Daily Archives: April 4, 2018

NaPoWriMo 2018 Day 4



Our featured participant today is Napowrimodreamingpath, where the list poem for Day 3 is an abecedarian confection of band names, followed by a second poem inspired by those names!

Today, we bring you a new craft resource, in the form of an essay by Julie Marie Wade on description in poetry. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I write up a first draft, and it is full of trees, and flowers, and skies – but there is no further specificity. What kind of trees? What kind of flowers? Are there clouds in the sky? Even if a poem has a lot of great ideas in it, a reader may find it hard to pay attention if the poems isn’t grounded in details about the real world.

Our craft resource today focuses on the use of concrete nouns and specific details, using the idea of “putting a dog in it.” Today, we challenge you to write a poem that is about something abstract – perhaps an ideal like “beauty” or “justice,” but which discusses or describes that abstraction in the form of relentlessly concrete nouns. Adjectives are fine too! For example, you could have a poem about sadness that describes that emotion as “a rowboat tethered with fishing line to a willow that leans over a pond. Rainwater collects in the bottom, and mosquito eggs.” Concrete details like those can draw the reader in and let them imagine the real world where your abstract ideal or feeling happens.

Happy writing!



5ab39dd423e2c-bpfull The Poetry School

Day 4: The Coupling

Karen McCarthy Woolf is not only one of our finest contemporary poets, but also a brilliant inventor of forms, and the ‘coupling’ is my personal favourite. This is how it’s done: first, find a passage of prose you like and lineate it in a way that feels meaningful, then interpose a line of your own after every line of prose, perhaps echoing the prose line with assonance or rhyme.

Here’s McCarthy Woolf’s own description of it from her latest collection, Seasonal Disturbances: “an interventionist, hybrid form…where a passage of pre-existing prose is lineated and a response line that includes assonance, repetition or rhyme is written underneath to create a lyric narrative”.

Remember to acknowledge your source material.


Today I chose to follow the Poetry School Prompt. All prompts are optional anyway, I like the challenge and the unusual poetry that comes from them.

Back in February I ran a Suffragette Workshop at The Hive, where they had an exhibition celebrating 100 Years since the first votes for Women.


I am currently compiling the anthology which will go live over at https://worcestershirepoetlaureateninalewis.wordpress.com/ later this month.

I decided that Karen McCarthy Woolf’s idea of ‘coupling’ worked well for one of the workshop prompts I created. I was lucky enough to hear Karen McCarthy Woolf at The Verve Festival and took her workshop back in February too.

I had great fun with this one. I managed to use all of the original text (with credit) and worked a story through it. I found it a bit of a challenge using prose and mixing in poetry, but the form of the text itself enabled line breaks. I am pleased with the resulting poem. The main character of which, is a woman who has been playing in the back of my mind for several months now. She has finally marinated!

Today’s poem actually came easier than some have so far.

With stale bread

and dried stoneless fruit,

we hope to soften father.