Well, everyone, another NaPoWriMo/GloPoWriMo has come and gone. I hope you enjoyed the challenge, and even if you didn’t get all the way to 30 poems, that you had fun along the way! I also hope you’re ready for NaPoReMo/GloPoReMo, or National/Global Poetry Revision Month (just kidding).
We have one last featured participant for the year: When the Dogs Bite, where the repetition poem for Day 30 is about a panoply of dogs on their daily walk.
Thanks, as always, to everyone who signed up, everyone who commented, sent encouraging notes, and gave their time to writing as part of NaPoWriMo/GloPoWriMo. This project wouldn’t exist without you!
I will leave the list of participants up until we being our housecleaning in anticipating of NaPoWriMo/GloPoWriMo 2018! Regardless, all of of the posts and comments will remain available.
This was my 4th year participating in Napo and I have to say the most enjoyable yet and the most committed to using prompts from several sources.
Yesterday I spent most of the day rehearsing and performing at Stourbridge Literature Festival and was out for about 8 hours, before I left, I wrote my final prompt poem from Carrie Etter’s group. I had plans for writing and submission when I got home, but then had an impromptu night with neighbours and didn’t write this last Naponet prompt poem until this morning.
Yesterday I read the prompt and started listing things that repeat.
Well, everyone, we all knew it was coming . . . today is the thirtieth of April, and the final day of NaPoWriMo/GloPoWriMo 2017. I hope all of you had fun, and that if you didn’t get 30 poems, you got at least a few!
As is usual, I’ll be back tomorrow with our final featured participant. I’ll also keep the participants’ list up and live until we start to get the site ready for next year, when we’ll go “dark” for a bit of annual housekeeping. And of course, all this year’s posts and comments will remain as a permanent part of our archives.
Our featured participant for the day is Words from a Lydian World, where the favorite-word poem for Day 29 has the lyrical sense of a song, and the mysterious feeling of a fairy tale.
Today’s interview is with Cathy Park Hong, whose pop-culture-filled verse explores language, genre and place, wheeling between the American west and the tech-industrial boomtowns of Asia. You can read more about here, and you will find two of her poems here, and another here.
And finally, our final prompt – at least until next year! Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem about something that happens again and again (kind of like NaPoWriMo/GloPoWriMo). It could be the setting of the sun, or your Aunt Georgia telling the same story at Thanksgiving every single year. It could be the swallows returning to Capistrano or how, without fail, you will lock your keys in the car whenever you go to the beach.
In the end, this morning I took a scientific route involved atoms, crystallised theory and polysomnography. I spent some time taking notes before settling on the idea of writing about the sleep cycle.
I am perfectly happy with the final result of my last NaPo poem – although I am tempted to write just one more – as it will make 100 poems for April!
you know nothing of this
or your pillow.
Carrie Etter’s final prompt was to use a song you loved as a teenager and describe the scene of listening, allowing the reader to discern how the song made you feel.
This is not a poem that enthrals me, but when researching I did happen upon other tracks which hold significant memory so it is a task I may return to.
I’d sing this one
gymnastically hanging off
my friend’s huge climbing frame…
Jo Bell finalised NaPoReMo with an ancient 4 line gem.
I wanted something that would take us back to the essence of poetry. I wanted a poem that would remind us why we write, how simple it can be at base – and how reading well helps us to write well, which has been the whole point of these blogs. So instead of Auden’s magnificent, multi-layered reflective poem (which I urge you to read anyway), I offer you this ancient gem. – Jo Bell
The Poetry School finished with Julia Bird and the Cover Letter.
Good Morning! We made it to the end of the month! At PSHQ we’ve been overwhelmed with the response to NaPoWriMo – the numbers of you taking part, the commitment of your participation, the quality of your poems. Thank you very much for joining in, and we hope you’ve enjoyed yourselves.
As always NaPoWriMo takes over April and makes it challenging to keep other blog posts up to date. I have made an effort to keep the blog NaPo intentionally this month with a few posts breaking the thread. I have had some amazing experiences this month which deserve a dedicated blogging. I plan to pepper them in throughout May.
