Tag Archives: GloPoWriMo

NaPoWriMo is COMING ~ Warm Up Here


NaPoWriMo certainly gets to the heart of things. I enjoy April every year for the gifts of words and focus on poetry. I give myself permission to write a lot of rubbish, but every year there are a handful of poems created with a glow, many of these go on to be published in magazines, anthologies and my own collections.


Buy a copy here.


Buy a copy here or from my website here.

I have collated this post to link to previous NaPo posts on the blog. So you won’t have to wait until tomorrow to warm up!

Last year’s warm up post – including some of the history of NaPoWriMo (rebranded GloPoWriMo – as it is now (and has been for a while) a Global phenomenon. I just can’t switch to calling it GloPo).

NaPoWriMo Warming Up

There will be some 2022 Early Bird posts arriving at the NaPo site over the next couple of days. I know they start live posting on the 15th March. Here’s a link to the 2020 Early Bird writing prompts.

NaPoWriMo Early Birds 2020

No Napping from 2019 NaPoWriMo (please note not all video links work).

Preparing for the Event of NaPoWriMo from 2018.

You can always search for more – my NaPoWriMo posts go back to 2014 and include a daily thread for every year.

I wish you well with your writing and look forward to the 15th, when the REAL magic starts!

Enjoy x

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 

art art materials blue bright

Photo by Leah Kelley on Pexels.com

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

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

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 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. © Cowboypoetry.com

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. https://starkeycomics.com/2019/03/14/100-british-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 7



So here we are, one week in, one week done. Just keep going.


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

Day 7

One week down!

Today marks the one-week mark for Na/GloPoWriMo 2019! We hope you feel like you’re hitting your stride with this whole write-a-poem-every-day thing.

Our featured participant today is Garten der Gerdichte, where the poem of the possible for Day 6 shows that poetry can happen even amidst distractions.

Today’s poetry resource is another TED talk, this one from Rachel McKibbens, on “Poetry as Therapy.” 

Our prompt for the day is also inspired by McKibbens, who posted these thoughts on her Twitter account a few months back:

What do you deserve? Name it. All of it. What are you ready to let go of? Name that too. Then name the most gentle gift for yourself. Name the brightest song your body’s ever held. Summon joy like you would a child; call it home. It wanders, yes. But it’s still yours.

Today, we’d like to challenge you to write a poem of gifts and joy. What would you give yourself, if you could have anything? What would you give someone else?

Happy writing!


NaPo Process Notes

I feel a little as if I am on a long haul flight, having only just finished writing for Day 6 and with the pesky Day 5 poem still needing more stanzas… but I enjoy travel and see the plane rides as part of the adventure – and it is a lazy Sunday with no other commitments and I have had more coffee than a human being ever needs… so I am fuelled and ready for more writing!

low angle photo of airplane

Photo by Sam Willis on Pexels.com

I read the featured participant poem, I enjoyed the fun of it. Then I watched the TED talk by Rachel McKibbens.

Rachel combines her personal story with her spoken word poetry to explain how the practice of sharing written words aloud in an environment of safety, encouragement and support is an invaluable, cathartic experience of emotional and intellectual re-framing.

– You Tube Descriptor. 

It was powerful performance with some cutting lines.

On Writing 


From this prompt –

… gifts and joy. What would you give yourself, if you could have anything? What would you give someone else?

I instantly knew what I would write about today. It didn’t take very long (that could be the coffee), it has 4 stanzas. It is called Dolcezza, here are some lines from the penultimate stanza.

My skin, touched by the communion

of your flesh,

breath hatched, our universe –



NaPoWrimo 2019 Day 6



We have nearly completed a week!

See writing a poem a day is not so painful after all. I am a little late posting today as this is my first chance to be online and of course Saturday night means a very slow connection. This could test my patience!

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

Day Six

Our featured participant for the sixth day of Na/GloPoWriMo is Everyday Strange, where the villanelle-based prompt for Day 5 resulted in an eerie poem with even more repetitions than the average villanelle.

