Tag Archives: NaPo Prompts

NaPoWriMo 2020 Day 20



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As of today, we are 2/3 through this year’s Na/GloPoWriMo! I hope you feel rich in poems.

Today, our featured participant is Chitraksh Ashray, where the “walking archive” prompt for Day 19 resulted in the charming tale of a magical stone.

Our poetry resource for today is Commonplace, a podcast that features “conversations with poets (and other people.”)

Today, in gratitude for making it to Day 20, our prompt asks you to write a poem about a handmade or homemade gift that you have received. 


Chitraksh’s poem reminded me of a forgotten object, a quartz stone I had as a child, half on my windowsill & half which my parents had.

I love the poetry resource, I had a quick dip in and listen and will be back to have a proper look and listen during lockdown.

I have so many handmade gifts I could write about and many that I will write over time. I created a long list of remembered and treasured gifts, I also quite enjoyed the examples given in the original prompt;

‘It could be a friendship bracelet made for you by a grade-school classmate, an itchy sweater from your Aunt Louisa, a plateful of cinnamon toast from your grandmother, a mix-tape from an old girlfriend.’

I can see myself writing around this topic for a while!


As of today, we are 2/3 through this year’s Na/GloPoWriMo! I hope you feel rich in poems.

NaPoWriMo 2020 Day 19



Read the full post here.

Our featured participant is My Musings Through Life, where the “small pleasures” prompt for Day 18 gives voice to the joy of flowers, time with family, tea, and hearing the birds sing.

Today’s poetry resource is a podcast from the Poetry Translation Centre. This podcast is a great way to learn more about contemporary poetry in other countries!

Today, our prompt challenges you to write a poem based on a “walking archive.”

… Go on a walk and gather up interesting thing – a flower, a strange piece of bark, a rock. This then becomes your “walking archive” – the physical instantiation of your walk.

If you’re unable to get out of the house (as many of us now are), you can create a “walking archive” by wandering around your own home and gathering knick-knacks, family photos, maybe a strange spice or kitchen gadget you never use.

One you’ve finished your gathering, lay all your materials out on  a tray table, like museum specimens. Now, let your group of materials inspire your poem! You can write about just one of the things you’ve gathered, or how all of them are all linked, or even what they say about you, who chose them and brought them together.


I enjoyed finding the treasures in the poem. I visited the Translation Centre and decided to listen to this one https://www.poetrytranslation.org/podcasts/to-catch-butterflies-by-noshi-gillani-2 I will come back to this resource and listen to others. I have always enjoyed reading translated poetry, something about the catch of language, word usage and order. I have also heard a fair share of performances /readings in languages I do not speak, I enjoy the music, the rhythm, not quite understanding. I hear the shape of words.

I have been confined to my house and garden for a month now, so today I chose to create my trail around my house. I delighted in today’s NaPo prompt. My poem resulted in not using all the items I had gathered. I liked the idea of observing them as artefacts/ museum display this put a different flavour into the work which otherwise may not have existed.

NaPoWriMo 2020 Day 18



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Today’s featured participant is soulfluff, where the “forgotten technology” prompt for Day 17 engendered an ode to typewriters.

Featured resource a PDF version of Eugene Ostashevksy’s 2008 chapbook “Enter Morris Imposternak, Pursued by Ironies.” (Click on “Read Online” to do just that).

Prompt -write an ode to life’s small pleasures. Perhaps it’s the first sip of your morning coffee. Or finding some money in the pockets of an old jacket…


My immediate thought was -why did I struggle choosing an old tech yesterday, a typewriter… so obvious! I could definitely write the poem titled How Do You Lose a Typewriter? Will add it to the list of poems to be written!

I read the participant poem. I really enjoyed the depth in today’s poem and the style. I lingered on the blog for a bit and read other NaPo poems. I added the site to my reader and will indulge when I have a break of time to enjoy. My reading brain and writing brain struggle to exist together.

Also I know I want to spend some time reading  Eugene Ostashevksy’s 2008 chapbook, now I know what you’re thinking – it’s Saturday and you are in lockdown, you have all the time but it is the weekend which means I am not home alone, which means there is a lot more on the agenda than indulging my poetry skin.

I checked out some of the other links on the Ugly Duckling Presse page and am leaving a few here. This video is definitely something you can sit back and enjoy!

