NaPoWriMo 2021 Day 21


Day Twenty-One Click here for the full post.

Today’s featured participants: Words with Ruth, where you’ll find a slightly jarring but very wonderfully observed sijo and Smoke Words Every Day, which braids three sijo verses into a single poem.

Our featured daily reading is a live event that will take place tomorrow, April 22, at 7 p.m. eastern. Poet Douglas Kearney giving the Bagley Wright Lecture at New York University.

Prompt: Have you ever heard or read the nursery rhyme, “There was a man of double deed?” It’s quite creepy! A lot of its effectiveness can be traced back to how, after the first couplet, the lines all begin with the same two phrases (either “When the . . .” or “Twas like,”). The way that these phrases resolve gets more and more bizarre over the course of the poem, giving it a headlong, inevitable feeling.

Prompt: write a poem that, like this one, uses lines that have a repetitive set-up. Here’s an example I came up with after seeing this video of . . . a bucket of owls.

Bucket List

Several owls can fill a bucket.

Several buckets can fill a wheelbarrow.

Several wheelbarrows can fill a truckbed.

Several truckbeds can fill a song.

Several songs can fill a head.

Several heads can fill a bucket.

Several buckets filled with heads and owls

Sing plaintive verse all night long.

Happy writing!

PROCESS NOTES and a long non-Napo ramble

WE ARE THREE WEEKS IN! Can you believe it? WOW.


Photo by Anna Shvets on

At this point NaPo to me is feels like refreshing lake water after a long trek. I am thoroughly ‘in’, often the first element on the TO DO LIST and this week I have made sure it is not an elongated task that stretches over days as I am busy and I know that would stress me out.

There are prompts/resources/days I plan to come back and revisit, dip back into – I tell myself this every year and post edit the NaPo docs hardly get a click, we’ll see this year.

I was looking something up yesterday and was horrified to discover 2019 was a year that holds only 2 folders. I accumulate over 40 usually! One was the manuscript which hit editing as I hit hospital, the other was a file of proof of all medical forms/notes etc. and the I had one other document file was NaPo – to be honest I don’t even remember doing it in 2019, I certainly never plan to edit on morphine again! My mind was idled from a body on medication and I didn’t make it to the desk until late summer/early Autumn. So who knows if these NaPo writes will see any light after May -probably – I usually submit several – there are quite a few Napo poems on my publication list.

Anyway this year the resources have been fabulous and I definitely plan to look again – perhaps I should copy some into the August Folder to make sure I follow up!

Photo by Breakingpic on

I started as always at the top with the featured poems. I really liked the first sijo – it lingered in my mind, echoing long after the read. The twist burns, it is brilliant. Just read it for yourself, masterful. I have added Words With Ruth to my Reader. WOW.

The 2nd featured poem is a string of sijos which explore metaphysics in a circular way. I liked the repeated images. Read it here. There is a lot of deepness explored here and a lot to read into. Capturing vastness and conveying it in such short form is fascinating.

No sooner had I read these poems than I fell down a Douglas Kearney size rabbit hole! Sadly I doubt I can make the event as I am elsewhere, but this is a poet I shall come back to. Incredible work. I have no time for holes today as I’m squeezing Napo in before a hospital appointment.

I had never read this Nursery Rhyme, creepy indeed – as with most nursery rhymes. I liked the idea of this prompt and the direction of Bucket List/ the owl poem. I love how Maureen Thorson is throwing in examples of her own work this year too!

I started with a poem I was not at all pleased with so drafted a 2nd one distilling the essence of the first and not only did it work with the repetition and an end pun but it also became a shape poem (concrete). Happy accident. All about lifting boxes (I started with what repetitive tasks could I think of).

No extract today because nothing makes sense without the other lines around it.


Photo by Tiger Lily on

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