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national poetry writing month

NaPoWriMo Writing Prompt

April 2, 2011

Pretty yellow leavesAlthough I’d not thought much about it in advance, I decided to participate in National Poetry Writing Month this year. Maureen Thorsen quoted a writing prompt I created that she found via Mary Biddinger. We’re all one cozy family here in the Poetry Blogosphere.

Writing Prompt

If your personal well of inspiration seems dry, never fear. I will be posting poetry prompts here from time to time. Here’s a five step prompt to help get you started, via Mary Biddinger by way of Deborah Ager:

1. Use a color as your title.
2. Write against what people associate with that color. If your color is yellow, write a sad poem. If your color is blue, write a cheery poem.
3. Invoke the name of a poet they way you’d invoke your own name in a ghazal.
4. Take a look at the Wikipedia page on poetic forms and choose a form. Write the poem in that form.
5. Use a form of water in your poem– ice, drop, drip, drizzle, mist, etc.

I’m on a high after completing a poem this past week. After a busy month full of various life events—that meant little poetry writing—I was asked to read a poem at a funeral for a person in a family I consider my second family. I’ve known this family for about thirty years and adore them all. I glanced through my book, Midnight Voices, and none of the poems said what I wanted to say at this funeral. Then, I turned to Hopkins and pondered Dylan Thomas even though I knew the request was to hear my words. As great as Thomas and Hopkins are and may be, they have not known this family for thirty years. Off I went to my studio—certain I could not and did not know how to write a poem—and out I came with a draft of something that was exactly how I want to be writing in the future. The future became the now.


Warm Up That Pencil

March 31, 2009

or your pretty white Mac laptop, people. It’s time for NaPoWriMo (National Poetry Writing Month).

Maureen is the brain behind this invention. The idea, based loosely on National Novel Writing Month, is to write a poem for each day in April. There are no rules. You can keep the poems to yourself, post them to your blog or pay someone to show them in Times Square. What you do is up to you. The only guideline is 30 poems in 30 days.

This is the real NaPoWriMo. You don’t have to pay. You don’t have to get pledges. You don’t have to do a darned thing. You don’t even have to write the poems. We won’t know. We won’t mind.