Tag Archives: NaPoWriMo 2018

NaPoWriMo 2018 Day 24

Standard

napofeature3

Happy final Tuesday in Na/GloPoWriMo, everyone.
Our featured participant today is kavyastream, where the overheard/regional language prompt for Day 23 gives us more Texas sayings than you can shake a stick at.

Today’s craft resource is a long-ish essay by Hyejung Kook regarding how poetry can be created from absence, or in the wake of loss, and how awareness of mortality drives a desire to produce art, people, poems.

And now for our prompt (optional, as always). Today, we’d like to challenge you to write an elegy – a poem typically written in honor or memory of someone dead. But we’d like to challenge you to write an elegy that has a hopefulness to it. Need inspiration? You might look at W.H. Auden’s elegy for Yeats, which ends on a note suggesting that the great poet’s work will live on, inspiring others in years to come. Or perhaps this elegy by Mary Jo Bang, where the sadness is shot through with a sense of forgiveness on both sides.

Happy (or at least, hopeful) writing!

napo2018button2

I loved the whiffletree from the participant poem. The practise of poetry mentioned in the craft resource is exactly what NaPoWriMo does for all of us. Puts fingers on those keys.

5ab39dd423e2c-bpfull The Poetry School Day 24

Day 24: The Gift 

There are so many brilliant ‘gift’ poems that it’s hard to restrain myself to just a handful. Off the top of my head, there’s Carol Ann Duffy’s ‘Valentine’, Michael Donaghy’s ‘The Present’, Billy Collins’ ‘The Lanyard’, Robert Frost’s ‘The Gift Outright’….

But today’s example poems are by poets a little less well-known in the UK, though hugely admired in the US. Firstly, I present you ‘The Gift’ by Li-Young Lee, an American poet, born in Indonesia (whose great-grandfather was the first Republican president of China).

My second gift is Rita Dove’s ‘For Sophie Who’ll Be in First Grade in the Year 2000’. Dove is a former US Poet Laureate and is editor of the Penguin Anthology of 20th Century American Poetry (2011). Some of her classics inspired poems would also have been useful for yesterday’s prompt.

One final thing: don’t forget you can write poems about receiving a gift as well as giving one.

I struggled with this one, my most famous poem is ‘Your Gift’ and I find it hard to even read the word gift without thinking of that poem.

However, I have written an Elegy and didn’t fancy that prompt and then after the day I have had, well I thought I needed to write about potential gifts that will help me, having gone back into a full time role (for the 1st time in 5 years) I think I may print it out and keep it in my cupboard!

 

A recipe book
for energy, late nights and
early lark mornings,

Advertisements

NaPoWriMo 2018 Day 23

Standard

napofeature2

One week to go!

Hello, everyone! It’s hard to believe, but there’s just one week left to go in this year’s Na/GloPoWriMo.

Our featured participant for the day is Eat All the Words, where the impossible prompt for Day Twenty-Two has been transformed into a study guide!

We have a new interview for you today, with Kate Greenstreet, whose fourth book of poetry, The End of Something, is just out from Ahsahta Press. You can read some of Greenstreet’s poetry here and here, and our interview with her here.

And now for today’s (optional) prompt! Kate Greenstreet’s poetry is spare, but gives a very palpable sense of being spoken aloud – it reads like spoken language sounds. In our interview with her, she underscores this, stating that “when you hear it, you write it down.” Today, we challenge you to honor this idea with a poem based in sound. The poem, for example, could incorporate overheard language. Perhaps it could incorporate a song lyric in some way, or language from something often heard spoken aloud (a prayer, a pledge, the Girl Scout motto). Or you could use a regional or local phrase from your hometown that you don’t hear elsewhere, e.g. “that boy won’t amount to a pinch.”

Happy writing!

napo2018button2

I found a wonderful archive of language from the region I grew up in and plan to use this sometime in the future. For now I played with a prayer and wrote a very honest poem.

… be done blue line,
as it is in films.