I was asked to co-ordinate an event for a Festival I am already involved with – this task took the best part of a fortnight. But I am happy that it is all now booked and in place for this summer. I spent further weeks this month planning and organising the events for an Arts Festival in July.
I went to an editing workshop. Taking with me a poem from 2014 that has never fully worked. I can safely say it has the treatment now and just in time because it formed part of the set I performed at The Poetry Ballroom.
I experienced the Poetry Ballroom. Suz Winspear (this year’s Worcestershire Poet Laureate) organised this event in partnership with DanceFest. It was an amazing night. I will be blogging a full write up in May, I was honoured to be an invited performer at the event and had great fun writing some dance poems especially for it. The evening was a sound success and the dancers appreciated the theme of our poetry – not realising that we would focus on dance. As an ex-dancer, it was a pleasure.
I was asked to endorse a book (my 2nd one). The first book I endorsed is due to launch in May, more on that next month too. I am currently reading this manuscript and am delighted that the publishers thought of me.
I was asked to read at a Book Launch next month. I have spent some time this month penning new poems for this occasion. To be honest the poems were also part of NaPoWriMo, but why not make your projects work hard for you. Lots of prompts leant themselves to current project pies I have my thumbs in, so given half a chance…
I went to a reading at The Hive with Sarah Leavesley & Melissa Lee-Houghton. I was really excited by this. Ruth Stacey had arranged it for her students at university and just gave a bit of a quiet shout out.
Being part of an audience of students, listening to their woes made me glad this wasn’t my life anymore. It is all to easy to glamorize the undergraduate/post grad life… but really… as much pressure as the real world.
I loved hearing Sarah read from Magnetic Diaries again after all this time and it was a real treat to hear Melissa Lee-Houghton, as she sadly couldn’t make Verve festival in the end. It was a great evening and I am glad I managed the post work rush to get there. Had to drive a hire car too – as my window decided to malfunction and I spent over an hour finding a garage willing to help me so late on in the day. The window was stuck in the down position. My lesson: using air con is cheaper in the long run!
I spent time writing the brief for a 2nd poetry festival event, involving the other two poets. It is amazing how many days it can take 3 poets to come up with less than 3 lines!
Back in February (my month of applications), I applied for Room 204 Writer Development Programme run by WWM. They had over 130 applicants this year for 15 places. I am delighted to announce the embargo has lifted and I can share this news. We had our first cohort meeting – what a great year to be in, so much talent. We had a photo shoot (one I wanted a haircut and weight-loss for) – neither happened in the days beforehand, but Paul Stringer is a talented photographer. It was a fun morning, we were all so excited to be part of the 2017/18 cohort and already good things have happened as a result. There is a whole year of mentoring and career development ahead, over £1000 worth. Priceless if you ask me.
I am extremely excited to be part of Room 204, I discovered it back in 2013 and have been biding my time and developing my writing to the point I thought I was able to qualify for a place on the scheme. I am grateful my application was successful. That my writing stood up to the scrutiny and competition. Here’s the rest of this year’s cohort
I also reconnected with a good friend of mine afterwards and we plan to exchange books and do lunch next time I am back in the area. I used to spend more time in Birmingham than I do at the moment. I am spending less time on the road this year and more time at the desk, the natural pattern of a writer. It was good catching up.
Went to an incredibly exciting meeting at the Custard Factory for this year’s Room 204 programme, which we were embargoed about. The news was finally released on the 11/12th.
Started typing NaPo poems, I decided to write longhand this year, which gave me that workshop feeling as much of my writing is straight to screen nowadays. It meant I successfully completed the challenge with 97 poems by the end of the month, however I have typed about 10 to edit so far.
Made a promotional Easter video for Fragile Houses. I was reading advice on marketing and promotion and find it hard to detail what my pamphlet with give you beyond shared experience, memory and space to work through mirrored realities. Which all seems a high promise or at the worst an abstract manifesto. Then I thought about chocolate, the calories (personally delighted this year to have so many eggs and treats). Had another 3 eggs after this photo was taken!
