Tag Archives: NaPo Prompts

NaPoWriMo 2022 ~ Day 2

Prompt from Napo.

Today’s featured participant is The Cat’s Pajam, which gives us a dreamy, sensual, and mysterious poem in response to Day One’s “story about the body” prompt.

Our daily featured online magazine is TYPO, browse. From their newest issue, I’ll point out Jasmine Dream Wagner’s “Fallen Angels,”.

Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem based on a word featured in a tweet from Haggard Hawks, an account devoted to obscure and interesting English words. Will you choose a word like “aprosexia,” which means “an inability to concentrate”? Or maybe something like “greenout,” which is “the relief a person who has worked or lived in a snowy area for a long time feels on seeing something fresh and green for the first time”?

As always, I started chronologically with the featured site.

If she were a dog she would have been able to smell her disease and its cure, but she was an ignorant woman, and crushed herself into soda shop booths already overcrowded with Gods and Philosophy. 

Reading the comments I wasn’t the only one tugged by these lines. Next I visited Typo. I found Wagner’s Fallen Angels to be a particularly lingering read. I browsed the current issue (and know I will go back to past issues), I particularly liked: OUT OF TOWN NORA ALMEIDA.

And finally, I explored the Twitter account for a word. Initially I was drawn to: @HaggardHawks

Word of the Day: VERNALITY (n.) the spring, a spring-like quality; the greenness and freshness of springtime [1600s]

but I learnt many years ago not to go with the first thought, dig deeper.

To PUPILLATE is to cry like a peacock. // Newborn babies’ birthmarks were once known as LONGING-MARKS, because they were said to take on the shape of something desired by the mother. // A GLISK is a brief glimpse of warm sunshine. // To DARKLE is to hide in the dark. // To be CRAMPLE-HAMMED is to have stiff, sore legs after a long walk. // The floating matter that becomes visible in bright beams of light is known as SUNDUST.

I spent ages sifting through the Tweets (and only went back a couple of weeks), I decided to use Longing-Marks.

I thoroughly enjoyed researching and writing towards today’s prompt. For a while I was lost in the world of cattle and Zodiac, but I managed to resurface to write a poem about my Longing-mark. Famously only mentioned when I am in a situation where you have to disclose something about yourself that no-one knows!

I have several pages of notes on Etymology, Terminology and Usage as currency. My ideas grew as I researched and I had 4 strands of scaffold to enter this poem before I started writing. I also started to gather the additional resources. In the future I plan to come back to this prompt and use more of these words as starting points for poems. And created a word doc. to house all NaPo poems.

Working title: The Shape of Something Desired by Mother

—————– This unnamed house cow

fades as it ages, or as my mother’s needs

become my own.

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NaPoWriMo 2022 ~ Day 1


April has arrived!

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

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

Are you ready?
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Prompt from NaPo

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

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

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

© napowrimo.net

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

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

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

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

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

Photo by Tuur Tisseghem on Pexels.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Working title: Bring the Joy

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

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

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

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

NaPoWriMo 2022 – DAY 1 – Early Bird


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

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

Click here for the FULL prompt.

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

Emily Dickinson Museum

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

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

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

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

In the end I settled on this poem from 1861:

There’s a certain Slant of light,

Winter Afternoons –

That oppresses, like the Heft

Of Cathedral Tunes –

Heavenly Hurt, it gives us –

We can find no scar,

But internal difference –

Where the Meanings, are –

None may teach it – Any –

’Tis the seal Despair –

An imperial affliction

Sent us of the Air –

When it comes, the Landscape listens –

Shadows – hold their breath –

When it goes, ’tis like the Distance

On the look of Death –

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

Heavenly Hurt, it gives us –

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

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

Photo by Ju00c9SHOOTS on Pexels.com

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

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

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

I had fun completing this prompt.

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NaPoWriMo 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 2021 Day 30

Day Thirty Read the full post here.

Our featured participants today are Amita Paul, who brings us a poem about a porthole, and Anna Enbom, whose response to the “in the window” prompt is filled with a sense of lingering threat.

Today’s featured reading is a live event that will take place tomorrow, May 1, at 3:30 p.m. eastern. Poet sam sax will be reading for The Poetry Center at Passaic County Community College in New Jersey.

