Posts Tagged ‘National Poetry Writing Month’

Okay, people, you know the drill: It’s National Poetry Month! That means it’s also NaPoWriMo!

Try your hand at a little poetry this month, especially if it’s not what you normally write. C’mon — haiku is 3 lines: 5 syllables, 7 syllables, 5 syllables. Anyone who can count can do that!

If you’re simply not up to writing poetry, at least make a point of reading some. Don’t care for modern poetry? Read something classic, like Shakespeare or Wordsworth or Dickinson. Have bad memories of “literary” poetry from your school days? Read Dr. Suess or Shel Silverstein or Ogden Nash.

Still not feeling it? Poets Trish Hopkinson and Luanne Castle have each assembled a terrific selection of resources for reading and writing, including prompts designed for prose as well as verse:





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Recycle001With Earth Day looming, it’s only fitting that Maja Todorovic of Business in Rhyme should remind us of the Three Rs of Writing:

Reduce: Take an old draft or something that doesn’t quite work; cut out all the stuff you don’t like; make something new out of what remains.

Reuse: Take old books, magazines, junk mail, grocery receipts – anything with words; cut or tear out words or phrases that strike you; arrange them into a poem, a paragraph, an outline, whatever.

Recycle: Find something you wrote a long time ago, when you were in a different state of mind; turn prose into poetry (or vice versa), rewrite it in a different voice, change 1st person to 3rd (or vice versa), revise the bejeezus out of it – use your old work to inspire something new.

(Reminder: There are still ten days left in National/Global Poetry Writing Month. It’s not too late to get your poetry on!)

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Small-Blue-RGB-National-Poetry-Month-LogoHave you ever wondered why April is National Poetry Month in the U.S. (and other places as well)? Perhaps because both Geoffrey Chaucer and T.S. Eliot open epic poems with references to the month: “Whan that Aprille with his shoores soote” (Canterbury Tales) and “April is the cruellest month” (The Waste Land). Or perhaps because many English-speaking children learn this simplest of rhymes almost as soon as they can speak: “April showers bring May flowers.”

April is also National Poetry Writing Month, or NaPoWriMo. If you want some writing inspiration, any number of sites offer daily prompts:

(These work just as well for other types of writing, if poetry isn’t your thing.)

Whatever writing you do this month, take time to appreciate the poetry that already surrounds you in song lyrics, in mnemonic devices (30 days hath September…), in the everyday speech of your community.

Happy Poetry Month!

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Today marks the end of the fourth week of NaPoWriMo – only two days left! Once again, the good folks at The Poet’s Billow have provided a quick and easy exercise that works equally well for prose and poetry.

With eyes closed, open the dictionary at random and place your finger on the page. Write about the origin of whatever it is that your finger landed on. (This would probably work with almost any book, but the dictionary also provides some reference information to help you along.)

Happy writing!

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We’re just a shade over two-thirds of the way through NaPoWriMo and heading into week four. Today features another excellent exercise borrowed from The Poet’s Billow, a variation on found poetry.

Choose 4 or 5 books – the more they differ in subject or format, the more interesting the exercise. Open to a random page and write down the first line that catches your eye. Repeat 10 times. Construct a poem or prose piece using these 10 lines.

For something quick, use each as the first line of a paragraph or stanza. If you’re into longer forms, begin a new chapter or section with each line.

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Today marks the second week of NaPoWriMo, just one day shy of the half-way mark. Regardless of what we write, it’s important to do something a little different now and then to keep our brains limber.

The good folks over at The Poet’s Billow offered a creative reading/listening exercise the other day that fits the bill nicely. The idea is to read/listen to something in a language you don’t understand and then write what you think you see/hear. Google something with the translation option turned off, or check out the global poetry listing at Poetry International Rotterdam. For something less mundane, have a look at this blog written entirely in Klingon. (Although some poetry has been both written in and translated into Klingon, I was sadly unable to find any recordings of literary readings in the language.)

Happy literal transcribing!

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Now that we’re one week into National Poetry Writing Month, it’s time to take a break from all the serious writing you’ve been doing, poetry or not.

Do you remember Mad Libs, that wacky fill-in-the-blank word game? Here’s something similar to loosen up your brain cells a bit. Fill in the parentheses with the indicated type of word. Copy and paste the text into a file, or do it the old-fashioned way and make a separate list of words then read the whole thing aloud.


