Category Archives: NPM2020

Prompt April 10 2020

Imagem de Great2Travel por Pixabay

Wherever you are in the world, whatever you are working on, one thing is certain that these are uncertain times. No authority, no wisdom, no golden light at the end of the tunnel to guide you at this time. There’s a poem by Emily Dickinson with the theme of uncertainty.

If you were coming in the fall,
I’d brush the summer by
With half a smile and half a spurn,
As housewives do a fly.

If I could see you in a year,
I’d wind the months in balls,
And put them each in separate drawers,
Until their time befalls.

If only centuries delayed,
I’d count them on my hand,
Subtracting till my fingers dropped
Into Van Diemens land.

If certain, when this life was out,
That yours and mine should be,
I’d toss it yonder like a rind,
And taste eternity.

But now, all ignorant of the length
Of time’s uncertain wing,
It goads me, like the goblin bee,
That will not state its sting.

Write a poem using the phrase “If I could see you in a year,” of Dickinson’s poem as the first line of your poem.

As usual, you can post your poem here if you like. You will need a password. Write to theliterarynest@gmail.com if you need the password.

Prompt April 9 2020

Photo by form PxHere

Today’s prompt is a light-hearted one. You have heard songs with a slew of popular culture references, such as “We Didn’t Start the Fire” by Billy Joel or “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” by Gil Scott-Heron. The lyrics of these songs are widely available. I have linked them here for a quick reference.

Write a poem that refers to several pop culture items. Your poem can be light-hearted, or it could deal with any topic that is relevant to today’s climate or future. Have fun with it.

To those who have checked-in with me with their reasons for not writing daily or not posting, don’t worry. You can write as many or as few as your life’s demands permit you. You can always write something that isn’t inspired by a particular prompt. The Academy of American Poets states the motivation behind the NPM on their website.

National Poetry Month was launched by the Academy of American Poets in April 1996 to remind the public that poets have an integral role to play in our culture and that poetry matters. 

So, the point is to keep poetry alive and thriving by making sure the poets stay relevant. As usual, you can post your poem here if you like. You will need a password. Write to theliterarynest@gmail.com if you need the password.

Prompt April 8 2020

Image from Rickard A. Parker website.

“April is the cruellest month,” wrote T.S. Eliot in his long 5-section poem “Waste Land.” Here’s an excerpt from the first section.

For Ezra Pound
Il Miglior Fabbro

I. The Burial of the Dead

April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory and desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain.
Winter kept us warm, covering
Earth in forgetful snow, feeding
A little life with dried tubers.

This particular April of 2020 seems to be difficult, but why would Eliot or rather the speaker of the poem call April the cruelest month? Much activity takes place in nature during spring and there’s work to be done. The cozy winter days of inactivity, dormancy are coming to an end and the lilacs are blooming. There’s no time for story-telling and leisure. How do you feel about the spring, about April? Can you flip the first line on its head and write a poem about the kindness of April?

As usual, you can post your poem here if you like. You will need a password. Write to theliterarynest@gmail.com if you need the password.

Prompt April 7 2020

 

pixabay image

This Coronavirus pandemic is getting more and more severe every day. Today’s news about British PM Boris Johnson being moved to ICU due to Coronavirus related complications just shows that no one is sheltered enough from this virus.

Some people are getting impatient and would like to see the SIP order to end sooner than later. On the other hand, introverts like me are happy and content for the first time in their life. Our introvert tendencies have prepared us for this unique event.

How do you feel about the sheltering-in-place? Are you suffocating or thriving? What if you had to live in a cave? Can you imagine being isolated and having to fend for yourself in a world if modern civilization and conveniences suddenly disappeared?  I hope your imaginations are on fire and you are writing furiously.

As usual, you can post your poem here if you like. You will need a password. Write to theliterarynest@gmail.com if you need the password.

Prompt April 6 2020

On April 6, 1917, the US entered World War I. Write a poem based on what you know/feel about this war or any other war. Here’s one.

Anthem for Doomed Youth
By Wilfred Owen (1893-1918)

What passing-bells for these who die as cattle?
— Only the monstrous anger of the guns.
Only the stuttering rifles’ rapid rattle
Can patter out their hasty orisons.
No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells;
Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs,—
The shrill, demented choirs of wailing shells;
And bugles calling for them from sad shires.

