No fooling: Write a poem a day in April!

My weekend is about to begin, and I’m not sure if I’ll be able to make any more posts until Monday. My oldest son will be singing with his kindergarten class tomorrow, and I’ll be helping my little brother move into his brand new house on Sunday. Good times for the Brewer clan!

Anyway, the purpose of this post is to prepare you for a wild and crazy April poetry challenge. As you probably know, April is National Poetry Month and to celebrate I decided to challenge myself to writing a poem each day–not worrying about quality as much (that’s why revision was invented) as getting some first draft material to work with. And I want to encourage you to join me.

To help you out, I’ve been preparing a series of poetry prompts for each day of the month of April. In fact, I’m even thinking I’ll do a “Two for Tuesday” poetry prompt each week as well.

Anyone who writes a poem a day and posts that poem in the comments of each prompt will get something of value from yours truly over the summer. In fact, I’m sure anyone who writes a poem on most of the days will get something from me.

If you’re worried about rights, you’ll retain your rights, though many publishers will probably consider those poems, at least those drafts of your poems, published–even with them being in the comments. But I plan on participating, and if you’re foolhardy like me, you will, too.

Also, just to let you know, I’ll probably remove any poems that are over-the-top offensive. That’s not to try and censor anyone, but if a piece is excessively graphic just for the sake of being excessively graphic–then I’ll probably have to pull the plug. (After all, there are some young ones who read this blog.) I’m hopeful none of my readers will go to that extreme.

If you have any questions, just send me an email with “Poetry Challenge” in the subject line at robert.brewer@fwpubs.com.

*****

Even if you don’t participate by writing poems in the comments, though, I would love it if you participate at home. And if any of those poems eventually end up published, I’d love to hear about it.

*****

So the challenge is now out there and official. If you’re interested, start looking for the first prompt on April 1 (and again, this is not some April Fool’s Day prank, for real).

Have a great weekend!

 

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38 thoughts on “No fooling: Write a poem a day in April!

  1. Maria Jacketti

    One Incarnation of Love

    cleans the litter-box,
    cackles, wakes me up with
    political commentaries,
    of a world pregnant
    with entropy, a blue rose with warts.

    Good love is a mentholated powder
    on the prickly heat of this world.

  2. Maria Jacketti

    Thank you for the jolt and inspiration. I have done this kind of thing before with poet friends. I have read that Robert Bly writes a poem a day and strongly urges serious poets to write a poem a day. And two decades ago, when Galway Kinnell was my professor at New York University, he also told me to do this as a poetic duty each day. Interestingly, I have probably failed at their advice, although my poetry notebooks are fairly thick. Nevertheless, I think it is priceless advice; it is a shame that the challenges of every day life get in the way.

    Perhaps the most stunning example of a poem a day poet was Pablo Neruda, whom I have translated at length. It was his job, and he wrote at least a poem a day. The end result was that his canon was thicker than the Bible, as we know it. Poets need a work ethic, too. I am certainly endeavoring to get through the month.

  3. Terri

    Day 9

    Paint

    Today I got ambitious
    I got out a bucket of green paint–
    Actually Sage or Forest Meadow
    Garden Moss – some natural sounding color.

    There is nothing natural about painting;
    Down on my hands and knees edging,
    Up on the ladder rolling
    Once with my stockinged foot in the paint pan.

    But now I admire my paint job,
    while rubbing my aching neck;
    I wonder how many calories were burned
    in my 5 hours of body contortions?

    My friend calls and wants to know
    if I want to go out, have a few drinks;
    I tell her sorry, but I am too damn tired to
    paint the town red,
    or garden moss green for that matter.

  4. Terri

    Paint

    Today I got ambitious
    I got out a bucket of green paint–
    Actually Sage or Forest Meadow
    Garden Moss – some natural sounding color.

    There is nothing natural about painting;
    Down on my hands and knees edging,
    Up on the ladder rolling
    Once with my stockinged foot in the paint pan.

    But now I admire my paint job,
    while rubbing my aching neck;
    I wonder how many calories were burned
    in my 5 hours of body contortions?

    My friend calls and wants to know
    if I want to go out, have a few drinks;
    I tell her sorry, but I am too damn tired to
    paint the town red,
    or garden moss green for that matter.

  5. Candace Armstrong

    4/4/08

    Before, my words were mine alone
    Now I share them with eyes unknown
    It makes me feel a little shy
    But I’ll recover by and by
    And pen the substance of my dreams
    For Life’s not always what it seems
    Or send forth a bit of story
    Because writing’s mandatory!