Today’s prompt is based on a prompt written by Jacqueline Saphra, and featured in this group of prompts published back in 2015 by The Poetry Society of the U.K. This prompt challenges you to write a poem in the form of a series of directions describing how a person should get to a particular place. It could be a real place, like your local park, or an imaginary or unreal place, like “the bottom of your heart,” or “where missing socks go.” Fill your poem with sensory details, and make them as wild or intimate as you like.

Happy writing!

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I can’t believe the last day of Napo is here and I have a schedule which keeps me in other pockets of the internet, so I checked this morning read the prompt page and have just come back to it now. I was really excited to see Jacqueline’s name – she is a brilliant poet and lovely woman and I shall add a bit more about her and her work here in this post. In case you have not been lucky enough to find her poems for yourselves yet.

I also love The Poetry Society – they are incredible and one year even offered a NaPoWriMo month of prompts and community. I have looked and used this resource before – but years ago and I am a different person/poet now (so just like when Jericho Brown repeated a masterclass and I rewrote the same work 6 months later there was change and it was exciting to go and find the Autumn notebook and compare the work) so don’t be put off if you are repeating a prompt. Remember you come to the page as a different person.

I started (as always) with the feature poems and loved the fact that I had a porthole on my list as well – and with the second poem that sense of threat matches my poem becoming threatening – I suppose looking in on a space does this to the writing.

I can’t sign in to leave a comment for Amita Sarjit Ahluwalia as my inbox is full and I can’t verify myself. I enjoyed this poem, the flow of it seemed to be rhythmical taking me up and down on the ocean and into the same trance observed in View Through a Port Hole.

It was a fifteen day sea voyage
From Mumbai to Mombasa

Love we are set in place straight away especially as it is a poem exploring the relentless view of sea – which when in the middle of the ocean it does feel you could be anywhere.

And watch the foam forming and dissolving endlessly
On the restless tireless blue waves
And now and then a flying fish

I thought the blue days at sea would never end

I was glad to see landfall
Too much sea can kill the soul.

It was a beautiful poem to start the day with, even though it drives to the madness of being stuck with just the view of blue, for me – so far from the coast it was a much needed visit to the ocean.

Anna Enbom’s poem That window – the second part of this poem really got me. I liked the exploration of coming through the gauntlet of our lives.

Brick buildings though, with kids’ paintings taped to the inside of

the glass door, still makes my thoughts stop and fall

I am often stressed about the years passing, things I have not done

yet and the fact that my death is less distant for every year
But when I think about that window, I know time passing is good
I am not there anymore

This poem holds so much life and emotion, so many stories of lives connecting and crossing and I love that line ‘still makes my thoughts stop and fall’.

I had a look at the featured reading which I should be available to watch tomorrow (although last night I fell asleep in the late night for us USA reading). I looked up Sam Sax and thought he was new to me – but when I read a selection of his poems I came to Prayer for the Mutilated World – and realised I had read his work before.

The prompt today also offers a whole sheet of other prompts – which is great if you are thinking you may have withdrawal symptoms – just visit and do one a day and that will settle you right into May.

I don’t need to write lots for you all about Jacqueline Saphra as she has a brilliant website which will show you all I was going to say.

I was fortunate enough to meet Jacqueline back in 2016 when I read at the London Book Fair, I actually met her on a busy London crossing when I had skipped out for a walk/break/air. I have attended her readings ever since and in 2017 she was one of the Poets in Residence at Swindon Poetry Festival so I got a complete Saphra fix.

Her books are amazing her poetry is incredible and if you don’t her go and spend time on the site. There were many poets who joined Jacqueline writing a sonnet a day and it was a pleasure to read them in the original form and watch them being shared.

Jacqueline’s Lockdown Sonnets of 2020 are bound into this beautifully produced Nine Arches Press book One Hundred Lockdown Sonnets, now available as paperback, the original was a gorgeous hardback – 100 copies were made and the books helped raise the £2000 target for the Trussell Trust Charity. More than half the cover cost went to the charity with every edition sold.

It was certainly exciting to be at the launch of this work and to hear the poems I had read in progress. Plus seeing her guest poets many of whom are on my favourite poets list (the one in my head) And LOOK – you can watch it all here!

