Category Archives: awritersfountain


NaPoWriMo 2019 Day 17



I hope NaPoWriMo is going well for you.

It is around this time that people tend to fall behind. Writing for 2 weeks is doable – a month feels impossible to achieve… don’t believe that! We are over halfway and if you skip a day or miss a day you have 2 choices – either catch up (how many times have you written more than 1 poem in a day?) or skip that day and carry on… let’s have no talk of giving up! You can rest in May… or edit.


As always for the full post, click the day.

Day Seventeen

Today’s featured participant is Unassorted stories, where the list poem for Day Sixteen doubles back on itself in intriguing ways.

Our featured video resource for Day 17 is this recording of the poet Lily Myers reciting/performing her poem “Shrinking Women.” As you’ll see, this recording has been viewed more than 5 million times. Wow! One thing that the popularity of this video underscores, given the subject matter of the poem, is that poetry can help us to talk about uncomfortable aspects of our lives. In writing poems, we can examine these aspects of our lives and feelings, and in sharing our poems, we can realize that we are not alone in feeling them.

And now for our prompt. As long as we are on uncovering or embodying feelings that may not be commonly presented, I’d like to share this poem by Sharon Olds, who I think of as sort of a Master (or Mistress, I suppose) of discomfiting the reader. This poem is beautiful in its focus on detail, its word choice, and it has an earthy, witchy slyness to it. It reverses what we might think of as the “usual” relationship between the sexes in a disorienting way, with the woman as the appraising watcher, and the man as the vulnerable and innocent party.

Today, I’d like you to challenge you to write a poem that similarly presents a scene from an unusual point of view. Perhaps you could write a poem that presents Sir Isaac Newton’s discovery from the perspective of the apple. Or the shootout at the OK Corral from the viewpoint of a passing vulture. Or maybe it could be something as everyday as a rainstorm, as experienced by a raindrop.

Happy writing!



NaPo Process Notes

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I started with the participant’s site – which was already on my Reader. Angela’s poem ‘Plans for tonight’ has interesting ideas and I thought it was clever how she manipulated the list in repetition.

I know Button Poetry, some poets who feature and Lily Myers’ work. I watched the video.


Some powerful lines.

I read Sharon Olds poem The Connoisseuse of Slugs and it left lots of imagery in my head. I may struggle with today’s prompt with all that in my mind.


On Writing 

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The first consideration is the who and what of viewpoint. I imagined I would write a list and then go off to do the other things I need to do, knowing that one of the ideas would last the duration of offline activity and this would be the subject I’d choose to write about for today’s prompt.

What I actually did once I returned to the computer was… search for famous females, then look at famous artists, then myths, urban myths, film props, famous moustaches and then in the end scout online writing prompts for one with a different perspective/point of view. Maybe it is because it is late, I am tired and working on several other tasks. I bet tomorrow I will come up with some ideas for this prompt – I will be sure to note them down for future writing.

From the ideas page I choose to research famous letters and found the great story of Denis Cox, an Australian schoolboy who was so concerned about his country falling behind in the space race that he sent ‘a top scientist’ some plans for a rocket, he drew them on a postcard which he posted in 1957. The mail arrived in 2009. I had already decided to write from the p.o.v of the postcard before I discovered it had been lost for 52 years!

It’s amazing what NaPoWriMo does!

I will post a snippet soon… I promise not to take 52 years! I actually plan to write a sequence of poems and have my notes ready for post-NaPo.

Here is that snippet from the first poem called Space Race.

A scratchy ink pen dug into my pulp,

I felt the secret shape game.


NaPoWriMo 2019 Day 16



You are more than halfway there!

logo-napowrimo As always, for the full post click the day.

Day Sixteen

Today’s featured participant is Katie Staten, who turned our dramatic prompt for Day Fifteen into an afterlife dialogue between Georgia O’Keefe and Sigmund Freud!

Our video resource for the day is this lovely animation of Lucy English’s poem, “Things I Found in the Hedge.” One wonderful thing I’ve learned in researching our videos for the month is that poetry seems very often to inspire filmmakers, painters, and musicians, just as movies, art, and music inspire poets. Art likes to make more of itself!