Today’s video is this TED talk on “Why People Need Poetry.”

Today, we’d like to challenge you to write a poem of the possible. What does that mean? Well, take a look at these poems by Raena Shirali and Rachel Mennies. Both poems are squarely focused not on what has happened, or what will happen, but on what might happen if the conditions are right. Today, write a poem that emphasizes the power of “if,” of the woulds and coulds and shoulds of the world.

NaPo Process Notes

background beverage breakfast brown

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Today’s prompt inspires me and so I am looking forward to attempting a poem from it. Reading the featured participant’s Villanelle was a good place to start. I still have to finish mine and this has spurred me on. Catch up is a common phenomenon during NaPoWriMo.

I always have a little look around the featured websites and this is one I shall return to. I discovered it is a good place for prompts. So when April turns to May, I will go back and check the weekly updates. You can too – more information here.


I love a good TED talk and often watch the writing/poetry related ones. A few of my friends have even been lucky enough to feature. In fact I have watched this TED Talk before and possibly even featured it during INKSPILL. But it is always good to be reminded of such things, so I listened to Stephen Burt. As Maureen Thorson (founder of NaPoWriMo) suggests poets know this… but always handy to have the arguments for why it matters when confronted with non-believers.

I also like to hear how people come to poetry.

Give yourself 13 minutes to listen, it is worth every second and has been viewed 1,256,937 times!

Now, poetry isn’t one thing that serves one purpose any more than music or computer programming serve one purpose. The greek word poem, it just means “a made thing,” and poetry is a set of techniques, ways of making patterns that put emotions into words. The more techniques you know, the more things you can make, and the more patterns you can recognize in things you might already like or love. – Stephen Burt

It is easier than ever to find poems that might stay inside you, that might stay with you, from long, long ago, or from right this minute, from far away or from right close to where you live, almost no matter where you live. Poems can help you say, help you show how you’re feeling, but they can also introduce you to feelings, ways of being in the world, people, very much unlike you, maybe even people from long, long ago. – Stephen Burt

After that – there is no way you are not feeling fired up to write a poem, right?

I resist the urge to get straight into writing and instead check out today’s suggested poems. Starting with ‘daayan at gold streak river’ by Raena Shirali. A poem rich in language and description which I savour and save, knowing I will read it again. I keep files, I will have mentioned this during Process Notes before. So when a resource hits and me and sometimes (with the poems especially), even if they didn’t I copy and save – making sure I also copy the URL and save each under the daily NaPo so I know which day/prompt connects it.

I then read [POEM ABOUT NAOMI; UNSENT] BY Rachel Mennies , which you can also listen to. A poem often holds more power when you hear it read by the poet. I listened a second time. I will definitely return to this page, I have already started to listen to more of her poems. I want to indulge myself again after NaPo.

Finally, after thoroughly enjoying today’s resources (one of my best days so far this NaPo for me)… I sat at the blank screen, waiting for my poem.

On Writing 

woman writing on a notebook beside teacup and tablet computer

Photo by Tirachard Kumtanom on Pexels.com

I type 4 words onto the screen.

The power of if…

Then I start thinking of the possibilities of a poem. I wrote about a dead Rock Star, a childhood hero of mine. I delved into research mode and watched hours of footage/documentaries, looked through images and occasionally typed a line or two. I enjoyed creating the art slowly, felt the process. I did all this in the early hours of the morning. Slept on it for a bit.

This morning I continued the end of a video and started writing more couplets. In the end I produced a 27 line poem called IF MELANCHOLY HAD A RELEASE VALVE, it contains a lot of ‘If only…’ lines. This morning, after I finished mine, I read people’s Day 6 NaPo poems and there are lots of ‘If only’ examples.

In sleepless wake we mourn the stories,

as if they are our breath. Our blood.







NaPoWriMo 2019 Day 5


napofeature4 (1)

To read the whole post click on the day.


