NaPoWriMo 2018 Day 27



I have fallen behind at the tail end of NaPoWriMo, not surprisingly as I have had festival appearances, events and a Book Launch over the past 3 days.

Attempting to catch up but also have submission deadlines so may end NaPo in May.

Hello all, and welcome back for Day Twenty-Seven of Na/GloPoWriMo.

Our featured participant today is Real Momma Ramblings, where getting breakfast on the table takes all five senses and strong nerves to boot.

Today we have a new interview for you, with Lauren Hunter, whose first book of poetry, HUMAN ACHIEVEMENTS, was published last year by Birds LLC. You can read some of Hunter’s poetry here and here, and you can check out our interview with her here.

And now for today’s (optional) prompt. Following Lauren Hunter’s practice of relying on tarot cards to generate ideas for poems, we challenge you to pick a card (any card) from this online guide to the tarot, and then to write a poem inspired either by the card or by the images or ideas that are associated with it.


I read this prompt before work on the day it was posted. I spent the hours in between work preparing and rehearsing my set for Bohemian Voices (which was a lovely event, I will write a review soon).

Last year I started to look into fortune telling as research for a sequence of poems, one of which won me the Poet Laureateship of Worcestershire and apparently wowed all 5 judges. I look forward to writing a poem for this prompt, I explored the website and picked my card, I only looked at 2. The ideas have been bouncing around the back of my head as I was out on the road going to gigs (helped that the motorway had a 30 mph restriction)! Gave me more thinking time.

I chose ‘The Star’ and wrote about the figure on the card.

…                              the star
shines with unveiled truth

5ab39dd423e2c-bpfull The Poetry School Day 27

Day 27: Blank Verse

Blank verse – unrhymed iambic pentameter – is the living history of modern English poetry. It is Shakespeare, Milton and Tennyson, and even if you never use it again, you should give it a go, as learning to write it will help you read (and hear) them. It sounds like this (stresses in bold and feet marked with | ):

The woods | decay, | the woods | decay | and fall, 
The va | pours weep | their bur | then to | the ground, 
Man comes | and tills | the field | and lies | beneath

That’s Tennyson’s ‘Tithonus’, by the way. Note that it doesn’t have to be perfect. Here’s the next line, which has an extra syllable:

And af  |  ter ma | ny a | sum mer | dies the | swan. 

Iambic pentameter should be the basic pulse, though, and try to stick to five beats a line. 

To get the feel of it, I suggest you pick any section of Milton’s Paradise Lost — I like the beginning of Book II: 

High on a throne of royal state, which far
Outshone the wealth of Ormus and of Ind,
Or where the gorgeous east with richest hand
Showers on her kings barbaric pearl and gold,
Satan exalted sat, by merit raised
To that bad eminence; and, from despair
Thus high uplifted beyond hope, aspires
Beyond thus high, insatiate to pursue
Vain war with Heaven….

Your example poem today is ‘Mending Wall’ by Robert Frost (you’ll have to scroll down a bit). The version given here has been marked with the stresses (though you may, of course, scan it differently), and there’s an audio recording of Frost to help you with the rhythm. 

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