I spent half a day making the video. Poetry – less calories than chocolate. Maybe I should have offered a free egg with every book sold.
I booked onto a Room 204 event for later in the month.
Started writing a book review and went to see Kate Bush tribute Cloudbusting with Mr G.
I missed License to Rhyme again as the next day I was going to Swindon. Rick Saunders aka Willis the Poet was headlining and he was happy to take me on the road trip. It was a cracking night at Oooh Beehive – a night that Clive Oseman and Nick Lovell started a while ago. Swindon is quite a way on a school night and it was the early hours by the time I was home, but it was the Easter holidays and I am glad I managed it. Lovely to see Sam Loveless and Edward, who I met at the Poetry Festival last year.
I went to HOWL and watched amazing headline sets from Charley Barnes, Tom McCann and Rhythmical Mike. It was a great night and I was happy I made an open mic spot. It was fabulous to see everyone again.
I went to SpeakEasy where Gareth Owens was headlining. That was a good night too – rare these days that I manage 3 nights on the hoof like this. I spent the day beforehand making media for an upcoming festival shoe and dealing with programme copy.
It was nice to escape for a few hours and immerse myself in poetry.
The Beltane Anthology for 2017 was published by Three Drops from a Cauldron, which has my Rag Tree poem in it. I know you should never judge a book by the cover – but with this stunning design, who wouldn’t want to see their poetry inside!
Featuring poetry and flash fiction by Jane Burn, Rhiannon Hooson, Alison Stone, Denise Blake, Abigail Elizabeth Ottley Wyatt, Eleanor Penny, Tom Moody, Bee Smith, Rebecca Buchanan, Rebecca Gethin, Nina Lewis, Wendy Mannis Scher, Ceinwen E. Cariad Haydon, Sarah Hart, Raquel Vasquez Gilliland, Kitty Coles, Donald Illich, Dennis Trujillo, Lesley Burt, Cynthia June Long, Vivien Jones, Moyra Donaldson, Maggie Mackay, Bethany Rivers, Lewis Buxton, Carmina Masoliver, Nico Solheim-Davidson, R.M. Francis, Linda Goulden, Ilse Pedler, and Joanna Swan.
Edited by Kate Garrett, with the Three Drops from a Cauldron editorial team: Becca Goodin, Loma Jones, Amy Kinsman, Holly Magill, Penny Sharman, Grant Tarbard, and Claire Walker.
I had a free writing webinar with The Writers Academy & Penguin Random House, it was an interesting few hours, although I wrote copious notes not realising they were sending follow up information via email.
I had my first Room 204 1 to 1 session, we get 3 over the course of the year. It was useful and I have already started working on decisions.
I spent an entire day co-ordinating and planning for festival events.
Holly Daffurn has started a new venture – at Bottles Wine Bar, ‘Uncorked’ an evening of Spoken Word, there were over 50 tickets sold and the night was divided into 3 parts with 5 headliners and open mic. Ambitious scheduling, beautiful venue and a stellar line up made for a perfect evening.
I performed on the open mic. Brilliant Headliners: Jasmine Gardosi, Casey Bailey, Holly Daffurn, Leon Priestnall & Joe Cooke
The Spring edition of Birmingham Literature Festival happened and despite a fantastic programme (all well received), I was unable to make it across to the city for any events. I even missed Cynthia Miller’s Primers Launch.
I had my WWM group which meant I couldn’t attend some of the events/workshops on Saturday. The group went really well, we made our own magazines. I have since planned the final two session, so feel ahead of the game.
I booked tickets to go and see Carol Ann Duffy in May, continued to organise festival events. The Stourbridge Literature Festival started. I went to see Emma Purshouse headline at Spoken Trend, saw Carla Rickets headline too. It was a great night, I even went home with 3 daffodils, now that is a good night.