And a real treat at 45 mins – book yourself some time to come and watch this reading.

I also read the interview https://www.musicandliterature.org/features/2017/4/4/a-conversation-with-eugene-ostashevsky and made a note of the review to read after I had spent time reading the chapbook for myself. http://galatearesurrection10.blogspot.com/2008/07/enter-morris-imposternak-pursued-by.html

I used a list of small pleasures on my Positivity Project page a few days ago. I enjoy writing lists of things that bring happiness and joy, but it is a little too obvious to just write a list poem. So I am going to carry my thoughts and listen to the rain or Eugene Ostashevksy for a bit and write later.

I will be back to update this post.



NaPoWriMo 2020 Day 17



Read the full post here (although today it is pretty complete).

Our featured participant today is The Great Unknown, where Day Sixteen’s over-the-top prompt led to a poem rife with onamotapoeia, superlatives, and ebullient sarcasm.

Our resource for the day is the Poetry Foundation’s VS podcast, hosted by poets Franny Choi and Danez Smith. Every two weeks, they release a new episode in which they interview contemporary poets, and otherwise talk about what is going on in the world of poetry and beyond.

Today, I challenge you to write a poem that features forgotten technology. Maybe it’s a VCR, or a rotary phone. A cassette player or even a radio. If you’re looking for a potential example, check out this poem by Adam Clay, which takes its central metaphor from something that used to stoke fear in the hearts of kids typing term papers, or just trying to play a game of Oregon Trail.



As always I worked through the day almost chronologically – checking The Great Unknown before listening to the resource. The poem was very full and packed with wordplay and some great lines, I also checked out some of the jewellery blog posts before re-reading and seeing the part that creativity has to play in this poem.
I am enjoying a variety of podcasts having only recently (2 weeks ago) started to listen to them. I did one today as morning meditation (to be fair it was actually a meditation podcast).

I enjoyed the podcast and wrote some notes as they chatted because you can find sparks of inspiration everywhere!

I particularly liked ‘my ugliest leggings’ and ‘cleaning the dust off the outside of my windows’… ‘what I can do is mop and sweep… clean these counters’… Danez Smith.
I think I may be the only resident in my road/ the whole of the UK who didn’t start lockdown with a massive, deep clean! I know taking inspiration from the introductory chitchat was not Maureen’s intention in sharing this poetry resource but it set my mind racing! I liked the fact they also included poetry prompts and I shall tune in to listen again.

I love the idea of writing about forgotten tech and I was more comfortable in our simpler, pre-digital times. So my initial mind map was easy to fill a page with! Sadly I still have a VCR/a camcorder/some audio cassettes and videos! Maybe I shouldn’t openly admit that.

Choosing just one will be tough. Once I had my ideas I treated myself to Adam Clay – I enjoyed the Poetry Today website too. Then I went to discover what an earth the Oregon Trail was! I remember as a child playing on the Commodore 64 (which was the PC you had in the 80s if you didn’t have Amstrad)! I played a Sherpa game a little like this one – some expedition to the North Pole – will reserve this game for later in the lockdown.

I copied some of the photographs of old tech from the suggested website and started to decide from them and my list what subject to write about. I chose old mobile phones.

NaPoWriMo 2020 Day 16



Read the full post here.

Featured participant is: MD Kerr, who provides an audio recording of her musically-inspired poem from Day Fifteen.

Our poetry resource for the day is this PDF of Aram Saroyan’s Electric Poems, first published in 1972. Saroyan is known for his minimalist poetry. Often, his poems consist of re-mixed/chopped versions of a single word. In fact, one of his most famous one-word poems engendered some controversy in the U.S. Congress!

Today’s prompt rather than encouraging minimalism, we challenge you to write a poem of over-the-top compliments. Pick a person, place, or thing you love, and praise it in the most effusive way you can. Go for broke with metaphors, similes, and more. Need a little inspiration? Perhaps you’ll find it in the lyrics of Cole Porter’s “You’re The Top.” 


I always enjoy listening to a poet reading their own work and it was interesting to hear about MD Kerr’s synathesia as it was mentioned on an earlier NaPo prompt, Day 5 No.4 on Jim Simmerman’s list of Twenty Little Poetry Projects.

