Tag Archives: Maureen Thorson

NaPoWriMo 2021 Day 21

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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.

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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.

CONGRATULATIONS!

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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!

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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.

HAVE FUN!

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NaPoWriMo Warming Up

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It’s that time of year again, AWF is signed up to the main website and I will be participating in NaPoWriMo for the (I have lost count) maybe my 8th year. Since I discovered it in 2014. I often join in with groups and more than one daily prompt but after the year I have had so far and still wrestling deadlines, I will just be logging into the main website for prompts. At least this is my intention – but who knows. April can get crazy!

Those of you who read this blog regularly will know I rarely post an entire poem, rather I post daily posts about my NaPo process and motivation/tips to get you through your 30 days of Poetry. Every year I have had some successful publication with Napo poems (after a little work). Editing is not part of the NaPo process. Just write for now.

The other bonus of Napo* is I always finish the month with a ton of new poetry resources and often discover some-new-to-me poets.

*Nowadays it’s known as GloPoWriMo and rightly so as it is a global event, I’m old school and prefer to call it NaPo.

HISTORY:

NaPoWriMo, or National Poetry Writing Month, is an annual project in which participating poets attempt to write a poem a day for the month of April (USA). The founder of napowrimo.net is Maureen Thorson, a poet living in Washington, DC

Inspired by NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month), she started writing a poem a day for the month of April back in 2003, posting the poems on her blog. When other people started writing poems for April, and posting them on their own blogs, Maureen linked to them. After a few years, so many people were doing NaPoWriMo that Maureen decided to launch an independent website for the project. © napowrimo.net

HOW IT WORKS:

How does it work? Simple — just write a poem every day from April 1 to April 30… If you fall behind, you can catch up. If you feel like writing two poems a day, go for it! The idea is just to get your creative juices flowing. As always, we’ll be featuring a new, optional prompt every day during the month, as well as a bonus “early-bird” prompt that will be posted on March 31. Each day we’ll also feature a participant’s work. And one positive of the pandemic has been that poetry reading series have moved online, so it’s easier than ever to see and hear your favorite poets read their work. We’ll feature a reading every day, alternating between recorded videos of past readings that you can peruse at your leisure, and scheduled readings that you can watch live. © napowrimo.net

So, grab yourself a brand new notebook, save a document/folder for NaPo Prompts and Poems on your tech and get some rest before April begins. Are you ready for a month of writing poetry? Of course you are!

NaPoWriMo The Extra Bit

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Read the full post here.

Hello, everyone! We made it through another Na/GloPoWriMo. I hope you feel that you’ve written good poems and stretched yourself in your writing.

I also want to thank you for coming back to this site each year! It heartens me, especially in this particularly hard April, to see so many people gather for the love of poetry, and support one another in their efforts!

Final featured participant for the year is Gloria D. Gonsalves, who reminds us, with her poem based on Day 30’s “returning” prompt, that a “rose is a rose is a rose is a rose.”

Na/GloPoWriMo will be back next year, of course, with more prompts and resources. In the meantime, all the posts from this year will remain available.

In the meantime, if you just can’t get enough poetry prompts, you might enjoy the weekly prompts that Poets & Writers provides, these 30 prompts created by Kelli Russell Agodon, this list of 101 poetry prompts, or the weekly (and in April, daily) prompts provided by Robert Lee Brewer at Writer’s Digest.

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And of course for many of us there will still be some NaPo prompts we want to finish writing for! That is the 6th year I have taken part and as with every year I think there are a handful of promising poems that I look forward to coming back to.

I usually work straight onto the computer but since lockdown have attempted to cheer myself up by using some of the waiting in the wings notebooks, like most of us I love a special journal and often buy them and store them away, am sometimes reluctant to ruin them with inside scribbles. I worried the other day that I would run out, but remembered where there are more so no need to start ordering a rescue package yet. The same with pens, have enough of those to last. Didn’t panic buy but seems like I’ve been preparing to be a writer in Lockdown for most of my adult life!

I also like to think that there will be a shelf somewhere in our house where all these will sit, an almanac to that time the world changed without actually keeping any sort of historic record.

A huge thanks to Maureen Thorson for another year of NaPoWriMo prompts and the bountiful resources you have delivered to our screens this year.

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I started with Gloria’s poem, there are some beautiful lines. I then looked over the suggested resources, many from sites I have in the past or currently use. If you are looking for a meatier prompt then starting with the Poets & Writers site is a good idea.

I must have downloaded the Kelli Russell Agodon PDF at least 3 times. I’ve also used the prompts from thinkwritten.com the site has some interesting articles you may want to peruse.

I usually do the PAD challenge at the same time as NaPoWriMo but this year as the world moved online I have been busy with other writing too, so just focused on Maureen’s prompts, I have used the Writer’s Digest website often though. I have discovered these sites already, if you haven’t you are in for a treat and many constantly update the prompts so you can always find something new later in the year… because to be honest, right now… you probably just need a Post NaPo Nap!

