Daily Archives: April 1, 2022

NaPoWriMo 2022 ~ Day 1


April has arrived!

Time for the churning of poetry, have fun with it! Don’t add pressure to yourselves, just see if you can carve out a little time for yourselves every day this month.

The resources for the daily posts this year incorporate magazines, so if nothing else, do some extra poetry reading and exploring.

Are you ready?
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Prompt from NaPo

Our featured participant for the day is M. Jay Dixit.

… our featured online magazine is Sixth Finch. Founded in 2008, Sixth Finch publishes new issues quarterly. From their newest issue, I’ll point out Jose Hernandez Diaz’s poem “The Conformist,” and Nicole Callihan’s poem “On the Second Day of the Third Decade in the 21st Century,”.

… optional prompt! I got this one from a workshop I did last year with Beatrix Gates, and I’ve found it really helpful. The prompt is based on Robert Hass’s remarkable prose poem, “A Story About the Body.” The idea is to write your own prose poem that, whatever title you choose to give it, is a story about the body. The poem should contain an encounter between two people, some spoken language, and at least one crisp visual image.

© napowrimo.net

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I think the things I love the most about NaPo are: finding new poetry, new resources and delving depths/ research. I came to the prompt late (after a day at work) and those who follow the blog will know I rarely share more than a soundbite, instead I write about the process and try each year to get some of my Napo poems published.

I always work my way through the daily prompt posts chronologically. There are plenty of rabbit holes without missing out on some resources or pointers.

I started with the Guest Site and M. Jay Dixit’s ‘Forever Might Be Short’. I enjoyed pondering on the images and reading the sense of Emily in this poem.

Next I explored the magazine ‘Sixth Finch’. I read the suggested poems – and had a little explore. I loved Floating by Rachel J. Bennett.

Then I explored Beatrix Gates through her website and read some of her work before clicking back to the prompt video/poem. I have read Robert Hass before, but was not familiar with this poem. I also enjoyed reading the rest of the close reading analysis by Rhea Ramakrishnan, which brought me back to reading Tender Buttons.

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Then I started a 2nd Napo word doc. (on my not- a MacBook – laptop) with the prompt and a copy of ‘A Story About The Body’. I have been busy for the past 2 years writing a collection which centres on the body so whenever I get a body prompt I get excited that here may be a brand new and better poem to strengthen the manuscript further. I intended to submit it last year but it keeps growing!

I have always held an nonsensical fear of the prose poem, that was until I participated in a wonderful workshop last year with Jenny Wong and almost fell in love with the prose poem.

As you know, I’m writing about the broken body so my starting point was to find my object and I searched for hospital related ones and then remembered a friend who visited and brought some donuts with her. It seemed a greater juxtaposition (and perhaps challenge) to introduce a sprinkled pink iced donut into the arena of the poem!

My other poetry concern has always been the use of direct speech/dialogue in a poem. So tackling this 1st challenge would generally put me off doing NaPo, if I wasn’t such a hard-core fan of the process.

Change is growth and challenge is learning. So I gave myself the 1st of April to sit with ideas and came to the page today (2nd April).

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I started the freewrite and was a paragraph in before I realised I had only mentioned the body in passing and that was meant to be the central theme. So I refocused before going back to the splurge. Body, body, body.

Writing to this prompt was a powerful experience and considering an object and dialogue brought forward a new approach to my subject.

Working title: Bring the Joy

Reaction to process/Feelings: I like my end-line and feel the rest of the prose poem offers possibility. I think it will need a trimming in May. I know there is a fledging poem now which wouldn’t exist without this prompt.

Another leant me a 749 page book to see me through, it was a historical vampire novel, some of the nurses seemed to treat me differently after that appeared on top of my locker.

The poem is a meditation on friendships, visitors, hospital, incapacity, blurred memory and hope. Only a prose poem could pack all that in.

And my rabbit hole is here – which I found/read after I finished writing my poem.

NaPoWriMo 2022 – DAY 1 – Early Bird


Pens at the ready! This is no April Fools… poets around the world will be creating 30 new poems this month and they start TODAY!

Later on today I will share the first prompt of NaPoWriMo, until then here’s the Early Bird Prompt from yesterday (31/3/22)

Click here for the FULL prompt.

a special early-bird prompt, based on the poetry of Emily Dickinson.

Emily Dickinson Museum

Dickinson is known for her elliptical style, unusual word choices, and mordant sense of humor. Over the past year, I’ve experimented with writing poems based on, or responding to, various lines from her poems. Today, I’d like to challenge you to do the same! Here are a few lines of Dickinson’s that might appeal to you (the slashes indicate line breaks):

  • “Forever might be short”
  • “The absence of the Witch does not / Invalidate the spell”
  • “If to be ‘Elder’ – mean most pain – / I’m old enough, today”
  • “The second half of joy / Is shorter than the first”
  • “To be a Flower, is profound / Responsibility –

Dickinson is one of my personal favourites, last year I was gifted several amazing books of her verse and spent a lot of Lockdown with the Emily Dickinson Museum. I am looking forward to carving out a little time to try this prompt.

I delved into The Gorgeous Nothings and read lots of Emily Dickinson’s poems online before choosing my approach poem.

In the end I settled on this poem from 1861:

There’s a certain Slant of light,

Winter Afternoons –

That oppresses, like the Heft

Of Cathedral Tunes –

Heavenly Hurt, it gives us –

We can find no scar,

But internal difference –

Where the Meanings, are –

None may teach it – Any –

’Tis the seal Despair –

An imperial affliction

Sent us of the Air –

When it comes, the Landscape listens –

Shadows – hold their breath –

When it goes, ’tis like the Distance

On the look of Death –

Choosing just one line to start from was my next challenge!

Heavenly Hurt, it gives us –

From here I jumped into a word document, I know that longhand freewriting would give different results, I went back to the practice of notebooks at the start of Lockdown 2020. But I have also found from keeping Napo journals in the past, I am more likely to treat, polish and edit a poem which already exists digitally.

I used to be like Emily and write on the back of envelopes, beermats, napkins, receipts – whatever was available, I have a small collection of teenage angsty scribbles in a box somewhere – but those non-cataloguing days are over!

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One small downside was I had marked a community workshop (US) in my diary at 10pm and was so lost in the wonderful world of light and faith that I missed the first 30 mins and couldn’t get in! The irony of missing a workshop where I could have penned 3 or 4 beginnings to only one poem is not lost. However, think this was the universe intervening – there is a lot going on in my world right now and after another almost full week of work, I am mentally (and physically) exhausted!

I wrote a very personal poem which has a need for each line so quoting one line won’t really translate.

I kept the stanza short – tercets (as a nod to Emily), and continued to write it until it reached a natural end. It is longer than I expect it will be. I edit from May – so now it is ready to rest in the NaPo 2022 file.

I had fun completing this prompt.

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NaPoWriMo Nina’s Challenge #Day 1


Everyday throughout April I am posting an image for you to use as a writing prompt. Feel free to post links to the resulting work in the comments.

Please be aware by sharing your work digitally, it is considered published and may prevent you from submitting it to journals and anthologies.

Day #1

© Chris Pagan