Saturday, March 27, 2021

National Poetry Month 2021

Established by the Academy of American Poets in 1996, National Poetry Month begins on April 1st and runs through April 30th. The largest literary celebration in the world, this month-long celebration of poetry is held every April “to widen the attention of individuals and the media to the art of poetry, to living poets, to our complex poetic heritage, and to poetry books and journals of wide aesthetic range and concern.” During April, poets, poetry lovers, publishers, booksellers, literary organizations, libraries, and schools throughout the United States celebrate poetry.


One of the challenges of NPM is to read and/or write a poem every day. So ... in the spirit of the observance, as I’ve done for the past several years, I offer you a prompt re-visit that I hope will be inspirational for each of April’s thirty days.




1. Each day, think about the key word (in caps next to the date).


2. Then click on the link and read the poem—one each day of the month. Let each day’s poem inspire you.


3. After thinking a bit about the content of the poem you read, identify something in that poem that “strikes a chord” for you.


4. Working from that “chord,” try to write a poem of your own that somehow incorporates the key word (doesn’t have to be exact) and which may or may involve content similar to the example poem.


5. I’ve deliberately made some leaps in the ways my key words sometimes differ from the content of the poems to which I’ve matched them—take some leaps yourself!




1. Don’t feel compelled to match your content to the examples’—in fact, do just the opposite and make your poems as different as you possibly can. The inspiration titles and the example poems are only intended to trigger some poetry-spark that’s unique to you, to guide your thinking a little—don’t let them enter too deeply into your poems, don’t let their content become your content.


2. Let your reactions to the key words and poems surprise you. Begin with no expectations, and let your poems take you where they want to go.


3. Give the topics your own spin, twist and turn them, let the phrases trigger personal responses: pin down your ghosts, identify your frailties, build bridges and cross rivers, take chances!


4. Keep in mind that writing a poem a day doesn’t mean you have to “finish” each poem immediately. You can write a draft each day and set your drafts aside to work on later.


5. Whatever you do this month, find some time (a little or a lot) to enjoy some poetry!




“If You Forget Me” by Pablo Neruda




“The Red Wheelbarrow” by William Carlos Williams



April 3—AGING

“When You Are Old” by William Butler Yeats




“Where the Mind Is Without Fear” by Rabindranath Tagore




“Echo” by Christina Rossetti



April 6—MUSIC

“I am in Need of Music” by Elizabeth Bishop




“A Golden Day” by Paul Lawrence Dunbar




“Alone Looking at the Mountain” by Li Po




“A Moment of Happiness” by Jalal al-Din Rumi



April 10—LOVE

“April Love” by Ernest Christopher Dowson



April 11—BIRDS

“Birdhouse” by Diane Lockward




“Patterns” by Amy Lowell



April 13—RAIN

“The Rain” by Robert Creeley



April 14—BOREDOM

“Dream Song 14” by John Berryman



April 15—NAMES

“The Naming of Birds” by Edwin Romond



“Twilight” by Henri Cole



April 17—ROMANCE

“The Romantic” by Gerald Stern




“The Risk of Listening to Brahms” by Michael T. Young



April 19—CHANGES

"The Moment I Knew My Life Had Changed" by Maria Mazziotti Gillan



April 20—WAKING

"Why I Wake Early" by Mary Oliver (Audio)




“Failure” by Philip Schultz




“Family Promises” by Laura Boss




“Fists” by Joe Weil



April 24—LIFE

"The Yellow Brick Road" by Donna Baier Stein


April 25—FAITH

“Breakfront” by Bob Rosenbloom




“To the Next Centuries” by James Richardson



April 27—SPRING

“Spring” by Christina Rossetti




“Dear Magnolia Blossom” by Grace Marie Grafton



April 29—ANIMALS

“Hedgehog” by Paul Muldoon



April 30—MORNING

“On The Pulse of Morning” by Maya Angelou




Happy National Poetry Month!

Sunday, March 7, 2021

Prompt #368 –Txt Msg Poems

With all the social distancing we currently practice because of the Covid pandemic, it's logical to assume that our forms of communication have become largely device-driven. This prompt is a re-visit of one from many years ago that I hope you'll enjoy, particularly in view of how we communicate other than in-person.


Text-based communication (including mobile text messaging, instant messaging, and social media such as Facebook and Twitter) has resulted in a new text language tailored to the immediacy and compactness of popular communications and is widely used. There are thousands of texting abbreviations (also known as shorthand), and hundreds of strange expressions have emerged: ty (thank you), yw (you’re welcome), omg (oh my God), w/e (whatever), and lol (laughing out loud) are among the thousands. Upper case is allowed for emphasis, but a whole message in upper case is considered shouting and therefore rude. For the uninitiated, this new "written language" might appear as gibberish or perhaps an abbreviated form of Jabberwocky.


Text messaging, or texting, involves composing and sending brief, electronic messages between two or more mobile phones, or fixed or portable devices over a phone network. The term originally referred to messages sent using the Short Message Service (SMS) but has grown to include messages containing image, video, and sound content (MMS messages). The sender of a text message is known as a texter, and this week, you will be a poet-texter.


Interestingly, Carol Duffy, who became Britain’s first female poet laureate in 2009, has made connections between poetry and texting and was quoted in an interview with England’s Guardian, “The poem is a form of texting ... it’s the original text. It’s a perfecting of a feeling in language – it’s a way of saying more with less, just as texting is. We’ve got to realise that the Facebook generation is the future—and, oddly enough, poetry is the perfect form for them. It’s a kind of time capsule—it allows feelings and ideas to travel big distances in a very condensed form.”


If you do any texting yourself, you’re well aware of texting shorthand, which facilitates brevity and immediacy, you probably know many of the most popularly used shorthand abbreviations. For this prompt, the challenge is to write a poem in the form of a text message. Your topic may be anything, but your language must be text message-based and the poems should contain numerous text abbreviations.




1. Write a poem in which you use text message shorthand for some of your words. Don’t attempt to write the whole poem in text message lingo, just use some of the better-known symbols.


2. An alternative idea might be to take a short famous poem and rewrite it using text message shorthand. Or, you might take one of your already-written poems and rewrite it using some text message abbreviations.


3. If you’re not well versed in texting shorthand, you can visit these sites for help.





1. Keep your poems short—no more than 10 or 12 lines.

2. Avoid less commonly used or known abbreviations to ensure that your readers will understand.

3. A humorous approach might work well for this prompt, but certainly isn’t required.

4. In keeping with the spirit of text messaging (brevity and immediacy), keep your lines short and perhaps limit yourself to one stanza—stichic form).

5. Try writing a text message parody of a famous poem.




This Is Just To Say

by William Carlos Williams


I have eaten

the plums

that were in

the icebox


and which

you were probably


for breakfast


Forgive me

they were delicious

so sweet

and so cold.



A Texting Parody of  “This Is Just To Say”


This is jst 2 say

I ate ur plums

that were in

the icebox.


w/e u

saved them 4

I do not care.



pls understand

I am not sorry, LOL.

Go to Dunkin Donuts

TY and TTFN.