Day Five

Our featured participant for the day is A Writer without Words, whose sad sonnet for Day Four packs a powerful story into fourteen short lines.

Today’s resource is this video of the poet Kyle Dargan reading “Call and Response,” a poem that he wrote by mixing and mingling the text of the Lord’s Prayer with “The Message” by Grandmaster Flash.

And now, for our daily prompt. Today’s prompt comes from another poem by Kyle Dargan, called “Diaspora: A Narcolepsy Hymn.” This poem, like “Call and Response,” is inspired by the work of others – in this case, the poet Morgan Parker, and lyrics from songs by Beyoncé and The Notorious B.I.G. The poem also partakes of one of the most difficult poetic forms, the villanelle.

The classic villanelle has five three-line stanzas followed by a final, four-line stanza. The first and third lines of the first stanza alternately repeat as the last lines of the following three-line stanzas, before being used as the last two lines of the final quatrain. And to make it an even more virtuoso performance, Dargan’s alternating lines, besides being taken from songs, express “opposing” ideas, with one being about sleeping, and the other waking.

Following Dargan’s lead, today we’d like to challenge you to write a poem that incorporates at least one of the following: (1) the villanelle form, (2) lines taken from an outside text, and/or (3) phrases that oppose each other in some way. If you can use two elements, great – and if you can do all three, wow!

Napo Process Notes

books school stacked closed

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After reading Candace’s poem from Day 4 – one packed with narrative – I watched the resource video. Then found myself watching a stream of other videos – RESIST doing the same. Then I read diaspora: a narcolepsy hymn by Kyle Dargan. Then I started thinking about the prompt and outside texts I may use. 

On Writing 


woman typing writing programming

Photo by Startup Stock Photos on Pexels.com

After searching online, I decided to peruse today’s Metro issue brought home by Mr. G. I scanned the whole issue and although I earmarked two interesting articles, I didn’t actually find the text I needed. So I turned back to poems.

After a search starting with ‘place’ I ended up on an educational poetry site and chose the poem  Let No One Steal Your Dreams by Paul Cookson.

Writing to form always takes a while, I am still constructing. This Villanelle took 3 sessions over 2 days to complete. It is not a form I favour, I find it hard to make the rhymes work without seeming fixed.

In the end I did not use Paul Cookson’s poem as much as the dual text examples from Kyle Dargan and it is definitely a poem I could/should re-write/edit. I managed the traditional 3 parts and it does make sense considering I constructed lines backwards from the end rhyme word.

It is called Learning, here are a few lines.

Words will fill your veins

in silent recompose

Let no one tear apart.

The last line is Paul Cookson’s.


NaPoWriMo 2019 Day 4



Halfway through the first week.

Visit the official site for the full post by clicking on Day Four.


Day Four

on APRIL 4, 2019

Today, our featured participant is 7eyedwonder, who responded to the time-focused prompt for Day 3 with a moving account of a father’s passing.

Today’s video resource is this recording of the American poet Craig Morgan Teicher, reading what he calls his “relentlessly sad poems.” That might not sound like something you want to deal with on a Thursday, but one of the wonderful things about poetry is that it can express feelings that we often think aren’t “okay” to express or feel – emotions that are uncomfortable but universal.

Today’s prompt, inspired by Teicher’s poem “Son“. One thing you might notice about this poem is that it is sad, but that it doesn’t generate that feeling through particularly emotional words. The words are very simple. Another thing you might notice is that it’s a sonnet – not in strict iambic pentameter, but fourteen rhymed, relatively short lines.

Today, we’d like to challenge you to write your own sad poem, but one that, like Teicher’s, achieves sadness through simplicity. Playing with the sonnet form may help you – its very compactness can compel you to be straightforward, using plain, small words.

NaPoWriMo Process Notes

selective focus photo of magnifying glass

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I started with the featured participant poem. I know sometimes people skip this bit but today I implore you to go and read Nora’s poem. Incredibly touching.


