NaPoWriMo

NaPoWriMo logoAgain this year, I’m taking on National Poetry Month and turning it into National Poetry Writing Month! Like last year, I’ll be writing and posting one poem per day for the entire month of April. Here are the prompts I’ll be using… All prompts except #13, #20, and #21 are gratefully taken from #30dpc. The exceptions are borrowed from poetryprompts.tumblr.

Day 1: Write a short poem (5 lines or less). Be sure to include at least two strong images. Don’t over think it, just do it!

Day 2: Write a poem with pen and ink, quickly, without lifting your pen from the page. Post image if possible. No edits.

Day 3: Write a poem to someone and share it with them.

Day 4: Found poetry. Look to Craigslist, newspapers, Twitter, anywhere for unintentional poetry. Using the original text, punctuate and use line breaks to turn it into a poem.

Day 5: Make something. Anything! Write a poem about your spontaneous making experience.

Day 6: Write a poem from Mars. Describe ordinary things in unfamiliar ways, as through the eyes of someone from another planet unfamiliar with our culture/objects/emotions.

Day 7: Write an ode to one regret that you have.

Day 8: Find a short poem (one page or less) that you love. Cross out every fourth word. Replace the crossed out words with your own choices.

Day 9: Write a poem while doing something else.

Day 10: Listen to an excerpt of Joe Brainerd’s “Remember”. Write your own version.

Day 11: Find a poem you love. Translate it in some way. It could be from its original language to another. It could be from one voice into another voice. Rewrite something contemporary in a way that makes it sound old or something old into modern English.

Day 12: Write a limerick for a stranger.

Day 13: “Stichomancy is one of the oldest forms of divination (at least 3000 years old in fact), in which the querant opens to a random page of randomly selected book in a library, to find an excerpt that applies to the situation at hand.” Whether or not you believe in stichomancy as a form of divination, try getting a random book passage and use one of the sentences from the passage in a poem.

Day 14: Terza rima was created by Italian poet Dante in the late 13th century for his epic poem The Divine Comedy. It’s composed of “tercets woven into a rhyme scheme that requires the end-word of the second line in one tercet to supply the rhyme for the first and third lines in the following tercet.” It’s sometimes considered too difficult to use this structure in English, but do it anyway! Write a poem in terza rima.

Day 15: Experiment with a poetic form. Break all the rules!

Day 16: Do you find it difficult to express one sense (sight, hearing, taste, smell, touch) more than others in your writing? Paying special attention to that often ignored sense, write a poem with exaggerated sensory detail.

Day 17: Use volta (a poetic turn) in a poem of any length (it can be a sonnet, or not).

Day 18: What’s your favorite color? Jot down three adjectives that describe that color. What’s your favorite animal? Write three adjectives that describe that animal. What’s your favorite body of water (general or specific)? Jot down three adjectives that describe the feeling it evokes. Now, imagine yourself in a white room, no windows, no doors, no noise. Three adjectives that describe the feeling that evokes. Now, write a poem using all of your adjectives in any order.National Poetry Month 2014 poster

Day 19: Write a poem about something you hold sacred.

Day 20: Write a confessional poem.

Day 21: While in a public place, write down occasional sentences you overhear from others’ conversations. Use at least one of them in a poem.

Day 22: “All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.” –Hemingway. Write a short poem that is also the “truest sentence that you know.”

Day 23: Write a poem that fits on a post-it note. Stick it somewhere public. Post a picture.

Day 24: Compose a poem out loud. Use a tape recorder, smartphone, or have someone write it down for you.

Day 25: Write a poem inspired by a YouTube video. Be sure to share the link to the video that inspired it.

Day 26: Circle all the verbs in a magazine article. Use as many of them as you can to construct a poem.

Day 27: Spend time with an object you feel connected to. Write a poem using the object to construct an extended metaphor.

Day 28: Write a poem that’s 140 characters or less. If you’re on Twitter, tweet it!

Day 29: Write a prose poem.

Day 30: Write a poem where something (big or small, abstract or concrete) comes to an end.

Poetry 22, 2014

I have never written a poem
about a horse
until now.

There’s this thing about women
writing about horses
that makes students,

children,
men
look at each other knowingly,

knowing that a poem by a woman
about a horse is
of course

never really about a horse.
And yet that image—the strong,
muscled body

between one’s legs, moving
with such purpose—is never
applied to men

who write poems about horses.
How strange,
that thought.

———
Prompt: “All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.”—Hemingway. Write a short poem that is also the “truest sentence that you know.” NaPoWriMo

Poetry 20, 2014

People ask me why I keep writing about the same event
over and over, why I seem to focus on something so tragic,
so distasteful, so unwieldy again and again.