When in the (noun) of (adjective) time
I (verb) descriptions of the (adjective) (plural noun),
And (noun) (-ing verb) beautiful old (noun)
In praise of ladies (adjective) and lovely (plural noun),
Then in the (noun) of sweet (possessive noun) best,
Of (noun), of foot, of (noun), of eye, of (noun),
I (verb) in their (adjective) (noun) would have (-ed verb)
Even such (noun) as you (verb) now.
So all their (plural noun) are but (plural noun)
Of this our (abstract noun), all you (-ing verb);
And, for they (-ed verb) but with (adjective) eyes,
They had not (noun) enough your (noun) to (verb):
For we, which now (verb) these (adjective) (plural noun),
Had eyes to (verb), but lack (plural noun) to (verb).

This is a trace exercise, based on Sonnet CVI by William Shakespeare. You can read the original sonnet here. Grab the newspaper or the nearest book and do the same thing with a paragraph or two, just for fun.

NaPoWriMo 2016

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NaPoWriMo 2016Wake up! National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo) begins tomorrow!

If you don’t usually write poetry, this is the perfect excuse to try your hand at something new. If that seems too intimidating, allow yourself to write BAD poetry, the poem equivalent of “It was a dark and stormy night….” (Hint: bad poetry is usually WAY more fun to write than good poetry.)

And if you just can’t bring yourself to write poetry of any kind, let NaPoWriMo spur you to work on something else. Think of it as an extension of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month): finish that half-baked novel you started last November (or three Novembers ago) or revise that Frankenstein of a first draft lurking in the bottom drawer.

Whatever you do, write!

P.S. For writing prompts, check out the links to the right or the Writers Write handy-dandy April prompts. The NaPoWriMo site also has links to all sorts of resources, including prompts. The WordxWord 30/30 Poetry Challenge has moved to Facebook: you can sign up here to participate.

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Perhaps it is because of T.S. Eliot’s famous observation (“The Wasteland”) that April has been designated National Poetry Month by the American Academy of Poets. The energy of the very planet is stirred up as the seasons turn from the extremes of one solstice toward that of the other. Whether you write poetry or not, April is full of inspiration in both the natural and online worlds.

Nothing could be more simple than the A to Z Blogging Challenge, even if you don’t blog. Every day except Sundays, you write something inspired by the corresponding letter of alphabet, beginning with A on April 1 (http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/).

Even if you’re not a poet, you can sign up to receive daily writing prompts from WordXWord’s 30/30 Poetry Challenge (http://3030poetry.com/). If you’d rather not have those pesky prompts popping up in your inbox every day, you can resolve instead to visit the Writer’s Digest’s Poem a Day Challenge (http://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/2014-april-pad-challenge-guidelines/) for their daily prompts.

Then there’s NaPoWriMo — the poet’s version of NaNoWriMo (National Poetry Writing Month and National Novel Writing Month, respectively). Find ideas for taking your writing to the next level at http://www.napowrimo.net/

And for you novelists who were too busy in November to pound out your 50,000 words, the good folks at NaNoWriMo offer a month-long writing experience at Camp NaNoWriMo (https://campnanowrimo.org/sign_in). They also run a second camp session during July, so mark your calendars.

No matter what your genre, crack your fingers, get your tools and supplies lined up, and prepare to get some serious writing done in April!

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Something about April seems to inspire writers — maybe it’s the visibly changing seasons (spring or fall, depending on your hemisphere) or the even thirty days. Whatever the motivation, a number of month-long writing challenges offer daily prompts to inspire you.

To begin with, April is National Poetry Writing Month — NaPoWriMo for short. Even if you are not big on poetry, many of the prompts at the official site would work for any genre, even non-fiction.

April is also when the A to Z Blogging Challenge takes place. Again, the prompts and challenge are great motivation for any kind of writing.

Then there’s the 30/30 Poetry Challenge, which invites participants to contribute a poem a day for the month of April. Daily prompts are provided, and the great thing about this challenge is that you can subscribe by e-mail and get the prompt sent to your inbox each day, whether you contribute or not. Heck, whether you write poetry or not, for that matter.

With all this inspiration in the air, there’s absolutely no excuse for you not to do a whole lot of writing this month. If you know of any other writing challenges or prompt-fests, please let the rest of us know!

(So get writing!)

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