Tag Archives: Robert Hass

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?
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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

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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.

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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).

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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 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

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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.