We are welcomed into her head and as thoughts, the directions of this poem change directly swiftly and is very visceral. Love that strong endline -…  a thousand little pebbles crash – it lingers. I listened to the poem several times. Beautiful work. I thoroughly enjoyed the participant poem today.

As you know, I love a free book so I was looking forward to indulging in the resource. I tend to stay clear of minimalism, choosing to have more words for my money (joke)! I love an eclipse though and the concept of this book which came from a time before I existed and must have been fairly groundbreaking work. I read it (I don’t think you can download this one) for a poet of minimalism there is a lot being said. As suggested ‘Big thoughts’. And remarkably it builds up that expectancy in the same way that witnessing the eclipse does. An enjoyable quiet, calm read.

I read up on Aram Saroyan and tried his website – which is linked on the Poetry Foundation page but doesn’t actually work. So I did a search and watched a couple of  readings instead from 2010. Interesting snippets of his life from ‘Door to the River’.



And a poem…

Performance of “Crickets” a one-word poem by Aram Saroyan, during Other Minds Festival 23 – Sound Poetry: The Wages of Syntax. Recorded on April 9, 2018, at ODC Theater in San Francisco, CA.

I went on to read the controversy surrounding one of his one word poems. I was surprised to find out what the word was, it wasn’t the one I imagined. Far more poetic. I went in to read one of the referenced articles, from the Mother Jones Magazine, which can be found here.

I then knew I was down the NaPo Rabbit Hole – again!

And after watching ‘Crickets’ wasn’t sure I wanted to write a poem with lots of words – but I read the example resource and made a start. I decided this was another prompt that could work towards a current project so I sat down and mind-mapped. I did it on the computer as I have so many to type up now and editing is easier!

I managed a stanza and then decided that this might be the entire poem, we will see. I want to do some more reading around my subject, if not – I have created a nugget which wouldn’t exist without NaPo!

NaPoWriMo 2020 Day 15



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Today marks the halfway point of NaPoWriMo/GloPoWriMo 2020. 

Our featured participant today is Bag of Anything, where you will find a bouquet of humorous clerihews in response to Day Fourteen’s inspirational prompt.

Today’s poetry resource is this PDF of Fred Moten’s first chapbook, Arkansas. Since publishing it in 2000, he has published numerous full-length poetry collections, including The Feel Trio, which was a finalist for the National Book Award in 2014. 

Our prompt takes its cue from Arkansas. Today, I’d like  to challenge you to write a poem inspired by your favorite kind of music. Try to recreate the sounds and timing of a pop ballad, a jazz improvisation, or a Bach fugue. That could mean incorporating refrains, neologisms and flights of whimsy, or repeating/inverting lines or ideas. Perhaps a good way to start is to listen to your favorite piece of music and “free-write” for the duration  of the piece, and then use what you’ve written as the building blocks for your poem.


This year, I have been using a notebook for my NaPo scribbles, which means I have a 10 day backlog of work that needs typing up and filing, I started the catch up this morning.

I am happy with today’s prompt, I have often used music to create poetry in workshops, for projects and just at my desk. I usually work in silence so it does make an impact.

I attended a workshop with Rishi Dastidar a few years ago at Swindon Poetry Festival, it was set around his collection ‘Ticker Tape’ (2017) and we used different musical tracks // playlist to freewrite.

©Wasafiri Magazine

I also love a NaPo chapbook resource and discovering poets and poems I do not know.

I started (as always) at the participating site. I enjoyed the poet archive of the clerihews, although it is not a form I like to write or read particularly, inspired to finish with the poet who gave us the form to begin with.

I saved the PDF for a good read post-NaPo and read up on Fred Moten. I also didn’t want to read his poems until after I had attempted the prompt. I read the review of The Feel Trio;

‘Moten keeps the music in the words. Often he’s swinging out boastful declarations like some young rap M.C. … in lines where…  he sketches out his thoughts when “on tour” a playbook of the poet on the road.’


Then I went off to find some music to work with. I chose a track I used to listen to half a lifetime ago and it gifted me some surprising results!


NaPoWriMo 2020 Day 2



You can read the full post here Day Two

Happy Thursday, all. I hope that your first day of Na/GloPoWriMo went swimmingly, and that you are ready for another dip in the refreshing pool of poetry!