I watched the video of Craig Morgan Teicher reading, just short of 14 minutes then I had a break before reading his poem ‘Son’.

If you need to revise sonnet form check this website. It will guide you through the fundamentals of a variety of sonnet forms. Please be aware that some of the links at the bottom of the page are no longer active. http://www.sonnets.org/basicforms.htm


On Writing 

black vintage typewriter

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

And this is the point I broke the tradition of following the optional prompts. Mainly because I am short on time today and have only ever written four sonnets so know that to accomplish one I will need more time.

I will come back to try it when I have sent work off. For now I wrote a poem which fell into my head as soon as I started listening to Craig Morgan Teicher this morning. I carried it around through my appointments today and most of the afternoon so it had settled into something and came out easily this afternoon.

It is 4 stanzas and longer than 14 lines. It does meet part of the criteria… achieves sadness through simplicity… using plain, small words.

And like Teicher’s poems is ‘relentlessly sad’. It is called Texts.

After I ignored three messages 

you told me he probably had cancer.

You did not send lies to my brothers.


No Napping – The Bit Before NaPoWriMo 2019


computer connection earphone electronics

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Over on the official NaPoWriMo site posts start at the beginning of March to get us ready for the epic task of writing a poem a day throughout April. This year I was not online much during March, my post op recovery has been slow (and painful) and I had a manuscript waiting to be edited that the publishers sent shortly before I was in hospital (October), so when my mind was finally back to being creative and medication was minimised, my first port of call was getting the edits back to the publishers.

Now I am still mainly offline and working through edits and preparing for a Festival in the summer – but apart from NaPoWriMo and LitWorld 2 Journal commitments I am not at the desk much, still recovering and still off work. My body needs a chance to heal and get stronger and that takes time. I have 5 physio activities to repeat several times a day, plus lots of medical appointments. I need to manage energy levels after the past 6 months so I missed the countdown/ lead up to NaPo 2019.


Here are the pre-NaPo nuggets all in one place.

Have fun!

To read these posts in full head over to the official site http://www.napowrimo.net/


March 1st 

Hello, poetry lovers!

It’s March 1, and that means that just one month separates us from the beginning of National/Global Poetry Writing Month! 

To get us started, here’s a poetry-related movie scene you might recognize! Take that, stilted approaches to the value of poems!


March 15th 

Today is March 15, and that means there’s only half a month to go until the beginning of National/Global Poetry Writing Month!

… while we’re counting down to April, we’ll be giving you occasional bouts of poetry and poetry-related content, as taken from popular films and television!

Today, why not check out this scene from the movie Four Weddings and a Funeral, a romantic comedy starring, alongside Hugh Grant and Andie MacDowell , a recitation of W.H. Auden’s “Funeral Blues.”


March 25th 

Hello, all! As of today, we have just one week to go until the start of National/Global Poetry Writing Month!

We hope you’re getting your pencils sharpened, your laptops charged, and all your finest glittery pens prepared for a full month of writing verse.

Finally, as we’ll be featuring poetry-related video resources throughout April, we’ll leave you for the time being with this oldie-but-goodie – Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven,” as interpreted by The Simpsons. Fair warning – they may have taken some, er, minor liberties with the text.



March 29th 

Hello, all. There’s just three days left in March, and that means that there are only three days to go until NaPoWriMo/GloPoWriMo 2019.

To help you countdown, we’ll be posting a poetry-related move/tv clip each day until April 1 (at which point our video links will become a bit more “substantive”), and on March 31, we’ll have a special early-bird prompt for those of you for whom April begins a few hours before it does here at Na/GloPoWriMo headquarters.

The poet William Blake was a visionary, a religious mystic, and pretty much all-around weirdo. He also seems to exert a strange pull on scriptwriters, as you will find him being quoted in both Bull Durham (a pretty good movie about minor league baseball)


and Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (a pretty awful movie about . . . raiding tombs),


as well as being paraphrased in the dystopian sci-fi classic Blade Runner.