The online launch of Jacqueline Saphra’s One Hundred Lockdown Sonnets. With guest poets Anja Konig, Miriam Nash, Jacob Sam-La Rose, plus recorded readings and messages from Ian McMillan and Naomi Shihab Nye.

About this Event:

Launching the publication of One Hundred Lockdown Sonnets by Jacqueline Saphra. A poetic journal that chronicles the personal and political upheavals and tragedies of the Covid pandemic. Written as a daily sonnet throughout the first lockdown, Saphra’s unique, candid and revealing sequence is a record of strange and unparalleled days.

The one hundred poems are published by Nine Arches Press in a limited edition of just one hundred hardback books, marking their 100th publication. Sold in aid of the Trussell Trust which supports a nationwide network of food banks and campaigns for change to end the need for food banks in the UK. https://www.justgiving.com/fundraisin…

Jacqueline Saphra is joined on the night by guest poets Anja Konig, Miriam Nash and Jacob Sam-La Rose who will each share a poem of their own and one of Jacqueline’s sonnets. We also have recorded messages and readings from Ian McMillan and Naomi Shihab Nye.

Jacqueline Saphra is a poet, playwright and tutor based in London. All My Mad Mothers was shortlisted for the 2017 T.S. Eliot prize and was followed by Dad, Remember You are Dead in 2019, both from Nine Arches Press. A Bargain with the Light: Poems after Lee Miller (2017) and Veritas: Poems after Artemisia (2020) are both published by Hercules Editions.

Anja Konig grew up in the German language and now writes in English. Her first pamphlet Advice for an Only Child (Flipped Eye) was shortlisted for the 2015 Michael Marks award. Her first full collection Animal Experiments (Bad Betty Press) was selected as one of the best 2020 collections by the Daily Telegraph.

Miriam Nash is a poet, performer and educator. Her collection of poems All the Prayers in the House (Bloodaxe Books, 2017) won a Somerset Maugham Award and an Eric Gregory Award from the Society of Authors. Her latest book, TheNine Mothers of Heimdallr (Hercules Editions, 2020) is a giant, matriarchal re-telling of the Norse creation myth. She leads online poetry workshops at Lightkeepers.co.uk.

Jacob Sam-La Rose is a poet, editor, artistic director and educator, deeply invested in supporting emerging voices. His collection Breaking Silence (Bloodaxe Books)is required reading for an A’ level syllabus. He is a poetry professor at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, poet-in-residence for English Heritage, and directs the Barbican Young Poets programme.

Naomi Shihab Nye is a poet, songwriter, and novelist. She was born to a Palestinian father and an American mother. She began composing her first poem at the age of six and has published or contributed to over 30 volumes. Her works include poetry, young-adult fiction, picture books, and novels.

Ian McMillan is an English poet, journalist, playwright, and broadcaster. He is known for his strong and distinctive Yorkshire accent and his incisive, friendly interview style on programmes such as BBC Radio 3’s The Verb. He lives in Darfield, the village of his birth. You can donate to the Trussell Trust at our fundraiser page https://www.justgiving.com/fundraisin…

Thank you from Nine Arches Press and Jacqueline Saphra


I thought I would really struggle with this one and have already scribbled a few poems about the infrequent lockdown walks and decided I didn’t want any mention of caged freedoms. So in the end I sat quietly and not much time later had my AHA moment. A journey I did 100s of times in 2019. A journey which should take 5-10 mins and was taking me 30-40 at least means that the specific details of this route are well settled in my mind.

I just do what I have done for the past 30 days and freewheeled a poem out from somewhere. It has legs (which a poem about walking probably should) and after a bit of editing may shine up well.

I had great fun writing it.

Appreciate the bravery of the particular red

they have used to coat their front door.

ENJOY your last day of NaPoWriMo! YOU DID IT!

NaPoWriMo 2021 Day 29


Day Twenty-Nine Click here for the full post

Today’s featured participants are Eunoia, where you’ll find a poem about dreams in response to Day 28’s question-based prompt, and My Author-itis, where you’ll find a short and witty response to the prompt.

Our featured daily reading is a pre-recorded one, which you can peruse whenever you like. It’s a video of Victoria Chang reading for Berry College in November of last year.

Prompt: this one is called “in the window.” Imagine a window looking into a place or onto a particular scene. What do you see? What’s going on?