Featured participant is Poem Dive, where Day 1’s life-as-metaphor prompt generated a visually arresting reverie rooted in painting and internet research.

Our poetry resource for today is this PDF of a short, rather whimsical chapbook by the Pulitzer Prize-winnning poet James Schuyler, whose poems are known for constantly mixing together spoken language, observations about the weather, high and low diction, and for their attention to the profundities (and absurdities) of everyday life.

Our prompt for the day takes a leaf from Schuyler’s book – write a poem about a specific place —  a particular house or store or school or office. Try to incorporate concrete details, like street names, distances (“three and a half blocks from the post office”), the types of trees or flowers, the color of the shirts on the people you remember there. Little details like this can really help the reader imagine not only the place, but its mood – and can take your poem to weird and wild places.

Happy writing!



A great many poets share their NaPo poems across social media so I spent some time reading other people’s metaphor poems yesterday, depending on how much time I have I sometimes go and check out the participant sites on napowrimo.net I also like reading the poems that are chosen each day. So this is where I started this morning.

I downloaded the PDF version of ‘Damage’ – I thought the combination of activities was an interesting take on the metaphor prompt. I wished the typesetting had been intentional – a happy accident at least. I liked the different narrative voices and the universal knowledge of these activities. Some power lines here. A much more substantial poem than the effort I was able to produce on Day 1.

I also enjoy discovering new voices through the resources and reading work that I may not otherwise discover. I had fun exploring the chapbook and loved that it is about a place local to me that I know well.


I was interested not only in the writing but the format of the chapbook, how it was made.

I then looked at James Schuyler

As far as the prompt – this is the sort of writing I do often. So I wanted to choose a place I had not written about before. Again, bearing in mind my current projects I knew what I wanted to use to write.

I started my writing with a search for maps, to remind me of the names of streets I have not walked down for 2 years. I searched for a company website and harvested some images shared online from the place. I wrote and edited and wrote again. Three treatments later (I know part of the theory of NaPo is to silence the inner editor and not work on the poems until May or later) but I want my rough poems to be vaguely polished this year because they are forming part of a body of an already project and will be more useful this way. I wrote about a Deli and for the 2nd time in as many days there was a topical reference to the world crisis.




NaPoWriMo 2019 Day 30


napofeature4 (1)

Our last day!

Today was a day filled with the anxiety of a hospital appointment I have had to wait 6 weeks for, so I read the prompt and checked out the resources but did not have time to complete any writing. (I did spend 3 hours making new animation!) My head was not in the right frame of mind for poetry. By 10:30 PM when I came to post, our internet was down and all I could do was copy and paste on my very old mobile phone, so wasn’t sure if the links were active.

On waking (1st May) I had a little sinking feeling (like post-Christmas blues), NaPo was over and then I remembered I still had to complete yesterday’s write – and this made me happy. Then I thought about all the things I should have time to do now NaPo is over and how proud I am for having completed the challenge. This year has been easier in a way (I have done it since 2013 when I embarked on my writing life), because I am off from work and have more time than ever before, I cannot do much and it is frustrating to be so restricted. However, I can now manage desk time and no longer take the medication which drained me of creativity and consciousness… ! so, I have time to write and NaPo has eaten up daylight hours for me. It has also gifted me the opportunity of writing again, I feel well and truly quenched.

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


Day Thirty

Our featured participant for the day is Summer Blues, where the meditative prompt for Day Twenty-Nine gave rise to not one, but two, wry and poignant poems.

Today’s video resource is this short film in which the artist Iris Colomb “translates” the minimalist poems of the Russian poet Eta Dahlia into gesture drawings. This is another great illustration of the way that poetry and other art forms can intersect and inspire one another. This video also shows that the rhythms and sounds of poetry can cross language boundaries, allowing a form of communication beyond the merely literal.

And last but not least, now for our final prompt for this year! Taking a leaf from our video resource, I’d like you to try your hand at a minimalist poem. A poem that is quite short, quickly/ simply capture an image or emotion. Haiku are probably the most familiar and traditional form of minimalist poetry, but there are plenty of very short poems out there that do not use the haiku form. There’s even an extreme style of minimalism in the form of one-word and other “highly compressed” poems. Think of your own poem for the day as a form of gesture drawing. Perhaps you might start from a concrete noun with a lot of sensory connotations, like “Butter” or “Sandpaper,” or “Raindrop” and 
– quickly, lightly – go from there.