Today’s prompt takes its inspirations from Christopher Smart’s “Jubilate Agno.” Fundamentally, this is a poem about a cat. It’s also a structurally very straightforward poem – every line begins the same way, and is about some aspect of the cat at issue. But from these seemingly simple ingredients, Smart constructs a poem that is luminously, joyously weird. Just as English’s poem listing things found in a hedge renders the familiar strange by making us focus on each, individual item in the hedge, Smart makes a humble housecat seem like the most wondrous thing in the world. Today, I challenge you to write a poem that uses the form of a list to defamiliarize the mundane.

Happy writing!



NaPo Process Notes


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I always get a little excited when I see a poet known to me featured in NaPoWriMo. I also like it when I read a prompt and instantly feel it is manageable, which considering I have just caught up with Day 15 and have written about the tragedy that befell Paris last night, I feel I need something lighter to get stuck into. Defamiliarizing the mundane – perfect.

I started with the participant’s site, what a wonderful idea Katie Staten had –an afterlife dialogue between Georgia O’Keefe and Sigmund Freud, a poem I can imagine before I read it!

I just love the title…

The Ghosts of Georgia O’Keeffe and Sigmund Freud Meet in New Mexico

It is a fine example of a Dramatic monologue and there are many lines that jump out at me.

No, I didn’t come here to talk about painting,
though I’d paint if I could.
I’d capture how the faraway horizon steals your words.

Beautiful. Thought provoking and the 2nd poem to make it to my resource document. I re-read it several times. Feeding off Staten’s words.

I then spent some time exploring the blog and reading other NaPo poems, I particularly like Bitextual – from Day 14. Very clever. I could have stayed longer, but needed to work through NaPo as I have more medical appointments later and am time poor. Katie’s blog is now on my Reader, so I can go back and indulge.

I was excited to watch the Lucy English animation. “Things I Found in the Hedge”
Kathryn L. Darnell (director, animation), Lucy English (writer, voice).

Watching this was a glorious experience and it is no surprise it won First Prize in Atticus Review’s Inaugural Videopoem Contest, 2018.

I am a fan of Lucy English’s work and this poem is a wonder. I felt like I didn’t want to come back out – like you do after a deep meditation. I spent some time just being.

I am surrounded by a world where art inspires poetry and poetry inspires art. Happy to be part of the movement.

I pulled myself back into the prompt and had a look at Christopher Smart’s poem from Jubilate Agno.

It is a long poem. You can listen to it here.

Jubilate Agno (Latin: “Rejoice in the Lamb”) is a religious poem by Christopher Smart, and was written between 1759 and 1763, during Smart’s confinement for insanity in St. Luke’s Hospital, Bethnal Green, London. The poem was first published in 1939, under the title Rejoice in the Lamb: A Song from Bedlam, edited by W. F. Stead from Smart’s manuscript, which Stead had discovered in a private library. – Wikipedia.

I am now going to take the prompt write a poem that uses the form of a list to defamiliarize the mundane and have a think, let it settle. I may end up writing about physio!


On Writing 

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I knew that I was going to use my Physiotherapy session as a basis, I originally thought I would list it and I may return to this after NaPo and do just that. It became a bit more than a list poem but within it actions were listed in chronological order.

I have already had 4 months of Physio and have now re-started since a re-referral, it takes a few weeks to work back through the system and everything has to be reassessed. It is certainly mundane after all these sessions. The poem is called Endfeel – which is what my physio is assessing constantly. Here’s a snippet.

She taps the laptop keys rapidly,

gives me her listening eye occasionally.


NaPoWriMo 2019 Day 15



Yesterday our internet was down and I was unable to post a full version of NaPoWriMo. So here we are a day behind. Proving that it is okay to fall behind. The 15th marked the HALFWAY point of NaPoWriMo, it seems to be disappearing swiftly this year.

logo-napowrimo As always, for the full version of the prompt, click on the day.

Day Fifteen

Our featured participant today is like mercury colliding, where the homophone/homonym/homograph prompt resulted in a rollicking adventure in doubled spellings, meanings and sounds. 

Today’s video poetry resource is this tutorial on how to read a poem out loud – really, how to perform it, as if it were a monologue in a play. 

Our prompt for today, takes its inspiration from the idea of a poem as a sort of tiny play, which can be performed dramatically. In the 1800s, there was quite a fad for monologue-style poems that lend themselves extremely well to dramatic interpretations Robert Browning’s jam. And Shakespeare’s plays are chock-a-block with them. Today, I’d like to challenge you to write your own dramatic monologue. Try to create a sort of specific voice or character that can act as the “speaker” of your poem, and that could be acted by someone reciting the poem.