On December third two-thousand six in the very early
morning, maybe two or three hours after midnight, you—
a man whom I had thought was a friend—pressed me down
into the cold tile with your full weight.
Along with my growing terror, the sharp pain that shot up
my hips and lower back and paralyzed me and surely made
your attack against me that much easier to complete.

When I’m able to say anything at all, I tell those people
that I keep writing about it because it keeps happening.
I’m still affected by it; this ‘tragic’, ‘unwieldy’ event
still closes my throat and stops my tongue. ‘Distasteful’
doesn’t even begin to describe it properly.

I told you “no”. I told you “get off”. I told you “stop”.
You unzipped my jeans and reached your hand inside my pants,
tearing my underwear in your delusion. I couldn’t move, and I
couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t stop you.
Literally, I could not physically stop you.

When I’m able to clear my throat enough to breathe
again, I tell those people that I keep writing about it
because they keep asking about it. I keep writing about it
exactly because they keep asking about it.

You took what you wanted from me, skin on skin, mingled sweat
drenching the hem of my shirt and the top of my jeans.
When I struggled, you said,
“I know you like it rough. Let’s just have some fun.”

I keep writing about it because people ask me,
“What did you do to provoke him?”
instead of
“Why didn’t anyone teach him not to rape?”

———
Prompt: Write a confessional poem. NaPoWriMo

Poetry 18, 2014

The Last Kingdom

The vast forest that surrounds the last kingdom
lives compressed between the base of the mountain range
and the quiet royal gardens, where everyday in the afternoon
the childless queen sits in the shade clutching the satchel
of deadly herbs to her side. The alluring call of the deep
woods beyond her guarded space soothes her mind, calms her
hand against the ultimate betrayal against her people.
The woman’s thin, cold lips harden the hope in her eyes,
her mythological reputation preceding her every
step,
word,
breath.
She is at once their ruler and their prisoner,
and she often thinks about life beyond the loud city’s high stone walls.

Color: royal, soothing, calm (violet)
Animal: alluring, deadly, mythological
(siren)
Body of water: vast, cold, deep
(Pacific Ocean)
White room: quiet, compressed, loud

———
Prompt: What’s your favorite color? Jot down three adjectives that describe that color. What’s your favorite animal? Write three adjectives that describe that animal. What’s your favorite body of water (general or specific)? Jot down three adjectives that describe the feeling it evokes. Now, imagine yourself in a white room, no windows, no doors, no noise. Three adjectives that describe the feeling that evokes. Now, write a poem using all of your adjectives in any order. NaPoWriMo

Poetry 17, 2014

Guinevere’s Sijo

There is a lake in England hiding among the knolls and trees
lost in green and blue between earth and sky. Sunk at the bottom
is a stone which reads: Here Lies Arthur, the Once and Future King.

———
Prompt: Use volta (a poetic turn) in a poem of any length (it can be a sonnet, or not). NaPoWriMo

Poetry 16, 2014

Morning

When I wake up,
my mouth
is cracked and dry;
the hour is
a thermometer
under my tongue,
and I can’t quite
spit the sun from
between my teeth.

———
Prompt: Do you find it difficult to express one sense (sight, hearing, taste, smell, touch) more than others in your writing? Paying special attention to that often ignored sense, write a poem with exaggerated sensory detail. NaPoWriMo

Poetry 15, 2014

Cento for Angela

Shall I compare her to a summer’s day? [1]
The grass below; above, the vaulted sky [2]
Unclasps her warmed jewels one by one: [3]
Darkness there, and nothing more. [4]
For though from out our bourne of Time and Place [5]
To follow knowledge like a sinking star [6]
Sailing on a river of crystal light [7]
We felt the minutes crawl [8]
Still falls the Rain—Dark as the world of man, black as our loss— [9]
What’s done is done, and she is dead beside. [10]

———
1. William Shakespeare, “Sonnet 18″
2. John Clare, “I Am”
3. John Keats, “The Eve of St. Agnes”
4. Edgar Allan Poe, “The Raven”
5. Alfred, Lord Tennyson, “Crossing the Bar”
6. Alfred, Lord Tennyson, “Ulysses”
7. Eugene Field, “Wynken, Blynken, and Nod”
8. Oscar Wilde, “The Ballad of Reading Gaol”
9. Dame Edith Sitwell, “Still Falls the Rain”
10. Robert Browning, “The Bishop Orders His Tomb at St. Praxed’s Church”

———
Prompt: Experiment with a poetic form. Break all the rules! NaPoWriMo