Tag Archives: Kyle Dargan

NaPoWriMo 2019 Day 5


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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

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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 2018 Day 7


Late posting yesterday’s prompts as I was out all day poeting and managed to finally catch Idle Women during the 2nd year of their tour – more on that later.


I took paper out to create poems yesterday but didn’t have a moment spare to do so. I find myself in the inevitable position of falling behind. This is okay, Napo is a marathon in which you are only racing against yourself.

Back to Day 7 then…


Look at that! We’re now a whole week into Na/GloPoWriMo.

Our featured participant for the day is The Great Unknown, where the line-breaking poem for Day 6 starts off in breathless prose before breaking into a series of sharp, descending lines.

Today we have a new interview, this time with Kyle Dargan, whose fifth book of poetry, Anagnorisis, is being published later this year by Triquarterly/Northwestern University Press. The title of the book, a Greek word that refers to “a startling discovery that produces a change from ignorance to knowledge,” is a good lens through which to view Dargan’s poems, which braid extended metaphors and historical and current world events together to make metaphysical and moral claims in verse. You can read some of Dargan’s recent poems here and here, and our interview with him here.

And now for our (optional) prompt. In our interview, Kyle Dargan suggests writing out a list of all of your different layers of identity. For example, you might be a wife, a grandmother, a Philadelphian, a dental assistant, a rabid Phillies fan, a seamstress, retiree, agnostic, cancer survivor, etc.. These are all ways you could be described or lenses you could be viewed through. Now divide all of those things into lists of what makes you feel powerful and what makes you feel vulnerable. Now write a poem in which one of the identities from the first list contends or talks with an identity from the second list. This might turn out to be kind of a “heavy” exercise, emotionally, but I hope you will find the results enlightening.

Happy writing!



I have completed a list like this before from a Mindful exercise. Back in 2012 though so I no longer have the list. Looking forward to adding ‘poet’.

5ab39dd423e2c-bpfullThe Poetry School Day 7

Day 7: Never Leave a Poem Behind

Anyone who’s been writing poetry for more than a few days and has a healthy amount of self-doubt has i) a notebook’s worth of abandoned first lines that never went anywhere, and ii) a smaller group of poems that they finished, but which are rubbish. We’re going to go back and rescue them.

To repeat: for this activity, you will require 1 x abandoned first line, and 1 x terrible completed poem.

That abandoned first line or phrase? That’s now the last line or phrase of your new poem. It’s something to work towards.

But what about the first line? That’s where the awful finished poem comes in. The last line of that awful poem will be the first line of your new poem. Why?

Well, a lot of awful poems are awful because they finish on a note of certainty and finality — starting with the end will force you to dig deeper, and move beyond obvious answers.


An interesting prompt and one I certainly have enough material to harvest from.

On Day 9 I played catch up and re-visited these prompts. I opted for the Napo one and wrote two incredibly short lists under the headings of Powerful and Vulnerable and knew as soon as I got to my 6th idea where the match between these was. I wrote about my Teacher self and the Poet who was always there but had become neglected, then forgotten.

It is a powerful, personal poem – so not necessarily one that will see the light of day and it is so rough you could tear yourselves on the edges. But as I only leave a line, these thoughts are of no concern really other to show you that writing rough is not the same as writing rubbish and both are acceptable during NaPoWriMo, especially if you are playing catch-up and writing more than one poem a day. This is not to say I am not striving for excellence, of course I am. I dream of writing that poem and occasionally I manage it!

The rose-tinted screen –