Tag Archives: Poets House

NaPoWriMo 2023 Day 22


Day Twenty-Two

I just couldn’t choose one featured participant for the day, so we have two, both providing responses to Day 20’s “abstraction” prompt. First up is Salovie, with a mysterious meditation on the desert, and second, Christine Smart, with a brief lyric centered on spring blooms.

Today’s featured resource is the Open House poetry radio program. On each program, hosts Cornelius Eady and Patricia Spears Jones interview poets about their new and recent work. You can listen online, or live every Friday on NYC’s WBAI.

Today’s prompt is a variation on a teaching exercise that the poet Anne Boyer uses with students studying the work of Emily Dickinson. As you may know, although Dickinson is now considered one of the most original and finest poets the United States has produced, she was not recognized in her own time. One reason her poems took a while to gain a favorable reception is their slippery, dash-filled lines. Those dashes baffled her readers so much that the 1924 edition of her complete poems replaced some with commas, and did away with others completely.

Today’s exercise asks you to do something similar, but in the interests of creativity, rather than ill-conceived “correction.” Find an Emily Dickinson poem – preferably one you’ve never previously read – and take out all the dashes and line breaks. Make it just one big block of prose. Now, rebreak the lines. Add words where you want. Take out some words. Make your own poem out of it! (Not sure where to find some Dickinson poems? You’ll find oodles at the bottom of this page).

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

Process Notes:

I read the NaPo page before work this morning. I was looking forward to the prompt as I love Emily Dickinson. During Lockdown I discovered the Emily Dickinson Museum and spent a lot of time at events and workshops as well as making future plans to visit (once I have earned back the wages I lost during my ill-health year and then the Pandemic).

So I have quite a few Emily Dickinson inspired poems I’ve written but I have never started with her work.

I started with the featured poems. The first poem, Belief by Salovie was incredible. Such a huge world inside such a thin poem. I read it over and over and loved the ending, the feeling of this poem and the created word! I haven’t got a tumblr account but am enjoying seeing through NaPo that people are still using that platform.

After being blown away by the first featured poem, I read the next one. Calm by Christine Smart – which was the same word I chose for mine. I love a plum tree and found this considered thought to be meditative. I also liked the use of blending words into one word to create the invented word.

I know today’s resource and listened to one of the programmes as I got ready this morning.

I look forward to listening to more soon and have added it to the list.

I read Anne Boyer’s bio and the page about Emily.

I have several tomes of Dickinson’s poems but unable to resist a link I checked out the Poetry Foundation page and chose from there. There are obstacles between the desk and the bookcase – so it was easier too.

I read about twenty poems and eventually chose Wild nights – Wild nights! (269) and settled down to pen today’s poem. Shifting the poem into a block of prose makes it feel different immediately, although reading it I hold Dickinson’s rhythm. I already had my idea in mind when I read the poem and that’s why I chose it – but I have no idea how I am going to write that into it – I am just going to do it and see what happens.

I ended up writing an extremely personal poem which I may never share. Apt in a way. Because it was from a Dickinson poem the voice and structure feels like something I may not have arrived at without that frame being the starting point.

muscle memory, now our luxury.

I really enjoyed today’s NaPo – maybe it was the relief of time after a working week of squeezing NaPo in. I also managed to get to the A Common Sense Reading series this evening, there was a great Q&A/ discussion afterwards and lots of links shared.

It was lovely being on the call in real-time. I feel I may have found this resource too late as the next part f the programme restarts in Autumn and like most events is back to LIVE. However, Jordan Stempleman is planning to keep some readings online and I do have the archives to look forward to.

NaPoWriMo 2023 Day 14


Day Fourteen

Our featured participant today is Lisa Takes Flight, who offers us a quartet of little comic poems in response to Day Thirteen’s invitation to write poems that follow the beats of a joke.

Today’s featured resource is actually more a series of possibilities. Over the past few years – prompted in many cases by the pandemic – organizations that used to host in-person poetry workshops have increasingly moved their offerings online. These range from a few hours focused on a particular topic to multi-week intensives. They’re not always (or usually, even) cheap, but if you’re trying to push your writing in a new direction, or devote serious time to working on a particular issue (like revision, or organizing a manuscript), they can be very helpful. While there are a very large number of organizations that present such online workshops, here are a few to give you a sense of the kinds of offerings you might see: Poets House Workshops and ClassesMaine Writers & Publishers Workshops, and Poetry Barn Workshops.

Prompt: Hopefully, this one will provide you with a bit of Friday fun.

Today, I challenge you to write a parody or satire based on a famous poem. It can be long or short, rhymed or not. But take a favorite (or unfavorite) poem of the past, and see if you can’t re-write it on humorous, mocking, or sharp-witted lines. You can use your poem to make fun of the original (in the vein of a parody), or turn the form and manner of the original into a vehicle for making points about something else (more of a satire – though the dividing lines get rather confused and thin at times).

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

Process Notes:

2 weeks into NaPo! Halfway there, can you believe it? Give yourselves a pat on the back! And keep going!