5ab39dd423e2c-bpfull The Poetry School Day 23

Day 23: Classics 

Salve and Χαίρετε, poets. Today I’d like you to look to the myths of ancient Greece and Rome for inspiration. You may have to do some research to find a story that works for you. If possible, try to avoid a simple retelling of a well-known legend in its entirety; make it new by doing something different. One way to do this is to explore a small, perhaps overlooked moment, in a larger legend, as Michael Longley does in his poem ‘Laertes‘, which is about the return of Odysseus to his father Laertes. Another is to switch perspectives, as Carol Ann Duffy does in her poem ‘Mrs Midas‘. Yet another is use a snippet of myth as inspiration for a poem about modern life and death, as Jack Gilbert does in ‘Failing and Flying‘, and Danez Smith does in their poem ‘not an elegy for Mike Brown‘.

NaPoWriMo 2018 Day 22

Standard

napofeature1

Happy fourth Sunday of Na/GloPoWriMo, all.

Today’s featured participant is ARHtistic License, where the Narcissus/narcissism poem for Day 21 treats the myth from Echo’s point of view.

Our craft resource for the day is a series of reflections by Wesley McNair on “indirect entry” into a poem. McNair writes of inviting mystery and uncertainty into our poems, both with respect to the writing process and the finished work.

And now for our daily prompt (optional as always). I’ve found this one rather useful in trying to ‘surprise’ myself into writing something I wouldn’t have come up with otherwise. Today, I’d like you to take one of the following statements of something impossible, and then write a poem in which the impossible thing happens:

The sun can’t rise in the west.

A circle can’t have corners.

Pigs can’t fly.

The clock can’t strike thirteen.

The stars cannot rearrange themselves in the sky.

A mouse can’t eat an elephant.

Happy writing!

napo2018button1

I found the process of poems, the craft article/reflections by Wesley McNair a good read.

I look forward to writing my impossible poem! I enjoyed writing this poem. I wrote a thin poem based on an answer in a mathematical forum. I am fairly pleased with the resulting poem and may have found a suitable poem for my final Poet Laureate Collection on Mathematical/Scientific poems in memory of Stephen Hawking.

thoughts about
tiny angles
can wait.

5ab39dd423e2c-bpfull The Poetry School Day 22

Day 22: Pantoum 

Morning poets. Today I’d like you write a pantoum. The pantoum is an anglophone variation on the Malay ‘pantun’. It uses quatrains with repeated lines, much like a villanelle. Each stanza takes the second line of the stanza above as its first line, and the last line of the stanza above as its third line. Your poem can be any number of quatrains — four is the most common. It looks like this, where letters represent lines (not rhymes):

Stanza 1

A
B
C
D

B
E
D
F

E
G
F
H

and so on. Your example poem is ‘Zadie Smith’s first novel is‘  by the brilliant Bridget Minamore.

I love a Pantoum, I learnt to write this form a couple of years ago and have had one or two published. I look forward to coming back to this prompt.

NaPoWriMo 2018 Day 21

Standard

The inevitable landslide of working, preparing for festivals, editing, experiencing some sunshine and falling days behind with NaPo… but it is week 3 and up until now I was following the plan well. I have learnt over the years to forgive myself as I think this naturally happens to everyone who is balancing elements of life. If you do not forgive yourself, you end up using writing energy as negative self-sabotage and that gets you nowhere.

Onward. Or backwards (technically)!

Day 21:

napofeature4

Today marks three full weeks of Na/GloPoWriMo!

Our featured participant for the day is Unassorted Stories, where the rebellious poem for Day 19 shows how repetition, used well, can drive a poem along, giving it momentum and heft. It also provides a really interesting window into the poet’s “rules,” which she broke in writing the poem.

Today, we have a new interview for you, with Antoinette Brim, whose newest book of poetry, These Women You Gave Me, has been published by Indolent Books. Brim is a Cave Canem Foundation fellow, a recipient of the Walker Foundation Scholarship to the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, and a Pushcart Prize nominee. You can read some of her poems here and here, and you can check out our interview with her here.

And now for our (optional) prompt. In her interview, Brim provides us with several suggestions for generative writing exercises, and we’d like to challenge to today to tackle her third one, which is based in the myth of Narcissus. After reading the myth, try writing a poem that plays with the myth in some way. For example, you could imagine that imagine the water is speaking to you, the narcissus flower. Or you could write a poem in which the narcissus berates the Kardashians for stealing their neurosis. Or a poem that comments on the narcissism of our time, i.e. beauty and body obsession, etc.