Who’s going to join me? exit

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NaPoWriMo 2020 It’s Coming!

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It is nearly time for NaPoWriMo, an annual flurry of poetry writing. Find out more here.

They have a few starter activities just for fun. The silly test mentioned in this post gives you a chance to choose Bot or Not. I had a 70% success rate. A great party game for the self isolating at this time.

If, like me you enjoy this writing month you will just be pleased to see the site back up and running and the new banners and buttons for 2020.

The Two Days to Go post invites us to go and look at Patrick Stewart’s twitter account where he is reading Shakespeare’s sonnets, I have happily already discovered this already (and retweeted) but it serves to remind me that one of the things I LOVE about NaPo is discovering resources and new to me poets and poems. Also the participants sites can be a great find too.

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Here on AWF I am always a participating site but never (or rarely ever) post a NaPo poem as this affects the copyright and means I may not be able to publish them. You will write a lot of rubbish over the next few weeks – give yourself that permission, nothing is wasted. It’s all worth it for those few poems that do work, that do go on to grow up and get published, for the ones you include in your next collection, for the ones that speak to your heart.

The day before NaPo starts there is always an Early Bird post to get you warmed up and started. So this is not a drill – take a deep breath and get ready to dive in with us!


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Hello, all! Tomorrow is April 1, and the first day of NaPoWriMo/GloPoWriMo 2020! But since April 1 arrives a bit earlier in some parts of the globe than the east coast of the United States, we have an early-bird resource and prompt for you.

Today’s resource is The Slowdown, a daily poetry podcast hosted by former U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith. Podcasts are a nice way to add some poetry to your life. They also give you a chance to hear the rhythm of poetry out loud. Sometimes it can be very surprising, if you’ve been reading a poet on the page for many years, to hear their voice out loud, and realize it’s much different than the voice you’ve been giving that same poet in your head.

And now, in the spirit of an early-bird prompt, I’d like to invite you to write a poem about your favorite bird. As this collection of snippets from longer poems suggests, birds have been inspiring poets for a very long time indeed!

If you don’t have a favorite bird, or are having trouble picking one, perhaps I might interest you in myfavorite bird, the American Woodcock? These softball-sized guys are exactly the color of the leaves on the floor of a Maine forest, and they turn up each spring to make buzzy peent noises, fly up over meadows in elaborate courtship displays, and to do little rocking dances that YouTube jokesters delight in setting to music.

 

They are also quite odd looking, as every part of their body appears to be totally out of proportion with the rest. For a poetic bonus, they also have many regional nicknames. In Maine, they’re often called “timberdoodles,” but other regionalisms for them include “night partridge,” “mudbat,” “prairie turtle,” Labrador twister,” “bogsucker,” “wafflebird,” “billdad,” and “hokumpoke.”

Tomorrow we’ll be back with another resource, prompt, and our first featured participant.

In the meantime, happy writing!


I started to listen to the Slowdown Podcast and appreciated the slowness of it juxtaposing the violent onslaught of next door’s far-too-loud-radio, I know of Tracy K. Smith, I discovered her before she was a US Laureate and I know some of her work, I know she plays with pace and rhythm and sometimes line breaks used to enable this breath. Looking at the Poetry Foundation page I decided to treat myself to some of her work too and revisited Declaration from Wade in the Water.  Copyright © 2018

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During the podcast, Tracy recites Interesting Times by Mark Jarman. Bedlam right now during the Coronavirus, for sure. The words resonate with double meaning right now. An echo of the//for the global crisis.

Choking on these lines;

Everything’s happening on the cusp of tragedy,

We’ve been at this historical site before, but not in any history we remember.

To know the stars will one day fly apart so far they can’t be seen
Is almost a relief. For the future flies in one direction—toward us.

 

Mark Jarman – “Interesting Times” from Bone Fires: New and Selected Poems. Copyright © 2011

I then settled down to read the poetry snippets https://poets.org/text/thirteen-ways-looking-poems-about-birds before considering my own writing for today.

This is where the madness began (NaPo madness is normal – it starts with the research/ search engines then pages later leads you someplace else and (hopefully) back again)!

I read the snippets and then watched the videos of Maureen’s chosen bird and it hit me, WA – and the magnificent birds of Perth – as it fits my current project. That’s another NaPo GOLD-DUST tip: if you can bend the prompts to fit creative projects you are trying to fulfil – this isn’t always possible but when it is – it is GOLDEN – as often we are forced to write beyond ourselves.

I then watched a series of videos before I decided on the one. It has been made from photographs rather than footage but the pictures have magically captured the music of the birds. I am yet to pen a poem as I am getting a set ready for this evening. But I will… (the NaPo promise to yourself).

I watched the video and made a list of over 10 Australian birds, then chose one by looking for images of the species. I then searched for facts and went back to my research document to highlighted key fact on appearance and movement. I harvested a few images to study & wrote a short 5 line poem about the Royal Spoonbill.