I have only ever written one Parody as part of the original ATOTC (A Tale of Two Cities) project and today we have a busy schedule and a medical appointment which will leave me without clear vision. This may mean that the rest of this post appears tomorrow and once again, I have to stack a NaPo poem.

I started with the collection of poems featured today. I particularly enjoyed Elevated Uneasiness and Lost Ideas.

I then checked out today’s poetry resources. Some of which I used during Lockdown like: 10*10*10: Free Video Workshops with Dave Johnson from Poets House.

This prompt was brilliant as it involved a lot of poetry reading. I read getting on for 30 poems. Not being the most decisive I had no one idea whose poetry I wanted to look at – only perhaps to choose a shortish work and probably free-verse.

I started with John Donne, then moved on through Carol Ann Duffy, Rita Dove, Dorothy Parker, Sylvia Plath, Jericho Brown, Pascale Petit and Philip Larkin, before settling on a poem by Caroline Bird, The Dry Well.

I wrote a poem about Woodland which was essentially about college days and a particular hang out. I am fairly pleased with the results – I would feel more comfortable if it hadn’t started as a parody. It wouldn’t exist at all without this prompt. Maybe in the future I can edit more distance or otherwise, just acknowledge Caroline.

some of us still live as primitive as this without

the added secrets lifted to our lips.

NaPoWriMo 2020 Day 24



Read full post here.

Featured participant GibberJabber, which brings us a many-lettered appreciation of the beverage that gets so many of us out of bed in the morning.

Today’s poetry resource is the Poets House Digital Initiatives page, where you’ll find links to live-streamed poetry readings, online exhibitions of poetry broadsides and trading cards, and a daily, kids-themed poetry and story-reading series. 

Today’s prompt is a fairly simple one: to write about a particular fruit. But I’d like you to describe this fruit as closely as possible. What does it look like, how does it feel, how does it smell, what does it taste like, where did you find it, do you need to thump it to know if it’s ripe, how do you get into it (peeling, a knife, your teeth), do you need to spit out the seeds, should you bake it, can you make jam with it, do you have to fight the birds for it, when is it available, do you need a ladder to pick it, what is your favorite memory of eating it, if you threw it at someone’s head would it splatter them or knock them out, is it expensive?



I didn’t make it back online yesterday, I was exhausted and asleep by 7 PM, so fresh from a 10 hour sleep, I am plugging the gaps.

I never quite believe it when we reach the final week of NaPoWriMo, this prompt is for the final Friday in 2020 NaPo challenge! There’s so much happening in the world right now that this wasn’t quite the immersive experience I have had before, it was a good distraction and has offered some useful resources and ideas and a couple of decent poems have been written which wouldn’t otherwise exist, which is always a thrill.

I also get the sense of writers pulling together, the creative community has been a mass of support and heart during this pandemic and thanks to the generosity of others, I have been kept buoyant during self-isolation.

I am making a promise to myself to enjoy the final NaPoWriMo week. To relish it, sit with it and spend quality time with it.


I enjoyed the Coffee (Routine Morning) poem, clever and universally accessible. I liked the line artwork too.

I already follow today’s poetry resource – Poets House on Twitter, but I have not visited the website for a while, rich pickings here and I will be back when I have more time to indulge and enjoy. I chose just one link to chase https://poetshouse.org/event/poetry-cinema-made-in-harlem/ I don’t think I can access this after the live link I have Part 2, but in scrolling down the page I found audio of poetry readings and so had a listen instead.



Recorded At: Poets House Recorded On: Saturday, June 1, 2019


Rosamond S. KingLaTasha N. Nevada DiggsSean Henry-Smith, and Erica Hunt present a collaborative performance of Philip’s epic book-length poem Zong!. Introduction by Poets House Program Director Paolo Javier.

‘Whatever good you are looking for – you will find it. Take that good.’


I am glad today’s prompt made me check into Twitter because I was looking forward to something I discovered last week and because I no longer know which way is up, hadn’t realised it was the 25th today (24th for this NaPo/post/prompt).



This event has been running since 2017, you can watch some of the archived videos online. There is an annual Science Festival based in Cheltenham that had a gathering of poets that I was part of years ago and it was an interesting addition for both sides. There has never been a time in my life when humans realise how closely connected we are with the universe, how we are not actually in charge of all that’s around us. That there was so much of it in existence before us. That we are all atoms. I wrote that ^ just before I read this on Brainpickings:

as we face its fragility together — a world of hostages to a submicroscopic assailant, a world of refugees from ordinary life, struggling for safety, sanity, and survival of body and soul.

I also discovered this m ss ng p eces, they’ve launched a wonderful kindred project titled TOGETHER — a series of conversations with inspired and inspiring humans about how we live through these disorienting times. Check it out. They helped stitch together hours of film for the Universe in Verse Project.


That was the biggest tangent so far!

When I read the prompt I was a little disappointed – but only because I had written a fruit poem the day before in a workshop and it is one that I am still gathering in and didn’t want my brain to have to confuse itself with a second one – but then as I was sitting with that thought, a good one sprang to mind. And because of that workshop I already have the questions and expansion from the fruit/imagination ideas inside me -at my core – (excuse the pun)!