Happy writing!


Historically towards the end of Napo I get really sad this daily prompt/practise is coming to an end – but it’s unsustainable for any longer and as Maureen says in today’s post April will come again and so will NaPoWriMo – who knows maybe I will even start calling it GloMoWriMo by 2022…

As it is I have revelled in Napo this year as no paid work has come since the Easter break so I had a chance to lasso much needed dedicated writing time to make headway on projects and actually meet some deadlines. It was an impossible juggle earlier this Spring. So it has been a pleasure to immerse.

If you are feeling sad/withdrawal – may I suggest you plan/map out some writing time for May and continue. The resources Napo have provided this year are rich and you could easily spend 3-4 days sitting with one.

Photo by Cristian Rojas on Pexels.com

Last night I still hadn’t managed to get Prompt Day 28 completed but I had an approach in mind. So I started Day 29 finishing 28 – I have updated the post here with method and an extract.

I also (happily) managed to catch most of The Poetry Project in New York City with Arda Collins and Monica Youn, which was wonderful. There are several festivals online currently and Book Launches, yesterday I had a mammoth diary sheet – a couple of workshops and a handful of readings. I really thought I would be asleep, but was still working online when the event started so I joined and I am so glad I did. It was wonderful to discover these poets, I shall certainly be on the look out for Arda’s new book when it’s released (hopefully in time for my birthday list)!

I am however, relieved that today’s reading is a pre-recorded one especially as I have just half an hour of Napo time, this will be another chunked day approach.

I started with the featured poems. DO YOU HAVE DREAMS? was a great meditation on questions and I loved the invitation to answer one of the questions in the comment boxes below. Wow. Great idea. I had a great look about at Smitha V’s website. I love the bio:

A banker by profession, a blogger by choice, a poet by accident and an artist at heart.

I read and re-read the poem a few times. It’s hard to pick any part out – the questions need each other.

Do you have dreams?
What do you make of them?
Do you see them with your eyes open or closed?

The second featured poem was funny – it reminded me of this poem by Colin McNaughton.

I watched the Victoria Chang reading.

Berry College Creative Writing Reading Series

Nationally recognized poet Victoria Chang will read and discuss her poetry, offering context to each work. Sandra Meek will introduce the poet, establishing Chang’s importance in contemporary American poetry. A Q&A will follow the reading.

Victoria Chang’s poetry books include OBIT, Barbie Chang, The Boss, Salvinia Molesta, and Circle. Her children’s picture book, Is Mommy?, was named a New York Times Notable Book. Her middle grade novel, Love, Love was published by Sterling Publishing. She has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Sustainable Arts Foundation Fellowship, the Poetry Society of America’s Alice Fay Di Castagnola Award, a Pushcart Prize, a Lannan Residency Fellowship, and a MacDowell Colony Fellowship. She lives in Los Angeles and is the Program Chair of Antioch’s Low-Residency MFA Program. She also serves on the National Book Critics Circle Board.

I knew some of Victoria Chang’s work, I have read her poetry before but not for a while. I love her quote in this article in The Stanford Daily ‘I’m just playing with clay’: Victoria Chang on poetry and language. OBIT is something else!

I loved Friendships

Depression is a glove
over the heart.  Depression is an image
of a glove over the image of a heart.

and My Mother’s Teeth

I used to think that a dead person’s words die with them. Now I know that they scatter, looking for meaning to attach to like a scent. My mother used to collect orange blossoms in a small shallow bowl.

And Grief.

I was absorbed by the whole reading, make sure you give your ears and heart the experience today.

You can read a review of OBIT by Anne Graue here. Find out more, read and hear sample poems and extracts from many reviews and order your own copy from Copper Canyon Press.

Copper Canyon Press 2020

Another one for my birthday list.

Then I set about the prompt, which is another well used one (although it tends to be look out of the window – to which every poet internally groans and looks about the room in case it was audible), but the twist here is the imagined window and it’s looking in – which set my newly refreshed mind off in several directions (less painful than it sounds).

I scribbled my initial reactions down, to filter something more or maybe to go back and write next month…

I let the prompt sit with me for a while.