March 30th 

Hello, all! There’s just two days until we start Na/GloPoWriMo 2019, otherwise known as “that month in which you write a poem a day for 30 days.”

Each day during the month, we’ll be bringing you a featured participant, a video resource, and an optional prompt. 

We’ll be back tomorrow with an early-bird prompt and another fun instance of poetry in the movies, but for today, we’ll leave you with this clip from Memphis Belle, a WWII movie in which an airman passes off the work of Y.B. Yeats for his own.


March 31st 

Hello, everybody! Na/GloPoWriMo officially begins tomorrow!

We have an early-bird prompt for those of you located in time zones where April 1 starts a few hours earlier than it does on the east coast of the United States, but first, let’s round out our pre-April set of movie/tv clips involving poetry.

Today, we bring you a clip from that classic Bill Murray comedy, Groundhog’s Day, wherein our hapless hero, who is kind of a self-centered jerk, is forced to repeat a day over and over again until he gets it “right.” In this clip, he mocks his love interest’s college study of French poetry. Bill, that’s no way to get a girl! After a few rounds, though, he’s actually reciting French poetry at her – now, that’s more like it.

Early-bird prompt

Today, we’d like to challenge you to write a poetic self-portrait. And specifically, we’d like you to write a poem in which you portray yourself in the guise of a historical or mythical figure. Does that sound a bit strange? Well, take a look at this poem by Mary-Kim Arnold, “Self Portrait as Semiramis,” or Tarfia Farzullah’s, “Self-Portrait as Artemis,” and perhaps you’ll get a sense of the possibilities.

close up of hand over white background

Photo by Lum3n.com on Pexels.com


NaPoWriMo 2019 Day 2



How was yesterday?


  • Make sure you keep your writing, even if it feels little more than a draft or an idea.


  • Try not to re-read it with a critical eye just yet.


  • If you are working straight onto a keyboard save all your NaPo poems in one place/file.


  • If you usually work straight onto a PC or in a notebook, try swapping your method.


  • Remember the prompts are optional, write whatever you want.




Here from the official website is our second prompt. Click Day Two to read in full.

Day Two

Today’s featured participant is Not Enough Poetry, where the instructional prompt for Day 1 yielded an evocative poem about riding a train in the Andes.

Featured video poetry music video, involving a highly dramatic reading, in German, of a Shakespearean sonnet set to the music of Rufus Wainwright.

As one of the commenters on the video stated, “I didn’t understand anything but I love it with all my heart.” Poetry can be like that, sometimes!

Today’s prompt is based on this poem by Claire Wahmanholm, which transforms the natural world into an unsettled dream-place. One way it does this is by asking questions – literally. The poem not only contains questions, but ends on a question. Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that similarly resists closure by ending on a question, inviting the reader to continue the process of reading (and, in some ways, writing) the poem even after the poem ends.

Happy writing!

NaPo Process Notes

blank blank page business data

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I started with reading the featured poem ‘How to Ride a Train in the Andes’ by Lupita Eyde-Tucker. The first stanzas are beautiful and I found myself re-reading them. Lupita definitely delivers us into the Andes, or transports us there (if you want a train joke). She also adds a note about her experience/ memory/ family history. I had a quick look at her blog.

The featured video was fun, I know the sonnet and Shakespeare (a few years of study), but have never watched it in German, a language I only studied for a year and one in which I have retained just a few phrases so I found myself really entering the performance as a physical piece. Before I was a poet or teacher I was an actor and so I LOVED the drama of this performance.

The original Sonnet 66 can be read here, including study notes. http://www.shakespeare-online.com/sonnets/66.html

Then I read today’s featured poem ‘The Meadow, The River’ by  Claire Wahmanholm. I panicked when I saw today’s prompt because personally I tend to avoid writing questions in poems. It is something I dislike, although I don’t baulk as much when I read poems which contain questions. So I take an extra deep breath before I begin writing and remind myself that this is what NaPoWriMo is all about. Writing new. Tackling things you avoid. Attacking from a different angle and being open to new resources/poets and changing opinions.


