Tag Archives: Nicole Callihan

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?
Photo by eberhard grossgasteiger on Pexels.com

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

Photo by lilartsy on Pexels.com

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).

Photo by Tara Winstead on Pexels.com

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 2018 Day 5


A late post following a day in workshop. I did manage my NaPo Write afterwards.


Today, our featured participant is words in your eyes, where the abstract-to-concrete poem for Day 4 employs slant rhyme to create a haunting, rolling rhythm.

Our interview today is a two-for-one deal, with responses from both Samar Abdel Jaber and Nicole Callihan, co-authors of Translucence, soon to be out from Indolent Books. In Translucence, Abdel Jaber and Callihan document a dialogue between poets writing in different languages, exploring translation, connection, and photography, all at the same time. You can read an excerpt from the book here, and our interviews with the two authors here.

And now for our (optional) prompt. Today, we’d like to challenge you to write a poem that, like the work in Translucence, reacts both to photography and to words in a language not your own. Begin with a photograph. Now find a poem in a language you don’t know (here’s a good place to look!) Ignore any accompanying English translation (maybe cover it up, or cut-and-paste the original into a new document). Now start translating the poem into English, with the idea that the poem is actually “about” your photograph. Use the look and feel of the words in the original to guide you along as you write, while trying to describe your photograph. It will be a bit of a balancing act, but hopefully it will lead to new and beautiful (and possibly very weird) places.

Happy writing!



I thoroughly enjoyed this prompt. I like to use images as starting points and also read translated poetry (although usually in English), I chose a poem in a language I do not speak. I am always amazed by language, how spoken and written form can make sense to ears and eyes without actually knowing the words.

At first I wrote a direct translation of the poem and then another version incorporating my chosen photograph.

This is not only an exercise I know I will repeat, I would like to explore the method further. It is a great way ‘in’ and does create exciting and unexpected results.

It is a wonder men come from Adam.



I couldn’t access The Poetry School prompt on my phone whilst I was out and about today. This one will have to wait in the wings. The workshop has zapped my word count /creative energy for the day and I want an early night as I am facilitating a workshop of my own tomorrow.

I do love a Talisman.

I always end up with a large reserve bank after NaPoWriMo, if I don’t manage it over the next few days (workshops and performances), this is being banked. Thanks to Ali Lewis at The Poetry School for this gem.

5ab39dd423e2c-bpfull The Poetry School Day 5

Day 5: The Talisman

Today I’d like you to write a poem with a central, essential object – a thing, a talisman – around which all the action circles. I’m looking for the poetic equivalent of Rosebud in Citizen Kane, Hedda Gabler’s father’s pistols, McMurphy’s pack of erotic playing cards in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, the briefcase in Pulp Fiction. We’re not looking for a poem about an object — no odes to telephones or hub caps – but a poem in which an object allows other things to happen, other stories to be told. It doesn’t have to appear all the time but it has to be important. It’s hard to explain, but easy to see. ‘Poplar Street’ by Chen Chen