NaPo Process Notes

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The example poem from yesterday’s prompt is wonderful. It must have been an exhausting write, it is a fairly exhausting (in a good way) read. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Kat Myrman talks about how hard it was to write this poem. ‘Painful but worth it.’ And that is how a lot of NaPoWriMo poetry can feel as it is forced into existence or as we tackle techniques which are not familiar to us. It is the worth it bit we need to keep hold of! I had a little look around the blog.

Top 5 tips for performing poetry, presented by writer and speaker Renee M. LaTulippe. DOING POETRY RIGHT

Top 5 Tips for Poetry Performance

1. Score Your Poem

2. Find Your Pace

3. Use Good Diction

4. Use Natural Movement

5. Be Natural and Have Fun

Renée LaTulippe is a former English/theater/public speaking teacher. She is now a children’s writer who composes poems for her video blog, No Water River, where she also features videos of renowned children’s poets reading their own work. 

The readings are still (overly) dramatic but some good tips to novice performers or poets who do not feel comfortable reading publicly.

The Dramatic monologue has been in the past few years a popular source of Spoken Word on the Midlands scene. Fuelled by University Creative Writing Courses focusing on such genres. I have only written them as part of workshop but am used to the dramatic form.

I had a look at the given examples, I listened to My Last Duchess – Robert Browning and watched the next video link Hamlet – To Be Or Not To Be soliloquy – Shakespeare.

Laurence Olivier’s wonderful 1948 film, with music by Sir William Walton.

Fully feasted on Dramatic monologues I am off to write one myself. I will post a snippet later.


On Writing

person holding blue ballpoint pen writing in notebook

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I started by reading a few other examples of Dramatic monologues. I have linked them here.

Killing Floor BY AI

The Poetry Foundation describe this form simply as; A poem in which an imagined speaker addresses a silent listener, usually not the reader.

I wanted to write about Notre Dame. Last night our internet was down, but the news came from a text message from my family and I was able to get updates on my phone. It is tragic and sad, we are happy we got to see the Cathedral for ourselves, but the footage I have seen since, the streets of Paris filled, the bells of other churches ringing in lament, the president organising fundraising to repair, firefighters being injured. Historic monument, burning.

My next stage was to remind myself of some of the footage and news I read on a tiny screen and then, nothing for it but to get writing, one of the 100,000s of poems to be written about it I am sure.

There are 10 stanzas and the poem is simply called Notre Dame 2019. I presume this will remain significant and meaningful for decades/centuries to come. It is written from the point of view of a bystander.


We pledge soundless prayers to the skies above the smoke.





NaPoWriMo 2019 Day 14


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What? Two weeks of poetry writing… already! Here’s to the next fortnight. You are halfway there!

logo-napowrimo As always for the full post, click on the day.

Day Fourteen

Today marks the two-week point of Na/GloPoWriMo. We hope you are all feeling the power of poetry!

Today’s featured participant is ARHtistic License, where the “spooky” prompt for Day Thirteen resulted in a poem that revels in the magic of the imagination.

Our video resource for the day is this recording of Taylor Mali reciting/performing his poem “The The Impotence of Proofreading.”

Our prompt for the day takes its inspiration from Mali’s poem. As he shows us, there many words in English that sound like other words. For that matter, English has lots of words that look like other words, Today, we’d like to challenge you to write a poem that incorporates homophones, homographs, and homonyms, or otherwise makes productive use of English’s ridiculously complex spelling rules and opportunities for mis-hearings and mis-readings.


Napo Process Notes

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I started reading What If – the featured poem by Andrea R Huelsenbeck. Some lovely ideas and a warm feeling poem; What if you added glitter to brown paint? Could you paint a mud puddle reflecting the light of the sun? ©ARHuelsenbeck

The I watched this video. Magic! Funny.

Taylor Mali certainly inspires today’s challenge.

On Writing 

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I know this challenge is harder than it looks. My starting point was to gather a list of homophones & homographs. From working with this list I am hoping a poem will emerge.

I worked my way down the list creating the poem as it came. Free write. It is about an incredibly random driving lesson which involved tee and cake. It is a 13 line poem called SEADI* because I thought taking a student for tee and cake part way through a lesson was rather seedy! This title also made me change the characters from a driving instructor and pupil to a Potential Driving Instructor and Examiner.

* SEADI – Supervising Examiner for Approved Driving Instructors. This term is no longer used, it was replaced by DTAM in 2010.