On Writing

fashion legs notebook working

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I remembered a previous NaPo prompt (2018) where the starting point was a poem in a unfamiliar foreign language and you had to write your poem from it. I immediately wanted to do this with the video resource, so I replayed it faced with a blank screen and completed a free write.

I wrote a poem called Tired which explores locked parts of someone else in 7 stanzas. It definitely matched the melancholy of this theatrical scene.

You walk each step with care as if you are unpeeling

your very soul. Even your shuffle carries whispers,


I often find that I produce more than 30 poems in April and have done NaPoWriMo/ GloPoWriMo since I started writing again in 2013 – which was before I returned to poetry (Sept. 2013). The first year I ran it alongside NaNoWriMo Camp too. Madness!

Next came the real challenge… Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that similarly resists closure by ending on a question, inviting the reader to continue the process of reading (and, in some ways, writing) the poem even after the poem ends.

So, as predicted that was hard in conception. My starting point was conversation starter questions, I chose 6 and actually by the time I came to write the poem was able to incorporate my own.

From my question list I decided to write about Australia. I have started to write a sequence of poems around my trip. Fitting NaPo into current projects is a great idea, although not always possible.

My good friend, Amy, emigrated out there a while back and is now a full citizen, we hadn’t seen each other since she was last in the UK (about 6 yrs ago). I wrote about part of the evening we shared in the middle of my trip. It was my birthday and as I was out there as an International Guest Poet for Perth Poetry Festival most of my time was actively on the festival circuit. My birthday was a day/night away and it was wonderful way to spend it reuniting with my friend. Plus we got to retrace our steps through Fremantle from the first time I visited her back in 2006.

12 yrs of me and amy

12 years of Amy & I (2006- 2018)

I had great fun writing this poem, which has a working title of Forty Conversations, I am sure we had more than that in our non-stop chatting reunion. It is another 7 stanza poem. 7 is my lucky number but it is a bit random that these NaPo poems are coming out the same length. Maybe that is the length of time my brain can manage to hold a thought. I have just had 6 months off where I wrote very little. This one only really works as a whole poem and I have changed the question at the end three times. Here’s a snippet.

When we listened to music on your Echo

and you asked me for my playlist

every band name fell out of my head.


It has been an in depth writing time today, but that is the other pleasure of participating in NaPoWriMo, allowing yourself the time to write, be creative.



NaPoWriMo 2019 Day 1



Visit the official site http://www.napowrimo.net/ Read today’s post in full It begins!

I have included the full introduction in case you are new to NaPoWriMo.

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If you’re just joining us, Na/GloPoWriMo is an annual challenge in which participants write a poem a day during the month of April. What do you need to do to participate? Just write a poem each day! If you fall behind, try to catch up, but don’t be too hard on yourself – the idea here is to expand your writing practice and engage with new ideas, not to stress yourself out. All too many poets, regardless of their level of experience, get blocked in their writing because they start editing even before they have written anything at all. Let’s leave the editing, criticizing, and stressing out for May and beyond! This month, the idea is just to get something on the page.

If you’ll be posting your efforts to a blog or other website, you can provide us with the link using our “Submit Your Site” form, and it will show up on our “Participants’ Sites” page. But if you’re not going to be posting your work, no worries! It’s not a requirement at all – again, all we’re really trying to do is encourage people to write.

To help with that, we’ll be providing some daily inspiration. Each day, we’ll be featuring a participant, providing you with an optional prompt, and giving you an extra poetry resource. This year, those resources will take the form of poetry-related videos.



  • I have completed NaPoWriMo for several years and the most important point is to ENJOY it. Sometimes life is busy and you will miss a day or fall behind. Do not battle against yourselves over this, accept it and move on. Either write extra or save the prompt for a time when you have more time to write.


the idea here is to expand your writing practice and engage with new ideas, not to stress yourself out.