I scared myself slightly with the resulting poem, a dark thriller and had a great time on image searches. I have a packet to be going on with now, but for today just one poem. Here’s an extract, a tiny bit of interior action for you:

I caught her smile

as she unpeeled the corner edge of foil.

I can’t wait to see what other’s have made of this prompt. I shall have a good nose around tomorrow, now I am in the spirit of peering into windows.

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NaPoWriMo 2021 Day 28


Day Twenty-Eight Click here to read the full post.

Our featured participants for the day are Dispellings, which brings us a poem loosely inspired by the word “onism,” and My Fresh Pages, where the poem for Day 27 is based on the world “occhiolism.”

Today’s daily reading is a live event that will take place tomorrow, April 29 from 1:30 – 3:30 p.m. eastern time. Poets Dina GatinaPolina Barskova, and Vlazhyna Mort will be reading from their work and discussing contemporary Russian women’s poetry with professor and translator Ainsley Morse.

Prompt: to write a poem that poses a series of questions. The questions could be a mix of the serious and humorous, the interruptive and the conversational. You can choose to answer them – or just let the questions keep building up, creating a poem that asks the reader to come up with their own answer(s).

Happy writing!


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Today’s prompt… hmmm, questions in poetry? Discuss.

In true NaPo spirit I will do it. Finding out what questions I’ll ask will be fun anyway!

Whilst I ponder that I read the featured poems starting with Dispellings – which I found very atmospheric/cinematic.

the night train spills its guts

4 a.m kunming station iron jaws

the sky a steel plate stained with dawn

such brutal, industrial, stark imagery.

my pockets fill with starch of soggy maps

……. misery

of clogged concrete arteries

and the ending. WOW.

As I read it I had forgotten about the prompt entirely. when I looked back to the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows (such a fabulous resource), I remembered this definition as it was one of the words I’d glanced over, onism. This was certainly captured by/in this poem.

The second featured poem is posted along with a definition of the chosen word. Rachel’s poem Occhiolism explores our perceptions and the irrelevance of them, how we are, unchanged.

It’s a gift you can’t exchange.

Every detail of your script
Makes a unique play,

And even managed to get the word occhiolism into the poem!

I looked at the reading event but know I won’t go, today I am attending so much I need to keep tomorrow fixed as it is with screen gaps and time offline. Once again it clashes with an-already-in-the-diary. I looked up the participants and read some poetry by Vlazhyna Mort and listened to ‘crossword’. Funnily enough one of the events this evening was the Poetry Society Lecture with Terrance Hayes and I have just realised Vlazhyna Mort was the previous speaker – I wasn’t available to attend… but this isn’t the first time Napowrimo has delivered a poet or poem and then I have found them or it making its way back into my line of sight/life.

I still have to write today’s poem – I am currently wearing my editor head – so it’s hard but I can feel the space at the back of my mind filling up with conversations as questions talk to each other.


I started by typing question into a search engine, during 2020 online quizzes soared in popularity as a way people could connect online and so did the internet for base material. I started at the Radio Times because I imagined their researchers would definitely have found the right answers and my initial idea, (a riff off a drama game) was to mismatch the sequence of Q&A.

I was aware that although what a poem is has a wide perimeter, I didn’t feel like a list of questions or a conversation of questions would get us there. I had spent the day with the prompt in mind playing with questions, scribbling a note of ones which came to me. I let my sleeping head play and this morning embarked on writing it.

It was actually fun to write this poem this morning – a conversation between human and AI. Despite not being a fan of questions in poems, I managed a whole string of them.

Another one for the humour cannon maybe (surely I am up to 10).

Which operating system does a Google Pixel phone us?

Dark Rum & Ginger Beer.

NaPoWriMo 2021 Day 27 The OFFICIAL prompt


I was hoping it was a tech issue rather than a problem Maureen was experiencing and much to my relief, it was exactly that. So here is today’s official proper 2021 prompt for Day 27.

Day Twenty-Seven Click to read the full post.

Our featured participants today are A Writer Without Words – Some Motivation Required, who has re-written the lyrics to a song from Les Miserables to tell us the sad tale of a woman whose children demand all her chocolates, and Scrambled, Not Fried, where the lyrics to a patriotic song have been replaced with an homage to grammarians.