Happy writing!

napo2018button2

I enjoyed getting to know the poetry of Antoinette Brim today. I was interested by the prompt of a myth I know well, what I didn’t know was that the narcissus flower is the daffodil. I have always been amazed at how these flowers spread and whole puddles of them appear where they were never planted.

Due to being several days behind, I would call it a stanza rather than a poem. I planned to work in short form, but it is free verse.

I hope to work on this one later in the year. A post summer revisit!

 

the bulb, a house of toxins.

5ab39dd423e2c-bpfull The Poetry School Day 21

Day 21: Word Association (Redux)

Morning poets. Another slight reinterpretation of a prompt from last year. Below is a list of ten words. I would like you – quickly, without thinking about it – to scribble down a word you associate with each one of them.

Wood
Protection
Magazine
Float
Shed
Inner
Capable
Clash
Wax
Daughter

Now use your ten new words in your poem, one per line. If you’re up for a challenge, use the words in the order you have them; if you’d like a bit more flexibility, use them in any order.

NB: Don’t use the above words in your poem – use the words you associated with them, e.g. not ‘Wax’, but ‘Candle’ or ‘Drip’. If you don’t want to start with the words we’ve given you, open the closest book to you and pick the last word on every page from 30 to 39 and associate from that.

 

I made my word association list and plan to work on it later.

NaPoWriMo 2018 Day 20

Standard

napofeature3

Today is April 20th, and that means we are now two-thirds of the way through Na/GloPoWriMo, 2018. Time flies when you’re writing poems!

Today’s featured participant is Summer Blues, where the simple language of the poem written for Day 19’s structured erasure prompt eases you into a subtle but satisfying resolution.

Our craft resource for the day is Alice Notley’s essay, The Poetics of Disobedience. In it, Notley advocates for a poet to “maintain a state of disobedience against…everything.” By this she means remaining open to all forms, all subjects, and not becoming beholden to “usual” methods for writing. Whenever we are sure that there is one “right” way to write, or some specific set of topics that are the “right” ones to discuss, we should ask ourselves, what part of experience are we leaving out? And why?

Our prompt for the day (optional as always) takes its cue from Notley’s rebelliousness, and asks you to write a poem that involves rebellion in some way. The speaker or subject of the poem could defy a rule or stricture that’s been placed on them, or the poem could begin by obeying a rule and then proceed to break it (for example, a poem that starts out in iambic pentameter, and then breaks into sprawling, unmetered lines). Or if you tend to write funny poems, you could rebel against yourself, and write something serious (or vice versa). Whatever approach you take, your poem hopefully will open a path beyond the standard, hum-drum ruts that every poet sometimes falls into.

napo2018button1

From the essay I grabbed ‘a state of disobedience’ and wrote from there. I often think that the Government advice which is anything from alcohol consumption/health to weaning babies is unnecessary and a bit ‘1984’ (Orwell), so I ran with the idea of a woman who was rebelling against every legislation.

The poem itself is nonsense really but it was fun to write.

She used the low risk drinking guidelines leaflet as a beer mat,

5ab39dd423e2c-bpfull The Poetry School Day 20

Day 20: Personism 

Today I’d like you to write a poem that speaks directly to another person. It should be written so that you “could use the telephone instead of writing the poem” — or so says Frank O’Hara in his manifesto, Personism.

But what is Personism? Back to Frank:

“Personism, a movement which I recently founded and which nobody knows about… was founded by me after lunch with LeRoi Jones on August 27, 1959, a day in which I was in love with someone (not Roi, by the way, a blond). I went back to work and wrote a poem for this person. While I was writing it I was realizing that if I wanted to I could use the telephone instead of writing the poem, and so Personism was born. It’s a very exciting movement which will undoubtedly have lots of adherents. It puts the poem squarely between the poet and the person, Lucky Pierre style, and the poem is correspondingly gratified. The poem is at last between two persons instead of two pages.”