  • Accept that sometimes what you write will feel like rubbish. This is okay too. Those words you find not working for you will help create the steps to the ones that will.


  • Keep going.

I am particularly excited by the poetry videos being incorporated this year. Even if you decide your 30+ poems are utter drivel you will have built up a fine range of prompts and resources by the end of April.


Our first featured participant is Miss Ella’s House of Sleep, whose poem “Annie Edson Taylor’s Birthday Plunge,” used our early-bird prompt to explore a fascinating and little-known historical figure.

This is funny because I wrote about Annie Edson for Women’s Day in 2016. I will be posting the early-bird material later this week. Due to a vast number of medical appointments last week I didn’t make it onto the site to read them.

Our resource for the day is a short film of January Gill O’Neil reading (and acting out!) her poem “How to Make a Crab Cake.”

If you’d like to read the poem itself as you follow along, you can find it here.

For our first prompt, let’s take our cue from O’Neil’s poem, and write poems that provide the reader with instructions on how to do something. It can be a sort of recipe, like O’Neil’s poem. Or you could try to play on the notorious unreliability of instructional manuals (if you’ve ever tried to put IKEA furniture together, you know what I mean). You could even write a dis-instruction poem, that tells the reader how not to do something. This well-known poem by John Ashbery may provide you with some additional inspiration.

Happy writing!

NaPo Process Notes

information sign on paper

Photo by Lukas on Pexels.com

After I watched the daily resource/video – I went to explore Gill O’Neil’s website, I read a few of her poems as well as her bio and book blurbs.
Then I re-read the prompt –  write poems that provide the reader with instructions on how to do something. It can be a sort of recipe, like O’Neil’s poem. Or you could try to play on the notorious unreliability of instructional manuals (if you’ve ever tried to put IKEA furniture together, you know what I mean). You could even write a dis-instruction poem, that tells the reader how not to do something.

Over the years I have written lots of instructional poetry so I knew I wanted to do something different. I then remembered Mr G. has a unique way of interpreting IKEA instructions so I fancied writing a poem about that. I also liked the idea of a dis-instruction poem.

As it was very late when I tackled this prompt these are stream of conscious ideas at this stage, but as always with NaPo – will be worth a re-visit later because your inner editor has gone away this month!

(Note to my publisher, the inner editor will be back at the desk to work on my m/s, fear not!)

On Writing

woman using laptop

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

So the Mr.G inspired poem which is a play on the notorious unreliability of instructional manuals is called ‘We Only Go There for the Meatballs’, which of course is not true. It is a 4 stanza poem. I am sharing just a couple of lines, as I do.

Language is a jelly-bean cartoon man,

who he instantly creates a story for –


I then played with the dis-instruction idea. For this I started with typing ‘instructions’ into a search engine and allowing the cells to appear with suggestions. The one which caught my eye was – instructions for sellers initially on cheese – brilliant! Unfortunately for me and my late night brain this turned out  to be a cryptic crossword clue. I am banking it for future writing,

My next search gifted a PDF on ‘Instructions for Conducting Examinations 2018-2019’ which was my speed-read starting point and as someone who once was a full-time teacher, I thoroughly enjoyed turning the restrictions/instructions/government guidance upside down. Although I wouldn’t fancy being an invigilator in the exam room I created!

This 9 stanza poem became an almost narrative poem, it could adopt the layout of a prose poem and certainly reads like one in places. It possibly doesn’t have a genre identity just yet.

I called it A Box Within a Box – which is the security surrounded by exam materials once they are on site. This is a working title and is likely to be replaced. Here are a few lines.


At the end of the exam let the students mount the tables

and take a run for the door, only collect in the papers

without tread marks,



Let us know how NaPoWriMo is going for you and feel free to share links back to your blogs/websites throughout April.

Have Fun!