Today’s featured reading is a live event that will take place tomorrow, April 28, at 8 p.m. ET. Arda Collins and Monica Youn will be reading at The Poetry Project in New York City.

Prompt: I’d like to challenge you to write a poem inspired by an entry from the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows….. perhaps one of the sorrows will strike a chord with you.

Happy (well . . . sort of ) writing!

PROCESS NOTES: My Napo time is usually first thing so it may be tricky fitting it in now. Plus I did an extra prompt in lieu of today’s technical difficulties on the main site. So have already penned, in addition I have put the hours in on a current writing project too – so I won’t feel guilty about this stop-start approach & now I have managed to FINISH this post!

I also love Les Mis and know the songs well so was delighted to read In My Room By Candace Shultz, the first featured poem. The opening is brilliant and made me smile:

In my room

Hiding from the children

I consume

A giant bar of chocolate

Without them

Candace manages to carry the emotion of the original, somehow…

The world is less delicious

I’m still hungry and the children

Have chocolate on their faces


My life will keep on going

But a world without some chocolate

Is one I’ve never known

Next I read God Bless Grammarians, the second featured poem. Another perfect parody.

So they’re careful what they say
God Bless Grammarians
(it’s ‘we’ not ‘they’)

I check the live reading which is 1 AM BST, so unlikely. I looked up the poets involved.

Arda Collins is the author of It Is Daylight (2009), which was awarded the Yale Series of Younger Poets Prize. Her forthcoming collection of poems will be published in 2022 by The Song Cave. She is a recipient of the Sarton Award in Poetry from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and her work has appeared in The New Yorker, American Poetry Review, A Public Space, Colorado Review, jubilat, and elsewhere. She teaches at Smith College.

Monica Youn is the author of Blackacre (Graywolf Press 2016), which won the William Carlos Williams Award of the Poetry Society of America. It was also shortlisted for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Kingsley Tufts Award, longlisted for the National Book Award, and named one of the best poetry books of 2016 by the New York Times, the Washington Post, and BuzzFeed. Her previous book Ignatz (Four Way Books 2010) was a finalist for the National Book Award. She has been awarded the Levinson Prize from the Poetry Foundation, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Witter Bytter Fellowship from the Library of Congress, and a Stegner Fellowship among other honors. A former lawyer and a member of the Racial Imaginary Institute, she teaches at Princeton and in the MFA programs at NYU and Columbia.

© Academy of American Poets

I love the dictionary resources Maureen Thorson offers us during NaPoWriMo, one I will be coming back to again.

I chose a word which matches my current project and wrote a poem which a version of which may appear in this project.

Opened my door on the world again.

Changed, but alive.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

NaPoWriMo 2021 Day 27


I keep checking but there doesn’t seem to be a prompt today. I hope Maureen is okay. I have chosen to use Day 27 from 2013 NaPoWriMo instead (as I started a year later). I checked the links, they are still active. Enjoy!

Day 27 Click here for the full post (April 27th 2013)

Our poetry-related link today is to the Lit Pub, which publishes book “recommendations,” rather than book “reviews.”

Our participant’s link for the day is grapeling, where all of the poems are joined by one quality — similes and metaphors that really sing.

Prompt: Today, I challenge you to use the wondrous powers of the Internet to help you write. Think of a common proverb or phrase — something like “All that glitters is not gold,” or “If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.” Plug the first three words of the phrase into a search engine. Skim through the first few pages of results, collecting (rather like a poetic magpie) words and phrases that interest you.

Use those words and phrases as the inspirations for a new poem.

Happy writing!


Even though the official prompt has now been posted I thought I should rattle on with this substitute one I posted for today (from 2013). I spent some time looking through Lit Pub and read one review:

Jan 21 The Body Remembers: A Review of Jeannine Ouellette’s The Part That Burns
Bianca Cockr

I then read the featured poem and this link will take you to their poem for today.

The first thing I had to do was choose a phrase. I went for ‘a blessing in disguise’ – which didn’t actually have enough words to randomly choose 3.

Next step hit the search engine with blessing in disguise.