  6. Candace Armstrong

    Just came across this. Does the poem need to be in the form of the prompt for the day? I’ve been writing 8 lines every morning (for 2008)to get myself thinking for the day. Here’s what I wrote on 4/1/08:

    Today He whispered in my ear
    A word that I am loathe to hear
    It makes me tremble, makes me quake
    To think of steps I didn’t take.
    After He’s been prompting me so
    I can’t pretend I didn’t know
    I simply wouldn’t take a chance
    And He said "Disobedience."

    4/2/08:

    I think best as day covers night
    But I’m not sure I see the light
    My energy splits and scatters
    I wonder what really matters
    And faced with choices great and small
    I deign to try to do them all
    Then flounder ineffectively
    Doomed again to searching be.

    4/3/08:

    A special kind of intercourse
    Care for the rider, not the horse
    Stroking where unseen cords abide
    Upon the pulsing crimson tide.
    Fill up the bucket of your life
    With pain, abandonment and strife
    Then splash it out upon the sky
    Step out, look in, don’t wonder why.

  7. Bill Kirk

    Roger Banister
    By Bill Kirk

    May 26, 1954. Three runners stood on the line.
    It was a day like no other had been
    Or would be again.
    In the minds of men,
    Long anticipated expectations were held in check
    By the history of a feat often tried
    But never accomplished.

    With tension in the air
    And muscles on the brink of exploding,
    The gun went off.
    Then heartbreak as we were called back to the line.
    “How to put the lions back in the cage,” they wondered?
    Would our legs recover sufficiently for another go?
    They would and they did.

    Then the world turned on four words,
    “Runners take your mark!”
    Another shot and a seeming instant flashed by.
    Hearts pounding—lungs near bursting—
    The eternity of that first quarter mile just 57.5 seconds.
    Still, I yelled, “Faster” as I ran impatiently from behind.
    An arms length ahead of me,
    Brasher’s cooler head prevailed, controlling the race.
    Had it not, the price I would pay in three scant minutes would be dear.
    The next two quarter miles each exceeded a minute—
    “Not by much,” some would say.
    But would "not much" be "too much" at the end of the day?

    Then Chataway took the lead in the third,
    Stride for stride three champions drove on—
    Into the last revolution.
    Now was when “faster” was needed.
    At last it was my turn—my time.
    I surged ahead down the back stretch.
    “59, 59, 59 seconds,” was my singular thought.
    Could it be done? Was this the day?
    Rounding the last turn, with 50 yards left,
    I raced toward my date with destiny.

    Nothing left now but raw will,
    I stared at the tape stretched across my path,
    Yet beckoning, from a mere 15 feet before me.
    Less than three more foot strikes to leave on the track,
    A duel with the clock: What razor-thin portion
    Of a single second would I gain or lose?

    Tick-tick-tick.
    The snap of the tape; time frozen with the click, click, click of stop-watches.
    Flashing bulbs.
    Total collapse into waiting arms.
    Unbearable pain.
    Gasping for breath.
    Then a smile—I had done it.

    The elusive 4-minute mile had been conquered.

  8. ktmcda

    The paw print

    02, Apr, 2008 in Uncategorized | No comments

    The envelope
    came in the mail,
    few days after
    I’d vacuumed up the last of him.
    Contained a three-inch
    clay disk impression
    of a paw print
    the toes splayed wide,
    and four
    little claw holes,
    and a letter:
    “He was lucky
    to have you.”

  9. burma james

    Perfume

    Poised I am, ever so invitingly, I hope strategically
    on mirrored tray
    what is my lure—is it shape, or height, or texture, or color,
    certainly not my scent; not yet —
    that draws her to me
    her eyes taking me in
    First tentative sniff of me cast into the air,
    An approving nod and, more adventurous now, on her wrist, waved about,
    She inhales me, pupils dilated as she delights in the
    irrestible siren envisioned in her mind’s eye,
    seductress vamp trailing scent of delectable promise.

  10. Lisa Cecil

    My first time
    trying to get serious while still silly
    (I can’t get serious today)

    im writing a poem that is black and white
    cuz my colors are gone,
    and money is tight
    the creeks flow not, the trees are bare
    and flowers have yet to sprout
    the sun, no shine, the woods are bleak
    and no creatures up and about

    except for a skunk.. that wanders in,
    now I began to shout
    get out of here you smelly skunk
    and take your black and white hair
    if i’m to be in the woods like this,
    at least allow me fresh air!

    Note: Ha! I think I will toss this poem.. I am not ashamed of it, only the brain which developed it and I don’t need the remimder!

