Tag Archives: Sylvia Plath

NaPoWriMo 2021 Day 15


Day Fifteen Click to read the full post

It’s hard to believe, but today marks the halfway point of Na/GloPoWriMo 2021! I hope the first half of the month has produced a sheaf of new poem drafts for you, and that you’re ready to harvest a crop of fifteen more.

Our featured participant for today is, again, two featured participants because I just couldn’t choose. First up, we have a Viking-themed musing from Plumb-Lines, and a mediation on names and identity from xanhaiku.

Today, we have two featured readings. One, which is a pre-recorded one, is an audio recording of Sylvia Plath, reading her poems way back in 1958. And the other is a live event that will take place today at 4 P.M. pacific time. Long-time Na/GloPoWriMo participant Vince Gotera will be reading in support of a new anthology published by Glass Lyre Press.

Today’s prompt comes to us from Juan Martinez. It asks you to think about a small habit you picked up from one of your parents, and then to write a piece that explores an early memory of your parent engaged in that habit, before shifting into writing about yourself engaging in the same habit.

… see the original prompt…, along with a few other of Martinez’s prompts, here.

Happy writing!

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We are HALFWAY there! Keep it coming!

I am super excited because I have spent some time in pitstops and this halfway point also marks for me the day I finally caught up with the 2nd week of NaPo — and today we enter the third week! A fortnight to go and there will be plenty of resources and prompts left for you to pick up once NaPo finishes and you get withdrawals and miss this daily trudge to your notebook or tech.

This is why I also create documents at the start, there are plenty of materials I will revisit.

However you got here and however many poems are behind you, or not, you are here. So pat yourself on the back and stay. Let’s flex our writer muscles and dive into another glorious 15 day stretch of National Poetry Month/NaPoWriMo.

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I started with the participant’s sites, again a day of two. Love this double pulling from the prompts. I admired the wordplay in The This and That of Brændeholm, the historical references/origins are weaved in tightly. The descriptions are brilliant considering the rot and dankness which was being portrayed – then/ up it pops up like a scabby wart, // because it’s covered with stubble rot,/ soaking dank air — it’s terra nullius, /meaning ‘nobody’s land’ and the way her memories are woven into it too.

It’s a two-bit kind of a
name that is old Norse, the first half
busy, going about burning down
the place, the place being an islet,

because it’s covered with stubble rot,
soaking dank air — it’s terra nullius,
meaning ‘nobody’s land’ and also
meaning the first Old Norse bit of my
name is torching our wee rotting eyot,

as is expected of a Norseman, and which I nearly managed myself
when playing with matches in the garage when I was 4,

And like I have done in previous years, there are a couple of different prompts followed.

This year there are so many poetry festivals going on this month as well as NaPo that I decided not to join any of the other groups although I have a document of stored prompts.

The 2nd participant’s poem I’m nobody. Who am I? explores all their names, with layers of spoken and unspoken story running behind their lines, I read and re-read it. There is a lot of depth to dig into or create with this poem.

Spawns shortened versions like tadpoles

Sandy, Alex, Xan

Little nicks cut into the sturdy stem

I should find a mathematician
To calculate the possible combinations
And see how many different people
I can be

I watched/listened to the Plath video. Sylvia Plath is a poet I only started to read when I came back to poetry in 2014, although I’ve known who she was and her story for decades.

The Post Archive

Sylvia Plath, reading her poems in Springfield, MA on April, 18 1958.

Sylvia Plath (October 27, 1932 – February 11, 1963) was an American poet, novelist, and short-story writer. Born in Boston, she studied at Smith College and Newnham College at the University of Cambridge before receiving acclaim as a poet and writer.

She married fellow poet Ted Hughes in 1956, and they lived together in the United States and then in England. They had two children, Frieda and Nicholas, before separating in 1962. Plath was clinically depressed for most of her adult life, and was treated multiple times with electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). She took her own life in 1963.

Plath is credited with advancing the genre of confessional poetry and is best known for two of her published collections, The Colossus and Other Poems and Ariel, and The Bell Jar, a semi-autobiographical novel published shortly before her death. In 1982, she won a posthumous Pulitzer Prize for The Collected Poems.

It is quite amazing hearing her read her work. And her interview too, although some of the questions are sometimes inaudible on the initial recording. There’s about 40 minutes of Sylvia and then it is a recording of Ted Hughes.

There were plenty of rabbit holes I could have gone down from You Tube again, but today decided to save my exploration for another time in favour of i) not falling behind again ii) getting as far as the prompt and writing my poem before evening events.

Another fantastic NaPo Resource! I shall revisit/re-listen.

The other featured reading clashes with a previous NaPo suggested reading and also my long awaited, much looking forward to – second workshop with Jericho Brown, so once again it is unlikely I shall manage this Midnight reading with Vince Gotera. I thought there was an anthology launch later in the week/ Aeolian Harp Volume 6 reading: Alexis Rhone Fancher, Vince Gotera, Meg Harris, Mary Barbara Moore but when I logged on to reserve the dates were the same.

I enjoyed checking out fulmerford.com, I had a good look around and followed on social media before settling down with the prompt this evening.

My starting point for the prompt was to think of habits my parents have, which I have and what I may have copied from them to find what it is I shall write about.

Now, who knows if this was the prompt, the connection to family, writing about books or Sylvia Plath’s influence but I have just written the NaPo poem I am happiest with so far! Wow… feels good when they arrive like that.

When he reached the halfway point

of the page, he would rest his hand

beneath on the next ready for turning.

I look forward to working on it in May and seeing what happens.

AND I have caught up with NaPoWriMo! WHOOP!

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An Article in ‘The Stylist’ – Rejection Letters of the Famous


We will all face rejection from the world of publishing, I have FINALLY had lots of success recently, but it is a long, hard road even for the successful writer.

I saw a link to this article on social media and thought I would share it here, take a look, it will make you feel better.  i_love_reading_2

Amongst the rejected are;

Sylvia Plath,



George Orwell,

Gertrude Stein.


Take a look, these letters will make you feel better, better about yourself and your writing… and then you can just keep going like all these famous people did.