I took a Napowrimo poem to Stanza and it was approved. I have written 97 in total this month as I have followed 2 main prompts, the main site napwrimo.net and joined Carrie Etter’s group where she provided us with 30 optional prompts. Beyond the poems, I have researched and stumbled into new project territory which is most exciting. Carrie’s group was amazing for comradery and support. Jo Bell spent the entire month posting poems for us to read as it is as important as writing and a sure way to learn/ learn about poetry. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading the poems and discussions on her blog and will miss this daily ritual and ponder more than I will miss the onslaught of daily poetry writing.
I went to the first talk organised by Room 204 and now have a notebook full of information and ideas.
And the month finished with a flurry of PR for VOICES FROM THE MIDDLE at Stourbridge Literature Festival.
The first of 3 events I have been organising. A combined reading with: I will blog about the festival/event over the coming days. Within 24 hours I will be promoting Cheltenham Poetry Festival and over the next 5 days working towards 30-40-60 the collaborative performance booked into this year’s Worcester Literature Festival.
I will not have time to be sad about the end of NaPoWriMo, but I hope to have time to type edit some of the work produced during April.
Hello, everyone! It’s the penultimate day of NaPoWriMo/GloPoWriMo!
Our featured participant for the day is orangepeel, where the Skeltonic verse for Day 28 celebrates (sort of) the experience of being sprayed by a skunk!
Today’s interview is with another poet/publisher, Sarah Gorham, the editor-in-chief of Sarabande Books. This interview explores her dual role as writer of her own work and the promoter of others’ poetry. You can learn more about Gorham here and read some of her poetry here and here.
And now for our (optional) prompt. Today, I’d like to challenge you to take one of your favorite poems and find a very specific, concrete noun in it. For example, if your favorite poem is this verse of Emily Dickinson’s, you might choose the word “stones” or “spectre.” After you’ve chosen your word, put the original poem away and spend five minutes free-writing associations – other nouns, adjectives, etc. Then use your original word and the results of your free-writing as the building blocks for a new poem.
I really enjoyed this prompt as it gave me time to indulge in my poetry bookcase before choosing my starter poem – Mansion Polish by Maurice Riordan (who I was lucky to meet back in 2013, after 4 weeks in my poetry skin).
I followed the prompt and my concrete noun was horseshoe. After free writing I settled to the making of a poem. Not happy with my first two attempts, I cracked it on the 3rd. They are all relatively short poems. I have currently written 94 NaPo poems! I took one to Stanza last night and it was approved, so there is some hope for a small % of them.
the brass one her mother hung over the fireplace
is now a dead tissue memory, wrapped carefully
in brown paper.
Carrie Etter’s prompt was to write about an object belonging to a parent, the focus was on what it means to you. I was happy with the overall result although it still needs a little work.
I could read stories, but not between the lines.
… I outgrew my own, this hand
was never for giving.
Jo Bell posted This by Maitreyabandhu
This neat poem describes a single moment of paying attention.
…. Give yourself permission to read critically, and if a poem you enjoy seems to have a hairline crack in it, take Maitreyabandhu’s mindful approach – notice it, but don’t let it spoil your enjoyment of the poem as a whole. The poems we learn from, like the people that we learn from, can be imperfect. – Jo Bell
I shall miss Jo’s daily reads and discussions much more than writing daily poems.
The Poetry School seem to have gone AWOL – they are in, but seem to have hidden the prompt. Thanks to Jackie Biggs, I found it on an attachment.
Day 29: The Self-Cento
Good morning on this penultimate NaPoWriMo day! Today, we’re asking you to reuse, recycle and rehash with a cento.
A cento is a poem made up entirely of lines from other poets’ poems. Our version differs in only one way. We’d like a 28 line cento, but it should use lines from your own poems written during NaPoWriMo. Not managed 28 poems so far? No matter. Write a shorter poem, or use multiple lines from the same poem, or use lines from your pre-existing poems. The important thing is it’s your own voice you’re remixing and restyling. You’re allowed to make minor tweaks to the lines to make them fit, so don’t worry about changing tenses, adjusting grammar, or rephrasing slightly, but don’t add words.