Happy writing!


NaPo Process Notes
photo of vintage stationery

Photo by Ylanite Koppens on Pexels.com

I started by reading the poems on Summer Blues , I read them over and over. I fell in love with Natasa Bozic Grojic’s blog and had a good read around. Her featured poems are beautiful and caught my breath as I read, of course I have saved her featured poems to the resource file for today – because I don’t want to lose those words.

I was also delighted to hear how happy this year’s challenge had made her feel and how a one word poem, created a while ago, had now found that it could be credited as a poem and displayed. Poignant.

When I did NaNoWriMo – both camp and full on November challenge (back in 2013), there were these small buttons you could display (see Homepage) and despite people creating jpegs for NaPo I have never found such a thing. Here on Natasa’s website, I found she had used the annual banners to create ‘I have completed…’ buttons which is an idea I am going to Magpie, AWF needs some updating. We have both been participants since 2013.

I love her joy, reflecting on being a featured participant. Natasa’s poems were a wonderful way to step into today. It was hard to tear myself away from her website!

Before I watched the video. I played in a different (hidden) window, listening only to the language. The metre/rhythm/voice of the poem. You almost begin to understand, the repetition of the line helps and the similarity between some words.

Then I watched it properly.

Semechki (Семечки) is a series of experimental translations of Eta Dahlia’s minimalist Russian poems into gestural drawings by Iris Colomb.

I read the article on minimalist poetry, I particularly liked;



By George Swede

The closest attempt I have made at this genre has been through teaching Wordplay in schools and back in 2015, where as part of a workshop we looked at the work of e.e cummings and emulated it. Although not strictly minimalist, my poems were by comparison to what I was writing at the time.

The article was full of great examples, I enjoyed the typography. I felt like I was back in the world of study again.

On Writing 

person holding white ceramci be happy painted mug

Photo by Lisa Fotios on Pexels.com

I started with a quick skip around the internet to discover minimalist poetry – examples and the history of it – although the referenced articles covered it well. I then started to think about words which have other words in them.

What I like about today’s prompt is I get to share entire poems with you. I started with highly compressed/ one word poems.

This is dark, I wrote it and then used Special Characters to change the typography (and I hope) portray the vileness/threat of the statement. Apologies for the content. Try thinking of the Wicked Witch of the West and it won’t seem so violent!


Smot her



$ƜÕƮ ʉɚȑ



I thought smot was a made-up word which I was using like swot – (swat), I was a little horrified when I identified the Urban dictionary definition. I guess it changes the context to smoke her… which still mirrors the violence.

I don’t really like what this poem has become or the connotation of it all – but it is part of the writing process and as a starting point, I am sharing.

After this initial write, I discovered this list of words which is a good source of words inhabited in other words. So I wanted to try again and create a more suitable/shareable/less horrible poem!

Next I created this –










Which I was more happy with. I thought of Small age – as being a toddler, a youngster. I then discovered it was a plant, celery – so that is why I chose to display it vertically like a stalk.

I think the one word poems have to come to you, rather than seeking them. So I left it there to move on to composing a short form poem.

I took the concrete noun prompt ‘butter’ and wrote:




butter melts.


Which is satisfying. But then I got enticed by butte… which aside from being a county in Montana is also an isolated hill/mountain. So I extended the minimal and wrote these poems.


Too Substantial

butter melts
not like
a county
will not fit
in my frying pan.


And then I wrote this one, which has my favourite play-on-words title of the day!



butter melts
not butte
which rises

I could play like this all day, but have spent nearly two hours online and have lots to do. I will have another play around another day.

I hope you have enjoyed NaPoWriMo as much as I have, see you next year!

business chair coffee computer

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com


NaPoWriMo 2019 Day 29



I cannot believe it is the penultimate day of NaPoWriMo. Pens at the ready!

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


Day Twenty-Nine

Today’s featured participant is Voyage des Mots, where the meta-poem for Day Twenty-Eight called forth a lovely ode on a teacher.