‘We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it’ gives a few more key search words but most are only 2-4/5 words long. I went with the 1st search knowing it would throw back a list of definitions, my poem would make use of. So I started to gather. I collected some images as well and created a little document/mood board. I was also taken back to Anthony Wilson’s website and a John Ashbury’s poem from Rivers and Mountains – A Blessing in Disguise (Ashbury was featured a day or so ago in NaPoWriMo). I unearthed a quotation from 18th Century poet -James Hervey and found that this idiom originated in the 1700s! So even before I set to write a poem for this prompt I felt full, satisfied and happy.

I have a short time slot before my next online event so I am going to use a lot of copy & paste in the construction of this poem. A Found poem.

^^ So I thought – poetry has a mind of its own. As I was compiling my subconscious was ordering and the result was a list poem extracted from examples and reasons from jpegs and dictionary definitions. So not Found poetry or erasure but a brand new build!

Poetry Lego! <That should be a thing! I am fairly happy with the result:

Temporary defeat feeds flowers,

Photo by Miguel u00c1. Padriu00f1u00e1n on Pexels.com

NaPoWriMo 2021 Day 26


Day Twenty-Six Click here to read the post in full.

Today’s featured participants are Barbara Turney Wieland, who has brought us a happy, snappy poem sprinkled with daisies, and Manja Mexi Mexcessive, whose poem about the not-so-normal process of trying to get back to normal!

Our featured daily reading is pre-recordedBrenda Shaughnessy reading for the Chicago Humanities Festival back in 2013.

Prompt: Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a parody. Besides being fun, writing parodies can be a great way to hone your poetic skills – particularly your sense of rhyme and sound, as you try to mimic the form of an existing poem while changing the content.

If you’d like to get some inspiration, consider some poems that Lewis Carroll included in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, which parody the moralistic verse of Isaac Watts. “The Crocodile” is a send-up of Watts’ “How Doth the Little Busy Bee,” while “Tis the Voice of the Lobster” is a parody of Watts’ poem “The Sluggard.” Or, for a briefer and more whimsical poem, consider “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Bat,” which is a parody of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.”

Happy writing!


I had a MAMMOTH NaPoWriMo catch up this morning. Penned a fair few poems and watched several readings. I thoroughly enjoyed today’s reading and discovering the poetry of Brenda Shaughnessy. A NEW FAN here!

I loved revisiting Barbara’s website today. it’s a daisy day!

…. each tiny central golden sun

will remind you, petal, you’ve only just begun

I appreciated the references to the daisy at the end. Particularly the old Celtic Legend:

God sprinkled daisies over the earth to cheer people from grief.

And the second featured poem Liberation Day which is one that will resonant with all of us:

I have a coloured spreadsheet 
with 30 pages and 1000 destinations. 

Today, to celebrate, 
we are going to the big supermarket by the lagoon. 
Crossing the border a day early.

And the photographs taken on the walk are sunshiny joy!

I have experienced Manja’s beautiful blog before *I think I may have discovered it on a previous NaPo year. This was a great way to start the day (even though I actually started today in Day 22 and worked through my gaps from there)!

Before I watched the reading today I read some of Brenda’s incredible poems on the Poetry Foundation website. As I already mentioned I loved today’s reading and discovering a new-to-me poet.

Chicago Humanities Festival

Ever since her debut collection “Interior with Sudden Joy” and follow-up “Human Dark With Sugar,” poet Brenda Shaughnessy’s taut and dazzling words have undone us. “Our Andromeda” is her latest volume. Invoking both constellation and Greek mythology, its poems center on a mother and poet. In language that is sharp and sly, wrenching and wry, she grapples with the gulf between expectations and reality in the worlds of motherhood, poetry, and art.

Join Shaughnessy, a professor of English at Rutgers University and the poetry editor-at-large of Tin House, for a reading and conversation about her work. This program was recorded on October 20, 2013 as part of the 24th annual Chicago Humanities Festival.

I particularly enjoyed At the Book Shrink and Vanity and the Q&A afterwards.

As for the prompt – I have only ever written one parody and I was at a loss as to where to go for base material. In the end I went to the Poetry Foundation and closed my eyes and randomly picked a poem. Still Life with Summer Sausage A Blade and No Blood by VIEVEE FRANCIS. It was an interesting exercise but I don’t feel I have chosen a poem a parody will add anything to here. I will look out for some perfect parody material and try again in the future.

……. She gave me some winter berries,

on a spoon. I pulled the raspberries

out first.