What wonder I feel when I have time to participate in real time. Today is a writing day and I have just immersed myself in the prompt in the way it should be done. I cannot believe we have just 3 days of the challenge left! I am happy that they are days where I have time chiselled out to make a proper job of it. I am utterly amazed at some of the poetry I have read on participant’s sites.
Today’s featured participant is little learner, whose poem for Day 27 is all about an acquired taste!
Our interview for the day is with Kazim Ali, co-founder of Nightboat Books and author of three books of poetry. The interview we’re featuring was done when his first book, The Far Mosque was published, and provides a good look at what it is like to have a book finally out in the world. You can read more about Ali here, and read some of his work here.
And now for our prompt (optional, as always). Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem using Skeltonic verse. Don’t worry, there are no skeletons involved. Rather, Skeltonic verse gets its name from John Skelton, a fifteenth-century English poet who pioneered the use of short stanzas with irregular meter, but two strong stresses per line (otherwise know as “dipodic” or “two-footed” verse). The lines rhyme, but there’s not a rhyme scheme per se. The poet simply rhymes against one word until he or she gets bored and moves on to another. Here is a good explainer of the form, from which I have borrowed this excellent example:
will be Terse.
Stress used just twice
to keep it nice,
short or long
a lilting song
or sounding gong
that won’t go wrong
if you adhere
to the rule here,
Now is that clear
I urge you to look at the explainer site as it is a straightforward definition, not that this form is particularly hard to master.
My initial reaction was ‘oh no, rhyme’ – and endless repetition of one word didn’t conjure hope. Actually it almost wrote itself, without a rhyming scheme to adhere to it is freeing creating the end rhyme. Less constrictive.
I managed a poem and one that I think I will be performing. I am not sure there are many editors who publish this style (from the 15th Century), then again I am not that confident my NaPo poems will be submitted anywhere. The term ‘NaPo rejection’ is already frequenting social media. I have the perfect place in mind for this poem and will be performing it soon.
I had the form but not the motive – so I borrowed from Carrie Etter’s prompt for today – writing about something/action you dislike and much as this sounds daft I really HATE waking up, getting up, getting dressed and the internal monologue this daily ritual allows.
Skeltonic verse is supposed to be funny and full of energy (created by the tumbling rhyme and speed it can be read), I think on this front – I may have succeeded!
Carrie Etter encouraged us write an anti-ode, thank goodness I did all that form revision! Use vivid, concrete details to make your dislike palpable without saying it.
Having already used my subject for the NaPo poem, I had to go back to the drawing board – but fortunately being a little Eeyore there are lots of something you don’t like or an action you don’t like to do in my world!
I have a real issue struggling with envy, I thought I would write a comical anti-ode about that. I wrote in two different forms, the message was the same.
The discussion that follows this 8 line poem is full of pondering thoughts and sound advice, telling not showing and an intensive look at the language of the poem.
A title can prime a reader so they know what to expect, or give them a jigsaw piece which only fits in when they’ve completed the rest of the reading…
The title launches you into the poem but when you arrive at the last line, it often sends you back to the title, which now has some extra meaning. I can’t say it often enough – the title is a part of the poem, and must be active within it. It isn’t just an aid to filing.
Glyn Maxwell says in On Poetry, ‘Poets – your brain’s in your body’
and there’s no better motto for us. Always, always come back to the five senses. They are always the best way to make the reader share the writer’s lived experience. Even the metaphysical needs the physical. – Jo Bell.
The Poetry School
Day 28. Haiku Day
Morning poets. Today I’d like you write a haiku. Don’t bother with counting syllables – it doesn’t matter. The most important thing is the juxtaposition of two ideas or images, separated by a ‘cutting word’ (“kireji”). You may also wish to include a seasonal reference (“kigo”), to write in three short lines, and to focus on nature, but none of these are as important as the contrast between two ideas. In the below examples, I have marked the two contrasting sections in bold and italics, while the seasonal reference is underlined. The Haiku Foundation has an excellent guide on writing Haiku in English, which dispels many myths. However you go about this, try to avoid any unnecessary words or repetition. Instead of “It was a hot summer’s day” try “A summer day” or better just “Summer:”.