… sew he headed back to the car

until I was ready to dip my tow in again.


NaPoWriMo 2019 Day 13


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Today I have delved into the AWF NaPoWriMo archives for a quick read. I have participated in NaPoWriMo since I came back to writing in 2013, (which was also the year Maureen started the dedicated website). Some of the NaPo poems from 2013-15 are lost on an old laptop, which is sad and a lesson in backing up.

Today’s prompt is about the beliefs held around the number 13. Number 13 is Mr. G’s favourite number, his birthday and also the number of his theatre seat last night!

logo-napowrimo As always for the full post, click the day.

Day Thirteen

Our featured participant today is Manja Mexi Moving, where the dull/precious thing prompt for Day Twelve gave rise to a sly and supple poem.

Today’s poetry-related video, in honor of the supposed unluckiness and general spookiness of the number 13, features Jack Prelutsky’s poem “The Witch.” 

Our prompt for the day takes its cue from Prelutsky’s poem, as well as this poem by Dean Young, called “Belief in Magic.” Today, we’d like to challenge you to write a poem about something mysterious and spooky!

NaPo Process Notes 



I read Manja Mexi Movie’s poem Significantly drab and explored her website.

Then I watched the resource video

and read Belief in Magic by Dean Young.

Sometimes exploring the resources brings other writing/research elements to the preparation process. Today, I have just followed the pre-prompt instructions. Sometimes reading poetry brings a full mind and other times just an acceptance. I think my brain is tired and overloaded (with things other than poetry).

On Writing 

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I knew I wanted to write mysterious. This week there was lots of coverage about Black Holes. It is fascinating. Here starts the research.

Katie Bouman developed the algorithm which has made it possible for us to see the first image of a black hole (2019).

The black hole, which is “unseeable” to the naked eye, measures 40 billion km across, or three million times the size of the Earth

I watched the TED talk, knowing two years later we have seen this image of a black hole. Parts which fascinated me include;

How small can we see?/ We would need a telescope the size of the Earth./

I read these articles BBC Katie Bouman: The woman behind the first black hole image. Which include video footage and it was the 2nd video – the one showing the first images of a black hole which I used as a starting point for my writing.

I envisaged writing about the science, or Katie Bouman, but after watching this I settled on using found text.

I couldn’t find a transcript so spent a while replaying the video whilst typing text. From this I played. Starting with an erasure/black out (seems appropriate) form. Most of the narration comes from Prof. Heino Falcke.

My original poem was 3 stanzas long – it was then condensed to one and I also rearranged the order of certain lines, to work better as a poem. The entire poem is only 6 lines long, so my snippet is just 1 line/quote – a great one for mysterious/spooky. I could definitely freewrite from this given line. It is called Black Out.


In the shadow where light disappears





NaPoWriMo 2019 Day 12



Keep writing those lines.

As always click the day for the full post.


Day Twelve

Our featured participant today is Napowrimo ’19, where the origin poem for Day Eleven is a moving ode to horses, and to the power of reading.

Today’s video resource is this short film called What Makes a Poem a Poem? … This film assures us that whatever poetry may be, writing a poem is an essentially human act.

Today’s prompt is based on a dream that the poet Natalie Eilbert had. In the dream, she was taking a poetry workshop in which each student had to bring in two objects from home – one significant and one dull. The students then had to give away or destroy the significant object, and write a poem about loving the dull thing. Today, we’d like to challenge you to write a poem about a dull thing that you own, and why (and how) you love it. Alternatively, what would it mean to you to give away or destroy a significant object?

NaPo Process Notes 
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Photo by Leah Kelley on

I started with the featured participant. There are some beautiful lines and a definite sense of where they have come from in Ashley’s poem Ode To My Love for Horses.

The video is an interesting watch (I can’t get the video to embed – but follow the link above). This question has come up before in editing groups and workshops.

For a fun extra poetry prompt you could write a list poem with all your answers to this question.

Natalie’s dream sounds terrifying. Last year during the Adam Speaks project with some Room 204 writers and The National Trust/Croome Court. Artist, Chris Alton, asked us to take 2 objects to the workshop – fortunately none of them were destroyed.


On Writing  

black vintage typewriter

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Write a poem about a dull thing that you own, and why (and how) you love it. Alternatively, what would it mean to you to give away or destroy a significant object?

