November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 1

Good morning. Here we are. Another PAD challenge. Feels like it was just a few weeks ago we were doing one, but I guess it hasn’t been since April. This time around I’m going to be throwing out a prompt (and my attempt at a poem) each day, but we’re going to do it with a focus on having a chapbook’s worth of poems at the end of the month.

So, with that said, I’m going to give a little more room than normal on following the prompts–and the prompts themselves may at times feel a little spacious. This is to give you the ability to write a collection of poems around a particular theme, which means, yes, I want you to give a little thought to the theme you’d like to explore through the month of November. For instance, your theme could be political poems, poems about motherhood, nature poems, food poems, animal poems, poems about your life, poems about a particular medical condition, poems about whatever, etc.

You probably don’t want to make your theme too specific, but having some sort of focus will be helpful, I think. My theme will be to write poems having to do with monsters. I’m not sure if it will be just horror movie monsters or if I’ll mix in real life monsters as well, but that’s the theme I’m choosing for myself.

So before moving on, think a little about what theme you’d like to write about. You can include it with your poem today–or leave it a mystery for other writers to guess at. Totally your call. Here, I’ll wait while you think of a theme.


Okay, you’ve got your theme (even if that theme is just to write a bunch of disjointed poems). At the end of the month, I may be asking you to collect your poems together from this challenge and send me your chapbooks so that I can try to pick a Best Chapbook Award. If I do this, the winner probably won’t be announced until Groundhog Day. But I’ll give more information on this idea as the month unfolds.

Let’s get into today’s prompt. For today’s prompt, I want you to look at your theme and write a “hook” poem. This is a poem intended to hook your reader on your theme. Think about the beginning of poems like “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” and “Howl.” This poem gets right into the meat of your theme, and pulls the reader along. Think of a dramatic situation involving your theme and start there (in medias res). Totally.

Here’s my attempt for the day:

“The Hook”

She screamed as she closed the door,
so that the annoyed boy could not ignore.

He walked over to her side of the car,
only to realize he’d tried going too far

earlier in their Lovers Lane evening spat
when she grew so anxious to leave that

she made him curse her under his breath–
now realizing how close he was to death.


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104 thoughts on “November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 1

  1. Lynne

    I’m starting late, but I’m determined to write to every day’s prompt from Robert. Having trouble posting this, so I hope it does not show up multiple times. Apologies if it does.

    golden yellow crown
    overnight becomes white fluff
    dandelion death

    Lynne Nelsen
    November 2008

  2. Penny Henderson

    I’ve heard it called
    "the Web of Life.’
    Fragile threads of warp and woof
    seem tougher in community.
    Under and over in random paths,
    the rocks and trees and people
    weave through water, soil and air…
    touch and connect.

  3. Kathy Kehrli

    Well, as you can all see, I’m majorly behind. However, I’m going to attend to play major catch-up and still complete this challenge. Here’s my first…

    I. The Grim Prognosis

    This afternoon my father died.
    Tonight I was told,
    “Of patients who come in like this,
    Only 10% ever walk out alive.”
    Dr. P.—whom I later dubbed The Miracle Worker—
    Ended his prognosis with:
    “I think your dad’s going to be one of them.”
    Like a cell phone conversation
    Played out under poor reception,
    The intermediate words
    Registered on my auditory nerve
    In fits and spurts,
    Between a cognitive dance of
    Is he alive or dead?
    “Full cardiac arrest …”
    “Blood started flowing beautifully …”
    “Then his heart stopped again …”
    This afternoon my father died.
    Tonight, just barely, he lives.


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