After an Affair
Just friends: he watches my gauze dress blowing on the line.
Millions of tiny Royals dance beneath the surface, their glass crowns erupting from the puddle.
This morning I was awake early, so I checked out today’s prompts, wrote lists of tastes and imagined some music. I thought I would post this in a timely manner (sometime on the 27th) but Mr G. and I were out and I crashed out as soon as we got in, so even though I had it ready, I am posting a few hours late!
Our featured participant today is A Thing For Words, where the archaeology poem for Day 26 imagines future scientists stumbling over the remains of a man without apologies.
Today’s interview is with the poet Sharon Olds, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for her collection Stag’s Leap, the definitive sick burn on an ex-husband (Warning to husbands: if you divorce Sharon Olds, she will write a book about it that wins the Pulitzer Prize, and everyone will know). Of course, that’s not all she’s written, but I’ll have to say that book is bracing, to say the least. You can learn more about Olds’ work here, and you can find some of her poems here, here, and many more here.
And last but not least, here’s our (optional) prompt! Many poems explore the sight or sound or feel of things, and Proust famously wrote about the memories evoked by smell, but today I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that explores your sense of taste! This could be a poem about food, or wine, or even the oddly metallic sensation of a snowflake on your tongue.
I was interested in reading another take on Day 25 poetry and having recently purchased Stag’s Leap (following a conversation with poets about the book), I was happy to see today’s reading.
I wrote a list of tastes.
The poem itself was alright, based on short form structure. My initial editing response is I need to put more taste in it and less story. I enjoyed writing with the food in my mouth, tasting my words.
… saccharine fruit honeyed on my insides…
Carrie Etter suggested writing a poem in response to a song. This is something I do from time to time. It is a useful free-writing experience, often used in schools.
I have read comments from other poets who have already approached this prompt. I am currently thinking track choice, but also like the idea of a random piece.
I discovered a website http://top10songs.com/ where you can chronologically search Top 10s from different years. I knew where I was going for this one. I also want to revisit this idea and write differently. I listened to all sorts of soundbites, music I had completely forgotten. In teenage years music carried me through extremely hard patches and I know the transformative power of music, how you are transported back to that time.
A good poem, like a good painting, will affect you emotionally before you understand how it does so. – Jo Bell
The Poetry School Andrew Parkes gives us
Day 27: The Elements
Fire. Water. Earth. Fermium. Platinum.
Your poem today should contain one or more of the elements, classical or scientific. This excellent dynamic periodic table will be very useful. The title of your poem should be your chosen element(s). Try to steer clear of gold and ‘the element of surprise’ because they’ve both been done to death, and go for one of the more interesting ones. Research is your friend.
Today’s featured participant is fresh poetry, where the “poetics of space” prompt for Day 25 takes back in time to a very particular classroom, while also launching us out onto the sea.
Our interview for the day is another two-fer – the poet Melissa Range interviewed by the poet Stephen Burt about her book, Scriptorium, sonnets, and incorporating colloquialisms and slang into poetry. You can learn more about interview-er and interview-ee here and here. And you can read three of Range’s poems here, and at this link, you’ll find a lyrical essay by Burt.
And now for our (optional) prompt! Have you ever heard someone wonder what future archaeologists, whether human or from alien civilization, will make of us? Today, I’d like to challenge you to answer that question in poetic form, exploring a particular object or place from the point of view of some far-off, future scientist? The object or site of study could be anything from a “World’s Best Grandpa” coffee mug to a Pizza Hut, from a Pokemon poster to a cellphone.
I had great fun with this prompt and went with my initial object that was on my desk as I read the prompt. It got a bit sticky when thinking about futurisms and how much of our language would have been used and when I have more time I would like to invent a half language and translate.
Writing this poem sparked a few new ideas and I have made some science based notes on the sun and the moon too. More to play with later… looks like I may need to take next year off.
The Sea of Showers looks brown,
this leads some of the Scientists to predict
our archaeological response wrong.
