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.

Viannah E. Duncan

Viannah E. Duncan is a writer and activist hailing originally from Los Angeles. She lives outside of Baltimore, Maryland, and holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Wilkes University. She has a cat, Cleo.

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