I am not sure which direction I will follow and may not squeeze a poem out in the next 45 minutes… but I will be back to post a snippet of whatever comes my way…

So, my main issue was ‘DULL’ – I have worked for years governing a hoard of beautiful things and I just couldn’t cast my eye or mind over anything dull… except for the room itself.

I wrote about the architecture/historical reference points and then the feeling the room gives me (the love). I did not attempt to write about significant objects being given or destroyed. I will bank that secondary prompt idea for another time.

This poem definitely needs work (no editing during NaPo) and some lines run long – but the scent is right and the essence is there. It is 5 stanzas long. I called it Riddle. It was called Conceal. Here’s a snippet from the 5 stanzas.

… there is beauty caught in underexposure




NaPoWriMo 2019 Day 11



11 days of writing poems, how do you feel?

If you are feeling a little exhausted or overwhelmed here are some tips.


  • Think about how wonderful it is to discover new to you poets through the NaPo prompts.


  • Go and re-read your favourite example poem so far (unless it is a sad one, which may make you feel worse and have the adverse effect)!


  • Recall the good feelings NaPoWriMo has given you so far, write them on a Post-it, stick the note to your desk… read it!


  • Take a break – but DO come back!


Now take a deep breath and dive into Day 11!


As always for the full post, click on the day.

Day Eleven

Today, our featured participant is sandee woodside, where the regional weather is . . . menacing.

Our video resource for today is this animated version of Safia Elhillo’s “To Make Use of Water,” a poem intimately concerned with translation, both in the sense of moving between languages, but also in the sense of moving between places and feelings, of having two homes and none.

Our prompt is based on another poem of Elhillo’s, called “Origin Stories.” Like “To Make Use of Water,” this poem struggles to make sense of the distance between the poet’s beginnings, her point of origin, and her present self. Have you ever heard the phrase, “you can’t go home again?” This poem is about that.

Today, taking a leaf from Elhillo’s work, we’d like to challenge you to write a poem of origin. Where are you from? Not just geographically, but emotionally, physically, spiritually? Maybe you are from Vikings and the sea and diet coke and angry gulls in parking lots. Maybe you are from gentle hills and angry mothers and dust disappearing down an unpaved road. And having come from there, where are you now?

Happy (or at the very least, emotionally engaged) writing!

NaPo Process Notes

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I started with reading Sandee Woodside’s poem ‘could fry an egg on the cement it’s so caliente’. There is a lot of content in this striking narrative poem. A LOT! I could get lost in it, it feels a little as if I am standing in a maze as I read it. Overwhelming to a point being uncomfortable. A fine piece of writing.

Her MA has a focus on Cognitive Poetics and trauma narratives’ and this poem is certainly an example of a trauma narrative.

I had a good look around Sandee’s website – you can find more of her poems/news and videos here

Next I watched the animation.


Very powerful. In fact at this point I am wondering if I am emotionally stable enough to cope with today’s NaPoWriMo. I remind myself to breathe. Lines repeat themselves in my head, linger – the white water.

I then watched the video interview.



Then I listened to Origin Stories by Safia Elhillo and saved it to my NaPo resource file.


my grandmother tells me to shred dill
by hand     she means to teach me patience            she calls it length of mind


It is a beautiful, complex poem.

Every weekday, U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith delivers a different way to see the world – through poetry. Produced in partnership with the Library of Congress and the Poetry Foundation.

creative commons girl-writing-full daniel sandoval,

On Writing 

… write a poem of origin. Where are you from? … And having come from there, where are you now?

I have written to this prompt before. I am open to doing it again as years have gone by and my end-point is certainly different.

I am going to let the starting point come to me.

I wrote a poem with 5 stanzas, then I decided to use tercets, so it is now 11 stanzas long. It started at a point of illness and ends with nearly finding recovery. The poem will need some shifting/editing – I think there are too many ideas piled in one poem. It may spawn into several poems in the future. It has a working title Modelled Reality, which is a link back to one of the professions mentioned in the poem.

As always, a snippet.


Pausing before the next chapter

to hear the silence convalesce.

NaPoWriMo 2019 Day 10



Ten days of writing poems, magic!

Today you are a third of the way through NaPoWriMo. As always for the full prompt, click on the Day.


Day Ten

Today’s featured participant is Small Burdens, where Day Nine’s Sei Shonagons-style prompt resulted in two lovely lists of “Things That Pull Asunder” and Things That Bind.”