What candles may be held to speed them all?
Not in the hands of boys, but in their eyes
Shall shine the holy glimmers of goodbyes.
The pallor of girls’ brows shall be their pall;
Their flowers the tenderness of patient minds,
And each slow dusk a drawing-down of blinds.

 

You can post your poem here if you like. You will need a password. Write to theliterarynest@gmail.com if you need the password.

Prompt April 5 2020

 


 
Today, let us try to write an erasure poem. Erasure poetry is a form of found poetry. You will take an existing text and erase, block out, or otherwise obscure portions of text in such a way that the remaining text on the page emerges as your own poem.
You can find some examples here.

Here is a rather long essay by Elissa Washuta “I Am Not Pocahontas” that you can use as your starting text. You can choose shorter portions of the text if you like. You can also choose any text of your choice as long as you cite it.

You can post your poem here if you like. You will need a password. Write to theliterarynest@gmail.com if you need the password.

Prompt April 4 2020

 

Photo: Democracy Now!

On April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee. Write a poem on any of the themes mentioned below.

  1. Celebrate African American heritage.
  2. A grand dream.
  3. Liberty
  4. Slavery
  5. The assassination of MLK or assassinations in general.

You can post your poem here if you like. You will need a password. Write to theliterarynest@gmail.com if you need the password.

Prompt April 3 2020


 
Epistolary poems, from the Latin “epistula” for “letter,” are, quite literally, poems that read as letters. As poems of direct address, they can be intimate and colloquial or formal and structured.

Langston Hughes Epistolary Poem
Letter

Dear Mama,
Time I pay rent and get my food
and laundry I don’t have much left
but here is five dollars for you
to show you I still appreciates you.
My girl-friend send her love and say
she hopes to lay eyes on you sometime in life.
Mama, it has been raining cats and dogs up
here. Well, that is all so I will close.
Your son baby
Respectably as ever,
Joe

Write an Epistolary poem to someone. The person can be anyone in the world. For this exercise, do not address your poems to non-human things.

You can post your poem here if you like. You will need a password. Write to theliterarynest@gmail.com if you need the password.

Prompt April 2 2020

A Jelly-Fish
Marianne Moore

Visible, invisible,
A fluctuating charm,
An amber-colored amethyst
Inhabits it; your arm
Approaches, and
It opens and
It closes;
You have meant
To catch it,
And it shrivels;
You abandon
Your intent—
It opens, and it
Closes and you
Reach for it—
The blue
Surrounding it
Grows cloudy, and
It floats away
From you.

Moore revised this poem and this version is compact and images are more precise. The alternating lines in trimeter and tetrameter mimic the movement of the jellyfish.

Visible, invisible,
…a fluctuating charm
an amber-tinctured amethyst
…inhabits it, your arm
approaches and it opens
…and it closes; you had meant
to catch it and it quivers;
…you abandon your intent.

Write a poem about a living thing in nature. Observe the things closely and capture the essence of the thing in your poem. You can post your poem here if you like. You will need a password. Write to theliterarynest@gmail.com if you need the password.

Prompt April 1 2020

Welcome to National Poetry Month. As promised, I will post a writing prompt here for the next 30 days. You are welcome to post your poems on a private page and engage in a dialogue with other poets. If you plan to do this, please send your email contact to theliterarynest@gmail.com so I can send you the password to the page.

To get things started, let’s say what’s on everyone’s mind. It is the age of nature’s fury that is unleashed on the world in the form of coronavirus. Most of us are living an isolated life hiding from an invisible enemy. But this isn’t the first time a deadly pandemic has ravaged the world. In 1890, when Churchill was only 15 years old and attending Harrow School, he wrote this poem in response to the influenza pandemic of the times. Recently, Kitty O’Meara, a retired teacher from Madison, Wisconsin wrote a prose poem And the people stayed home” about the coronavirus pandemic.

If any of these poems inspire any ideas, write about the current coronavirus pandemic situation. Some of you might be driven to write an epic poem. If that’s not your jam, You can write a short haiku or any other short-form poem.