Carrie Etter offers – in a place where you have lived before (or where you live now), list some specific names of the flora and fauna of that environment:
the names of one or two birds;
one or two kinds of trees, plants and wildflowers.
Next she asked us to imagine ourselves as a character in this environment, one with a specific worry. Give a strong impression of place through intermingling the concerns with details of the environment.
Poetry that uses senses and a sense of place.
I have lived in so many places, but for the ease/speed of writing several poems in a day, I chose my current abode. My Great Aunty has always wowed me with her ability to name every tree, plant and bird, this gift/talent/knowledge is not something I possess, so I knew there would be some research before I could launch into poetry.
The list was fairly easy to compile – but at the start of the poem, I very much felt it like a writing exercise, a slightly forced one at that. I relaxed into it and halfway through the tone became more natural and the words started to flow. I have a poem I can work with now and a future idea for more.
This prompt enabled me to write a corker and I am delighted. I know that writing several poems a day for a month means that they won’t all make target, I can safely say they are all poems – but whether they are good poems or not (well I wouldn’t want to tell them – but even after editing next month some will be notebook bound forever), others like today’s may grow wings and fly.
Our featured participant today is Tea Parties on Neptune, where the medieval marginalia poem for Day 24 involves some peculiar rabbits!
Our interview today is with Douglas Kearney, whose poetry often involves very visual, altered typography as well as onomatopoeia – poems meant to be seen and heard out loud. You can learn more about Kearney here, and read some of his work here and here.
And now for our daily prompt (optional, as always). In 1958, the philosopher/critic Gaston Bachelard wrote a book called The Poetics of Space, about the emotional relationship that people have with particular kinds of spaces – the insides of sea shells, drawers, nooks, and all the various parts of houses. Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that explores a small, defined space – it could be your childhood bedroom, or the box where you keep old photos. It could be the inside of a coin purse or the recesses of an umbrella stand. Any space will do – so long as it is small, definite, and meaningful to you.
I wrote about a print Mr G. bought me as a Valentine’s gift, my small specific place the poster tube that still houses it two months later. I am searching for the perfect frame!
Carrie Etter’s prompt was to write about a pet and show how the behaviour influences you, without naming the pet, leaving it to description to identify the subject. I have had pets – but we are currently pet-less, I wrote about a neighbouring creature instead.
I moved around a lot and have always found my home in Libraries.
The Poetry School offered
Day 25: It All Ends The Same Anyway
A fun task for today. I’d like you to write a poem in which every line ends with the same word. That’s it. It lends itself to comedy, but if you can make a tragic poem out of the prompt, I’d be dead impressed.
Welcome back, everyone, for the twenty-fourth day of NaPoWriMo/GloPoWriMo!
Our featured participant for the day is The Mother of Adam, where you will find not one, not two, but eleven double elevenie poems for Day 23!
Today’s interview is another two-fer, with the poet Rachel McKibbens being interviewed by the poet Jennifer L. Knox. Both McKibbens and Knox have ties to the “slam” poetry movement, which focuses on performance. McKibbens is known for her work’s direct, fierce, emotional address, while Knox’s poems often exhibit a gonzo humor that can suddenly give way to deep pathos. You can read several of McKibbens’ poems here, and examples of Knox’s work here.
Last but not least, our (optional) daily prompt. Today, I challenge you to write a poem of ekphrasis — that is, a poem inspired by a work of art. But I’d also like to challenge you to base your poem on a very particular kind of art – the marginalia of medieval manuscripts. Here you’ll find some characteristic images of rabbits hunting wolves, people sitting on nests of eggs, dogs studiously reading books, and birds wearing snail shells. What can I say? It must have gotten quite boring copying out manuscripts all day, so the monks made their own fun. Hopefully, the detritus of their daydreams will inspire you as well!
I love Ekphrastic poetry and I fell in love with the Monk’s Marginalia. I saved several images to my phone as I want to delve deeper into this prompt at a later stage. I thoroughly enjoyed my writing experience on Day 24. I love the idea that Monks could imagine such images and like early Banksy, left them on copied manuscripts. Part of me thinks all the search engine images must be faked.