We know because O’Hara dated his work, that the poem he references here, the one he wrote ‘for this person’, was ‘Personal Poem’, and that is today’s example poem.

Note how the poem speaks directly to the addressee (casually, as if on the phone) but doesn’t mention them or discuss their relationship with the speaker. It can be tempting with this prompt to write to someone about something important in your relationship with them – a declaration of love, a long-withheld confession, an apology – and this is a perfectly valid way to go about it, but is that really what you always talk about when you get them on the phone?

NaPoWriMo 2018 Day 19

Standard

napofeature4

I sat in my garden after work, enjoying the last of the sun and wrote my second NaPo poem by hand. I didn’t manage to get any desk time to upload the post though.

Our featured participant for the day is clay and branches, where the “work-your-way-up-from-the-bottom” poem for Day Eighteen is an unsettling, intensive narrative.

Today, we have a new interview for you, with the poet Dan Brady, whose first book of poems, Strange Children, is newly out from Publishing Genius. Brady is the poetry editor for Barrelhouse Magazine, and the author of the chapbooks Cabin Fever / Fossil Record (Flying Guillotine Press, 2014) and Leroy Sequences (Horse Less Press, 2014). You can read some of Brady’s poems here and check out our interview with him here.

Our (optional) prompt for the day takes it cue from Brady’s suggestion that erasure/word banks can allow for compelling repetitive effects. Today we challenge you to write a paragraph that briefly recounts a story, describes the scene outside your window, or even gives directions from your house to the grocery store. Now try erasing words from this paragraph to create a poem or, alternatively, use the words of your paragraph to build a new poem.

napo2018button2

Much as I enjoy erasure poems, I found this prompt lacked the interest of a good paragraph to begin with. I would like to use the idea in the future when the subject of the initial paragraph results in something more than a view from the window. I wrote a paragraph detailing the things I pass on my journey to work and reworked 2 erasure poems, one which only yielded one line of any worth and the 2nd poem that was just okay.

A little disappointing but some interesting phrases from the erasure side of the task.

where last summer, only a tumbledown graffitied barn stood.

5ab39dd423e2c-bpfull The Poetry School Day 19

Day 19: Coming of Age Poem 

Morning poets. Cast your minds back to that strange period at the end of childhood and the beginning of adulthood. Perhaps this transition happened for you or your speaker in a single epiphanic moment or maybe it happened imperceptibly over time. This coming of age may be marked formally in a traditional or non-traditional ceremony, it might be private or public, it could be mortifying or liberating, or both, or neither, but it should ideally be formative.

Your example bildungsgedicht today are Kayo Chingonyi’s ‘Kumukanda’ and Dom Bury’s recent National Poetry Competition winner ‘The Opened Field’.

 

 

NaPoWriMo 2018 Day 17

Standard

napofeature1

NaPoWriMo 2018 Day 16

Standard

napofeature2

We’re now officially in the second half of Na/GloPoWriMo. Hopefully you’ve found your versical rhythm, so to speak, and you’ll find that writing poems the remainder of the month will be a snap.

Today’s featured participant is Katie Staten, whose response to the villainous prompt for Day Fifteen imagines a day in the life of Ursula the Sea Witch.

We have a new craft resource for you today, or maybe an anti-craft resource, in the form of this essay by Michael Bazzett warning against the fetishization of craft. Thinking hard thoughts about word choice, line breaks, sound, and structure can help to make a poem better, but too much emphasis on perfection can breed stale, airless verse. There always has to be room for play, and not just work, in our poems.

In this vein, our (optional, as always) prompt for the day asks you to write a poem that prominently features the idea of play. It could be a poem about a sport or game, a poem about people who play (or are playing a game), or even a poem in the form of the rules for a sport or game that you’ve just made up (sort of like Calvinball).

Happy writing!

http://www.napowrimo.net/

napo2018button1

 

5ab39dd423e2c-bpfullThe Poetry School Day 16

Day 16: Voice

Today I’d like you to write a poem based on voices, ideally a dialogue. This can be a formal dialogue for two voices, like John Fuller’s ‘A Dialogue between Caliban and Ariel’, or you can present just half of the dialogue and leave the other half to the reader’s imagination, as in Kathryn Maris’s ‘Darling, Would You Please Pick Up Those Books?’, or you might like to present an overheard third-person dialogue as Sharon Olds’ does in her poem, ‘Voices’.