Our video resource for today is this recording of Randy Rieman reading a poem at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering. His rendition of this S. Omar Barker poem, which is awash in regional and dialect phrasing.

Our prompt for the day, is also rooted in dialect and regional phrasing. In her poem “Sunshower,” Natalie Shapero finds inspiration in a rather colorful phrase used in Mississippi and Alabama to describe the situation in which it rains while the sun is shining.

Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that starts from a regional phrase, particularly one to describe a weather phenomenon. These regional U.S. phrases used to describe warm weather will inspire you. Or you might enjoy these French terms for cold weather, or even these expressions from the British Isles that are mostly for the very British phenomenon of rain.


NaPo Process Notes


I read “Things That Pull Asunder” and Things That Bind.” A. Cele has definitely emulated the style of Sei Shōnagon in her two poems. I had a quick look around the website.

I then watched Purt Near by S. Omar Barker (from his 1954 book, “Songs of the Saddlemen”) being performed by Randy Reiman at the 28th National Cowboy Poetry Gathering.



Barker was one of the founders of the Western Writers of America, Inc. and many of his poems were published by Western Horseman. ©

I thoroughly enjoyed the humour in this poem and discovering a whole new world!

Next, I read ‘Sunshower’ by Natalie Shapero. Again there is an audio version, I listened to it a second time before exploring the 3 links to weather language, some terms were familiar to me and others, not. I loved the American listings and searched the web to find some UK sites. I discovered Starkey Comics. There is a great list here – 100 Words for Rain.

I chose a regional one as a starting point for writing my poem.


On Writing 

creative common writing

I started by gathering words made only from the letters in my chosen weather phrase. I had in mind to write a Beau Present, but I made the mistake of not extracting repeated letters, so even in the list of 6 words I gathered as starters, they may not have been true to form. Traditionally they are written to honour a person and should start with the name of someone.

They are also hard to write in a sensical way and I am suffering early-morning-brain and just used all my energy to evict a very docile but light-bulb obsessed wasp! So instead I decided to incorporate my 6 words into the poem.

I started with ‘It’s plothering down’ – which is a Midlands term for raining. The words I incorporated were:







I wrote a short 3 stanza poem called Dreich, which is a Scottish term for rain. My favourite description in the poem is ‘thistledown rain’, I knew that thistledown described the feathery white hairs attached to the seed of the plant and imagined these as raindrops. The thistle is the National Flower/emblem of Scotland, hence the title.

It’s plothering down,

no shielding this town

from thistledown rain.

I enjoyed writing this short poem, on reading it I am drawn to the rhythm, a rainstorm is always an auditory experience for me. Listening to the rain…



NaPoWriMo 2019 Day 9




  • If you are falling behind – do NOT worry.
  • Do NOT put pressure on yourself to;

a) complete a poem

b) write an amazing poem

  • On one of the days you have truly enjoyed, write a few sentences reflecting this and save it in your NaPo doc. file – or post it on your website. Then when you find yourself dipping, go back and read it and carry on.


As always to read the whole post click the Day to visit the main site.

Day Nine

Today, our featured participant is MD Kerr, where the business jargon for Day Eight produced a hallucinatory excursion into the language of companies advertising specialty tile. We know how exciting that sounds, but trust us.

Our video for the day is this BBC film of a poem called “The British.” When the sun never sets on your empire, you wind up with a lot of varied cuisine! Keep your eyes peeled for the cameo by a Roman centurion. Perhaps he’s going to check on Hadrian’s Wall?

Our prompt for the day asks you to engage in another kind of cross-cultural exercise, as it is inspired by the work of Sei Shonagon, a Japanese writer who lived more than 1000 years ago. She wrote a journal that came to be known as The Pillow Book. In it she recorded daily observations, court gossip, poems, aphorisms, and musings, including lists with titles like “Things That Have Lost Their Power,” “Adorable Things,” and “Things That Make Your Heart Beat Faster.” Today, I’d like to challenge you to write your own Sei Shonagon-style list of “things.” What things? Well, that’s for you to decide!

Happy writing!

NaPo Process Notes


I read the poem I THINK I’VE GOT IT ALREADY, THANKS from the participants site. I really enjoyed reading M D Kerr’s poem and also liked the website. I don’t often save the participant poems to my resources, but today there has been a copy & paste.

