Base Jumpers skirted close to the law by choosing certain establishments, like Banks, to perform their Guerrilla poetry in!

ZFG promtions ZFG Promotions © 2016


Our featured participant today is Ileea, who is participating in NaPoWriMo from Sweden! Her poem for Day 3 is a fan letter to the author Donna Tartt. My Swedish is pretty rusty (well, actually, it’s nonexistent), but with the help of Google, I’ve discovered lines in Ileea’s poem that would be wonderful in any language, like “It took eleven pages for me to love you,” and “Beauty is fear.”

Today’s featured poet in translation is Vietnam’s Nguyen Do. Known for the musicality of his work, Nguyen considers his poems “somber,” but not necessarily “sad.” Cerise Press has made available dual-language versions of several of his poems. Nguyen is also heavily involved in translating other Vietnamese poets’ work into English, working with Paul Hoover to produce an English-language version of the selected poems of Nguyen Trai, and an anthology of contemporary Vietnamese poetry, Black Dog, Black Night.


The optional prompt today is writing about the cruellest month, which is hard. I appreciate time and love the whole year for many different reasons. I cannot even allocate a month to some of the major traumatic events in my life. I do not like to blacken time.

I realise the prompts are optional, but I enjoy the challenge. I decided to write about this March, where an early Easter saw me dip in writing time and I switched off and disconnected for a while.


An extract from ‘Empty Pages

‘heat drained from bones

body simmers for summer months

waits for chroma plied wings to open

and reveal

hopeful skies.’