I choose the image which had the most impact. A creature morphed from at least 8 animals that I could see. My way in was just to write lines of narrative describing what I could see, this enabled me to get inside the mind of the beast and write my poem as he.
The marginalia dream of escape, trapped by words.
Nutmeg eye, laboured with anguish, magnifies sin.
Carrie Etter’s prompt suggested we look at a poem that does not work, choose a favourite line as a starting point and write a new poem.
Well I have plenty of Napo poems that haven’t quite worked, so didn’t have far to look.
I took ‘Word wise and letter loving…’and penned a new poem around it.
Morning poets. Welcome to the home stretch! Just one more week to go…
What is a single-use poem? Well, it’s one that breaks after the first time you read it. What falls into that category? Twist Endings. Riddles. Jokes. Sudden revelations. Anything that relies on surprise for its effect. I want you to write a poem that will make people say, ‘You have to read this. I won’t spoil it for you. Just trust me!’.
For inspiration, have a look at Matthew Francis’ ‘The Ornamental Hermit’. I won’t spoil it for you. Just trust me!
It’s hard to find a decent copy online, but Michael Donaghy’s ‘Riddle’ is also a good example.
Wow! It’s hard to believe we’ve been at this for 23 whole days already. I hope you each have nearly 2 dozen poems under your belt. And if not, that’s okay too! Whether you try to catch up, or just jump back into writing now, either way works for us!
Today’s featured participant is Marilyn Rauch Cavicchia, whose georgic poem for Day 22 explains to us how (not) to grow a cabbage!
For our interview today, we’re “kicking it old school,” with T.S. Eliot being interviewed by Donald Hall. Not entirely sure who these two are? (Maybe you went into a defensive faint when asked to read “The Waste Land” in high school?) Well, here’s a little information on Eliot and Hall. You can also check out a number of Eliot’s poems (including some blessedly short ones) here, and some of Hall’s poems here.
And now for our daily prompt (optional, as always). Our prompt for Day Twenty-Three comes to us from Gloria Gonsalves, who challenges us to write a double elevenie. What’s that? Well, an elevenie is an eleven-word poem of five lines, with each line performing a specific task in the poem. The first line is one word, a noun. The second line is two words that explain what the noun in the first line does, the third line explains where the noun is in three words, the fourth line provides further explanation in four words, and the fifth line concludes with one word that sums up the feeling or result of the first line’s noun being what it is and where it is. There are some good examples in the link above.
A double elevenie would have two stanzas of five lines each, and twenty-two words in all. It might be fun to try to write your double elevenie based on two nouns that are opposites, like sun and moon, or mountain and sea.
I had to study The Waste Land at A-level and remember enjoying it immensely. Just as I enjoyed discovering how to write an elevenie and writing several. I wrote three and this is a form I will return to.
They are so short and each line needs the preceding one, so I do not feel I can share any of the lines without the rest of the poem. I wrote one on sky and then followed the Double Elevenie idea of combining Mountain/Sea as opposites.
Carrie Etter’s prompt was to write something unpleasant that happened to you as a child in third person, showing how the child feels. I, like many others wrote about a wasp sting.
The Poetry School set an incredibly challenging task. I believe it is the act of writing that helps create my writing. I do know a few incredibly talented/renowned poets who work in this head first way.
Day 23 It’s All In Your Head
Poetry is supposed to be i) read aloud and ii) memorable. Bearing that in mind, I’d like you to explore a compositional process that forces you to actually speak the words you’re crafting and make sure they stick in your head.
So, for today’s task, I’d like you to not put pen to paper. Compose in your head, or aloud – nowhere near a pen, pencil or computer. Smart phones are particularly toxic for this exercise – if you can go out without yours, do so. I suggest you go for a walk, take a long bath, sit in the library, garden or park – or just let your mind wander over the hoovering.
Don’t set pen to paper, or finger to keyboard, until the poem is perfect and whole in your head. It’ll be indescribably tempting to rush to a notepad as soon as you get a good line in your head – resist this urge!