Today’s video resource is this short reflection by the poet Lucille Clifton on “Where Ideas Come From.” This video really speaks to me because I have often found myself feeling short of ideas, or that the ideas that I have aren’t “good enough” to become a poem. One of the goals of Na/GloPoWriMo is to help poets push past all these inner voices and editors, and just get words on the page, without worrying too much about whether they’re good, bad, or indifferent. When you stop trying to assign a value to things that haven’t even been written yet, you find ideas everywhere! 

Prompt: The poet William Wordsworth once said that “Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility.” For Wordsworth, a poem was the calm after the storm – an opportunity to remember and summon up emotion, but at a time and place that allowed the poet to calmly review, direct and control those feelings. A somewhat similar concept is expressed through the tradition of philosophically-inclined poems explicitly labeled as “meditations,” – like Robert Hass’s “Meditation at Lagunitas,” the charming Frank O’Hara prose poem, “Meditations in an Emergency,” or Charles Baudelaire’s “Meditation.”

Today, I’d like to challenge you to blend these concepts into your own work, by producing a poem that meditates, from a position of tranquility, on an emotion you have felt powerfully. You might try including a dramatic, declarative statement, like Hass’s “All the new thinking is about loss,” or O’Hara’s “It is easy to be beautiful; it is difficult to appear so.” Or, like, Baudelaire, you might try addressing your feeling directly, as if it were a person you could talk to. There are as many approaches to this as there are poets, and poems.

Happy writing!


NaPo Process Notes 

black and white blur book business

Photo by Tookapic on Pexels.com

I started on the participants site. A lovely ode to a teacher. Some beautiful imagery and every time I thought I had scrolled to the endline, there was more.

I then watched the video.

I love today’s idea theme.

Then I read the meditations. I saved them to the poetry resources file.

On Writing 

I knew the emotion – frustration – it is something I have been living with for the past 7 months, since suffering ill health.

I used the final prompt idea and like Baudelaire, I addressed the feeling directly, made it a person. I wrote a poem called Unresolved, it has 5 stanzas. The end brings a tear to my eye.

Sometimes we converse on deeper matters,
you are kinder to me than pain ever was.

NaPoWriMo 2019 Round Up Week 4



What a week it has been. Let’s get growing – for sure!

This week NaPoWriMo has helped me discover new artists, poets and forms. I have written poems, created poetry film animations and read widely. This is when NaPo works best, I feel inspired and fulfilled.

I always enjoy research and many of my poems call for a lot of it. This week has been no exception to that, I spent the first part of it almost glued to the National Geographic. It was quite an animal filled week.

This week I discovered the incredible art of body painter Gesine Marwedel and the intriguing manipulation of artist Laura Christensen. I researched Seahorses, Whooping Cranes and the Smalltooth Swordfish. I discovered the latter was an endangered species and only 5 species of Swordfish still exist! I created a poetry film animation called Looking for Swordfish in Costa Rica, which I showed over the weekend at our Worcester Film Poetry Collective meeting.  There may be a series of Eco Animations created on the back of this and none of it would have happened without NaPoWriMo.

I revisited the wonderful work of Marie Craven in Dictionary Illustrations, one of my favourite pieces to be shared at the Worcester Film Poetry Collective. I wrote a poem involving both a Whooping Crane and a Buick Engine Manual.

I wrote about spring and discovered the work of Jericho Brown, tried a new form of poetry, the Duplex, tore my hair out over Shakespearean sonnets and read lots of poems, articles and interviews. I feel like I have completed a study week!

This week’s poems:

After German artist Gesine Marwedel

Looking for Swordfish in Costa Rica

Buick Bird

North of the Equator – which I edited and then took to Stanza.

Remains – my first Duplex

Grounded Flight


Ars Poetica

There are only 2 days of NaPo left, which I cannot believe! This month of writing has passed quickly. It has been a joy to write again, my 6 months of illness has resulted in very little creativity. I am becoming again, which is good and fills me with relief.


And the two remaining days of April brought riches, on Day 29 I indulged in the referenced Meditation poetry and wrote another poem about illness.


On the final day of NaPo I had great fun with wordplay and minimalist poetry.



*Celery (which is the same poem as Cultivated with different Typography)

Too Substantial



It has been a good year!

I have thoroughly enjoyed most days and have managed to write 40 poems, created two animated poetry films, added several blogs to my Reader and discovered lots of new-to-me poets, artists and resources.