NaPoWriMo Day 12



Day 12

Our featured participant today is Tidbits by Shannon, where the “Bop” poem for Day 11 invites us to do the attractively unthinkable.

Today’s interviewee is Ocean Vuong, a Vietnamese-American poet raised in Hartford, Connecticut. His first book of poems, Night Sky With Exit Wounds, was published last year by Copper Canyon Press. Vuong’s poems incorporate uniquely startling images with a tight attention to sound. You can learn a little more about Vuong here and find examples of his poems here and here.

Today, I’d like you to write a poem that explicitly incorporates alliteration (the use of repeated consonant sounds) and assonance (the use of repeated vowel sounds). This doesn’t mean necessarily limiting yourself to a few consonants or vowels, although it could. Even relatively restrained alliteration and assonance can help tighten a poem, with the sounds reinforcing the sense. Need some examples. Here’s Gerard Manley Hopkins showcasing alliteration and assonance on overdrive. And here is a poem with a more restrained approach from Kevin Young.


I managed a very short poem and have promised myself time to come back to this page.

Carrie Etter’s prompt 12. Think of something you do every day, and tell someone else how to do it in step-by-step imperatives that provide close descriptive detail of the actions and any objects.

I wrote the obvious – brushing my teeth.

It ended up with a twist in the ending that turned the poem into something more than it was, which is pleasing.

Jo Bell explores Searchlight by Jim Carruth. A good discussion about making your ‘life’ poems relevant to the reader. A journey I went on with my own manuscript for Fragile Houses. It was never sentimental – I learnt how to avoid that through workshop advice and reading well established poets. But it was a long consideration making sure the poems worked beyond themselves.

It’s that act of generosity, of giving something to the reader as well as recounting his own experience, that makes a poem more than anecdote. – Jo Bell

The Poetry School 58d3e6b0bba6c-bpfull

Day 12: Word Association

Today’s prompt is less about form, and more about your imagination…

Let’s form the skeleton of a new poem using the favourite game of long car journeys. Write down the first word that comes into your head when you read each of the words below.


Now use your ten new words in your poem, one per line, in the order you have them. NB: Don’t use the above words in your poem – use the words you associated with them, e.g. not ‘fountain’, but ‘splash’ or ‘water’. If you don’t want to start with the words we’ve given you, open the closest book to you and pick the first word on every page from 50 to 60 and associate from that.

I love these types of playful poems. In light of following naponet and Carrie’s prompts I have not had time to write for or make use of the Poetry School yet this month. I do plan on revisiting all the prompts. I will just have to Stanza the poems for useful editing advice.


Napo gal 2

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