Enjoy!

 

Day 19 – Early Morning Creation & Gratitude

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Welcome to Day 19, so close now. So many poems to type up. Writing longhand in my notebook has made this NaPo experience feel different and has kept me on track and enthusiastic, more so than previous years.

I have to say that Carrie Etter has had a huge part to play in motivating me to complete the challenge – both in terms of the group she created on social media and her list of prompts, which I have still not allowed myself to read in the entirety, despite copying to a document 19 days ago. Thank you, Carrie!

Having instant access to other poets completing NaPo has created the same buzz I experienced from Camp/ Community boards in NaNoWriMo. Sharing days it works and days it doesn’t, keeps you going and this year with following a double set of prompts I will have produced over 60 poems.

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It is little wonder I feel a bit tired. Not all of them are fully formed and some are a bit rubbish, they didn’t work out.

An exercise like NaPo gives you chaff and grain. The excitement of the following months is revisiting and finding the lines/ideas/images you can harvest or re-use. It is all good poetry compost, keep turning!

I also want to say thanks to Jo Bell, for giving us all a daily poem to read. I have discovered some poets that I will read more of and revisited favourite poems/poets along the way. I have been privy to (although, not really as the posts are on a very public blog), it feels like I have been privy to some exciting thoughts and opinions as well as having my eyes opened a bit on occasion. Seeing a poem through a different point of view. But mainly I have found time to read during NaPo, which in itself has enticed me back to my own poetry shelves (which I think was Jo’s intention).

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Whilst we’re at it – thanks to Maureen Thorson for the conception of NaPoWriMo. Read all about it here

Maureen Thorson, a poet living in Washington, DC. Inspired by NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month), she started writing a poem a day for the month of April back in 2003, posting the poems on her blog. When other people started writing poems for April, and posting them on their own blogs, Maureen linked to them. After a few years, so many people were doing NaPoWriMo that Maureen decided to launch an independent website for the project.

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\\Gushing Gratitude Over// Let’s move on… Day 19

19!

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Our featured participant for the day is dogtrax, where the neologism poem for Day 18 created many new compound words!

Today’s interview is with Tommy Pico, whose first book, a long poem that unfurls like an extended meditation-slash-text message, was published to critical acclaim last year. You can check out some of Pico’s work here.

And now for our daily prompt (optional, as always!). Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that recounts a creation myth. It doesn’t have to be an existing creation myth, or even recount how all of creation came to be. It could be, for example, your own take on the creation of ball-point pens, or the discovery of knitting. Your myth can be as big or small as you would like, as serious or silly as you make it.

I love a creation myth and cannot wait to get stuck into this.


Carrie Etter’s prompt involves remembering someone who has passed away, remembering one of their interests or hobbies, talk to them about it in a poem and end with a question.

Carrie’s prompt made me write about a relative I lost two decades ago, someone I rarely write about. It started with a 30 minute freewrite – I wasn’t timing myself, I just found I couldn’t stop.

Something was uncorked. I then went about my day and this afternoon without reading the notes back I wrote a poem. it is rather long (2 A4 Pages), but it is a start. I think I will find it is about 3 or 4 poems in one. So next time I pick it back up I may try to sift it into two poetry piles and rebuild from there. Definitely one to leave alone for a while. I feel quite strange.

Did you ever tell him you loved him?


Jo Bell left us an Untitled poem by Muriel Rukeyser to read.

With an interesting read afterwards of Jo’s thoughts about this poem. For me it is stunning when work written over fifty years ago is so relevant and shows the human cycles we move in. I am currently reading a book of poetry that was published over 20 years ago and it is fascinating when our world with all its complexities is still struggling to master the same basics.

Rukeyser’s poem has more political mirroring than my simple meandering thoughts here – but I’d like to direct you over to Jo’s blog to see it for real. http://www.jobell.org.uk/


58d3e6b0bba6c-bpfullJames Trevelyan suggests we write the worst poem possible today, like the idea of an Anti-Slam. Day 19 – often by now poems have gone one of two ways: dedicated to daily writing they are growing stronger or (like mine) are dribbling out like weak tea! So having permission to write a bad one on purpose might tick your criteria today!

Day 19: The Pits

With a hat-tip to Charles Bernstein’s ‘Experiments’, today’s task is to write the worst poem you can imagine: awful scansion, hopeless imagery, tone-deaf statements, bluster, pretension, wrenched rhymes, sentimentality – that’s what we’re after.

http://www.writing.upenn.edu/bernstein/experiments.html

For inspiration, have a look at The Anti-Slam: https://www.facebook.com/theantislam/

And, of course, ‘The Tay Bridge Disaster’: http://www.mcgonagall-online.org.uk/gems/the-tay-bridge-disaster

Have fun writing! I am off to create my creation poem now… although it will possibly cover The Poetry School’s prompt as well!

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