Whatever you choose to do, the key points are that you must include speech, and two or more people’s voices (even if one is just implied).


Having already completed a two voices poem this month I decided on using the Naponet prompt on using rules of a game. I chose badminton, a game I have never played.

I started with the rules and took it from there. I wrote about playing indoors as a child (usually reading), compared to my active, sporty brothers. It became a prose poem. I am not entirely satisfied, but it is late and I have been at work all day. So I am willing to leave it. I have followed the rules of the game and as far as the prompt goes, succeeded.

She served her pages diagonally, swiped the next one open with the edge of an index finger,

 

 

NaPoWriMo 2018 Day 15

Standard

napofeature3

Today marks the halfway point of this year’s NaPoWriMo/GloPoWriMo!

Our featured participant today is ivoryfishbone, where the dream poem for Day Fourteen takes a fantastic, yet sinister turn.

We have a new interview for you today, this time with Sarah Blake, whose second full-length book of poetry, Let’s Not Live on Earth, is newly out from Wesleyan University Press. Blake’s first book of poetry, Mr. West, was also published by Wesleyan, and her debut novel, Naamah, is forthcoming from Riverhead Books. You can read several of Blake’s poems here, and our interview with her here.

And now for our prompt (optional, as always). In her interview, Blake suggests writing a poem in which a villain faces an unfortunate situation, and is revealed to be human (but still evil). Perhaps this could mean the witch from Hansel & Gretel has lost her beloved cat, and is going about the neighborhood sticking up heart-wrenching “Lost Cat” signs, but still finds human children delicious. Maybe Blackbeard the Pirate is lost at sea in an open boat, remembering how much he loved his grandmother (although he will still kill the first person dumb enough to scoop him from the waves).

Happy writing!

http://www.napowrimo.net/

Going to have some fun researching villains!

I started here with Stylist Magazine. I stopped on the 4th Villain, the White Witch, Jadis from the Chronicles of Narnia (which were books I loved reading as a child).

After some character research I started by pulling out a few sentences of interest, all the while trying to imagine her ‘unfortunate situation’.

I started writing in Haiku form and then elongated the lines. My final poem ‘Not of Eve’ reads well and is just 2 stanzas long.

I feel the crackle of shame ricochet through me.

5ab39dd423e2c-bpfullThe Poetry School Day 15

Day 15: Reflections 

Today I’d like you to write a poem that features mirrors or reflections in some way. One option is a self-portrait — after Ashbery (and Parmigianino), tradition dictates these poems are called ‘Self-Portrait in an xMirror’, just like our first example poem today: ‘Self-portrait in front of a small mirror’ by Will Harris.

But you can also include mirrors (or other reflective surfaces) in plenty of other interesting ways, either overtly or subtly. Have a look at Matthew Sweeney’s prose-poem ‘Huge Mirrors’, which centres the mirror itself rather than the reflection, and Thylias Moss’s ‘Lessons from a Mirror’, which uses the mirror as a jumping off point for a dissection of a fairy tale.

 

NaPoWriMo 2018 A Review of a Week of Poetry 2

Standard

napofeature3

Nearly halfway through NaPoWriMo 2018 and here’s how it looks:

Week 1 Poetry 

  1. Best Before
  2. The Sea Jewel
  3. The Home at Christmas
  4. Apology
  5. Bring Me The Shoes
  6. Wordle Band Name
  7. Pudding Protest
  8. In the Park
  9. Picking Blackberries
  10. Note at Preached/ Preached to Neat / A Taped Coherent / Open at Detacher

pexels-photo-529926.jpeg

Week 2 Poetry

  1. 11. Cotton To 
  2. 12. The Tiny Objects of a Vast Mind
  3. 13. World Going
  4. 14. White Matter Change
  5. 15. Apple
  6. 16. The Difficult House – Poem Beginning with a line from Sean Nevin
  7. 17. Keep the Light
  8. 18. Remover

 

RESOURCES: