Daily Archives: April 13, 2020

NaPoWriMo 2020 Day 13



Find the full post here

Participant for the day is Wiederholt Fallen, where Day 12’s triolet prompt resulted into a short-lined gem.

The poetry resource is the archives of The Found Poetry Review. During its five years of operation, this journal specialized in publishing poems that were found, rather than written. 

There’s a pithy phrase attributed to T.S. Eliot: “Good poets borrow; great poets steal.” (He actually said something a bit different. Our prompt, developed by Rachel McKibbens, who is well-known for her imaginative and inspiring prompts plays on the idea of stealing. Today, I challenge you to write a non-apology for the things you’ve stolen. 



Today I have written, I have a few scratch poems baking away but I was very late reading the NaPo prompt and by the time I came to the site I had read some example poems and worked out what the prompt was. I narrowly made the post on Day 13 – I got so sidetracked with the wonderful and abundant resources that I had no idea it was close to midnight! It’s hard to think of anything I’ve stolen except hearts and time. I want to give it some thought.

I started at the beginning with the participating site. I found the site/ scroll bar didn’t load well – but the internet is a little sketchy here tonight. This frustrated me before I got to read the triolet though.

A lot of us found this prompt hard because we tend to avoid rhyme and when we come to use it as technique to us generally non-rhyming poets feel our work lacks substance or depth, that the rhyme is weakly linked. A triolet only really has 5 lines if you don’t count the repeated lines. To make sure it is a good poem those repeated lines have to be strong and this poem I DID NOT KNOW does this with the 2nd (and 8th) line… I needed birdsong. Very apt in this locked down world we are trying to survive.

gold pen on journal book

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I read it over a few times before heading off to the poetry resource (which I remember discovering in the past) then I linked why – I unsuccessfully submitted for the Bowie Anthology ‘Bowietry’ they created. I enjoyed writing that sequence as much as I enjoy Bowie, so that rejection didn’t sting! Bowie of course famously used this ‘found’ method and it is one I have used and enjoyed both in workshops and at home. It is also a good way back in if you ever feel blocked.

never stop exploring signboard

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So then I had the NaPo diversion of staying in the FPR resources and will be revisiting for more reading – like many online and print magazines this one only lasted for 5 years, which is a shame as I have enjoyed the work they published.

I need to get back into submitting, but following my health year (bad health – but health year sounds better), I have only recently started to write like I used to and I am working on  several projects which I want to complete before I start fully focusing on something else. I should really spend some time looking for opportunities and let a few poems take flight. I am mid-promoting my recently published pamphlet but am not managing that well either. There are reviews I should be sharing and missed the annual cry out for please-vote-for-my-pamphlet Sabotage/ Saboteur Awards. It would have been worse to pressure cast on social media and not get enough support to be shortlisted. I have the feeling not enough people have read it yet to make an impact. I fully intend to make use of this new phase of our digital world to do something about this in the near future. See? NaPo tangents are major!

I then read the article Good Poets Borrow – I found Nancy Prager’s site fascinating and loved reading the evidence of what T. S Eliot actually said.

The good poet welds his theft into a whole of feeling which is unique, utterly different than that from which it is torn;

This part stays with me, I know a fair few poets who imitate another person whilst they learn their craft. I had been writing for 5 years before I attempted a pastiche and that was because the project I was working on called for it. This is not to judge or suggest it is wrong, in life we often copy people… it just isn’t something I have done as a poet/writer. I do read a lot and sometimes I am aware that you have to read your own work closely and ensure you haven’t lifted something you have read. Most famously for me, once at a stanza meeting, more than an echo of Emily Dickinson!

Out of interest I clicked the link to Eliot but know this poet well having studied The Waste Land for A-level. Had a revision/read.

I then checked out Twitter for Rachel McKibbens. Before considering today’s prompt. I started with mind mapping ideas for things I had stolen and tried free-writing in a non-apologetic style as a starting point before writing my poem. When I searched online I found this image in the library and it reminded me of all those times when I would sneak food out of the cake cupboard as a child. I added these stealth steals to my list!

bird beside container on the table

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I wrote several versions using different things I have stolen – most of them are abstract nouns but I like the idea of extending this into another persona/character and write their non-apologies for some major thefts too!