It made me realise with the ‘good bones’ of Maggie Smith’s poem and the ‘dream home’ here, that yesterday another (non-NaPo related) activity I was doing online was watching videos of abandoned homes. I like the parallel that M D Kerr managed and the generous gifting of words freeforpoets_badge-red on this particular website. You can also listen to her NaPo poems on Soundcloud.


I then watched The British.

I then read about the Japanese writer Sei Shōnagon, I love the idea of The Pillow Book// Makura No Sōshi.

On Writing 

I am off to think about my own list of things.

Well so I thought… what I actually did is re-read the PDF of The Pillow Book and chose a title – Things That Have Lost Their Power, in my head I was about to write more than a list, I was going to elaborate.

Then this very short poem wrote itself.

Things That Have Lost Their Power


Catholic guilt,

daily showers,

never swallowing gum.


NaPoWriMo 2019 Day 8


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Are you ready for the 2nd week?

Let’s do this!


As always to read the full post, click on the day.

Day Eight

Our featured participant today is Poem Dive, where Day Eight’s prompt of gifts and joy is full of sensory detail. I can feel the sunlight!

Our video resource today is this short film version of Maggie Smith’s poem, “Good Bones.” It went “viral” in 2016, as recounted in this article from The Washington Post. The reception of “Good Bones” is a potent reminder that poetry is a vibrant method for understanding the world, and understanding what we want from it, and from each other.

Our prompt for the day, is inspired by Smith’s poem. You may have noted that the central metaphor of “Good Bones” turns on a phrase used by real estate agents. Today, I’d like to challenge you to think about the argot of a particular job or profession, and see how you can incorporate it into a metaphor that governs or drives your poem. This rather astonishing list of professional slang terms might help you get into the mood. Or, if you work a white-collar job, perhaps you can take inspiration from one of the business jargon phrases that seem to predominate in corporate environments.

Happy writing!

NaPo Process Notes

people coffee meeting team

Photo by Startup Stock Photos on

I followed the order of the post, starting with the participant’s site. A full poem considering it was written about nothing at all. Very different to the one I produced yesterday which was very deeply about the most important thing in life, life itself.

The I listened to Good Bones – a poem by Maggie Smith made by Filmmaker ANAÏS LA ROCCA before watching it. Created my own imagining of this cinematic work. The power of adding music/soundtrack to poetry works as an artform and feeds additional layers into the work. I love working with musicians.

It is such a beautiful poem. Begs for a film. The repetition is really striking and stunning lines, darkness that is the world and lighter shades of hope, of possibility, of future. If you don’t get goosebumps… well. I could barely breathe through it.

I then copied the transcript of the poem and saved it to my Napo Poetry Resources file. Once I had settled back to normal, I watched the Poetry Film. WOW! I am glad I listened first my imagining was more outside in the world than the domestic setting of this film, but there was more magic in it than I expected. I watched it on full screen and suggest you do the same. Enter the world created.

I then read the Bonus Content Interview with Maggie Smith. It can be found here

You can watch Maggie Smith read Good Bones.

As I am currently involved in the Worcester Poetry Film Collective and obsessed by discovering new work, and as her work is Award Winning, I picked some more of Anaïs La Rocca’s films to watch. They are mainly commercial/marketing – beautiful to watch though.

I then read the article from The Washington Post. I missed this poem going viral in 2016.


On Writing 


I have written poetry using the language of jargon and business/sports talk before, as with many things in the world of writing it is not a new idea, but it is a rich source for new poems.

I started by exploring the links detailed in the prompt above and read examples of professional slang terms and business jargon.

I got addicted to the Generator and think I will utilise a lot of the jargon examples, in part at least.

With all these ideas buzzing around my head, I am off to write.

Every now and then you come across prompts which get you with such intensity, they take over. This is what happened to me.

Yesterday, I didn’t manage to write a poem, I had the time but not the headspace… but what I did do was explore other online generators and I collected an entire document of potential buzzword/jargon lines.

At bedtime I stayed awake long enough to finish my current novel and start a new one… the universe did that thing it sometimes does and every chapter of this book was full of techno babble.

I am excited to stitch words together later today and will come back to post a snippet.


My poem is 20 (!) stanzas long and describes the breakdown of a relationship as one partner advances their career, I used a multitude of business jargon, the title is an anagram of business jargon Jabs – Sore – Suing and the snippet I include here doesn’t hold much of it, although it does include the most cliched 4 words! I like this idea and dream of writing something as effective as our example poems. I will revisit this idea.

Sitting inside their home

he incubated his plans,

thinking outside the box.