  11. Robert Brewer

    Thanks for all the great stuff in here!

    However, moving forward, please post your poems in the comments of the actual prompt. I’ll definitely do my best to sort everything out at the end of the month, but that’ll make it a lot easier. 🙂

    Happy Wednesday!

  12. Mary Beth Brace

    It’s a new day
    and everyone is waiting
    for me to come around to feed
    the horses neigh and move forward
    toward the gate
    fulfilling their need.
    Our collie dog barks
    and whines and quivers
    until he is unclipped, free…
    and off he runs yipping
    and running in circles
    and so happy to see me.
    The old yellow cat
    stretches and yawns
    and moves to his place
    as I approach the door.
    He anticipates his bowl full
    to the top..you can see it
    in his eyes.
    I say, "That’s all, no more."
    The fat, fuzzy thing.
    The breakfast smells
    are best in the kitchen
    where our teens gather
    glassy-eyed
    It’s a new day
    and everyone is waiting
    for their toast and egg, fried.
    To serve each day
    to meet the need,
    I like this life-long plan
    Of sustaining, caring,
    enjoying, sharing
    with God’s animals
    and fellow man.

  13. Rodney C. Walmer

    I may have posted the last two in the wrong place,so I am reposting them. Here is todays. I will repost yesterdays next.
    A day of pranks

    I don’t know how it got started
    perhaps, a joke for the light hearted
    a desire to be cool
    or just a need to make someone the fool
    it could have been a one time prank
    so, there is no one to thank
    for this funny tool’s way
    it makes people smile
    I’ve just been thankful for April fool’s day
    since I was a child.

    ©Rodney C. Walmer Inspired by the poem a day contest.

  14. Don Swearingen

    The Murder

    I really wanted something to say
    To do my first Poem-of-the-day.
    I thought and thought,
    I read and sought
    But each thought, like a wisp went away.
    I became more and more distraught
    On how the muse could be bought.
    In despair I sighed,
    And then I cried,
    I forgot all the rhymes I’d been taught!
    All the tricks that I knew, I tried,
    The muse laughed, refused to be my new bride,
    Enraged? I should say!
    And while the madness held sway,
    I strangled the muse. And she died.
    And now? What can I say?
    Her spirit has gone all away.
    I am left all alone
    With the heart of a stone
    And emptiness the price I shall pay.

  15. John Mucha

    Opening Day

    I do not write these kinds of poems…no, really.
    I am enamored of the tortured, turgid verse born of intellectual
    and emotional self-consciouness, nurtured on obscurity
    and suckled on vanity.
    So this is a radical departure for me…no, really.
    The season opens today and the team begins it’s 47th year
    with hope and determination
    The batters adjust their helmets
    The pitchers look in for their signs
    I am glued to the TV.
    I watch a double play ballet and I pick up the phone…
    surely my mother saw the play, as she has seen
    a hundred thousand or more.
    Agian, I must say, I do not write poems like this.
    But I cannot call because this is the first Opeing Day my mother will have missed in 47 years
    and the first time I will not be able to call and complain,
    commiserate over the bad call, the unwise double switch,
    the blown save.
    I promise I will not write like this again.
    Tomorrow I will return to my emotionally distanced verse,
    my John Ashberry imitations, my dear Eliot.
    But today, I must make an exception.
    What opens today is sure to close again.

  16. Joseh McLaughlin

    APRIL 1 (haiku sequence)

    i.
    many will write
    of fools today–before
    looking in the mirror

    ii
    no one plays
    jokes on me–I am
    too serious

    iii.
    I live in
    one of the chakras
    –can you guess?

    iv.
    I sleep in
    my father’s chair,
    waiting for the cat

    v.
    one star
    through the window–clouds
    are swirling skirts

    vi.
    in the morning
    a white limousine
    is parked in the driveway

    –Joseph McLaughlin (c) 2008

  17. Susan Lindsey

    The Trip
    The Trip

    It wasn’t far.
    Not even down the road.
    But I was driving
    The car in circles,
    Figure eights,
    Around the trees that dotted our front yard
    Where we played softball in the spring,
    Football in the fall
    And built snowmen in the winter.
    Fifteen and behind the wheel.

  18. Carol Clark

    "First Kitty"

    She came to me
    pure white ball of fur
    pink ears still flattened down,
    just six weeks old –
    My first kitty.

    I loved her at once;
    her speed and her spunk
    made her the pick of the bunch.
    The only girl, born in a closet;
    first jumper out of her boxed nest.

    I called her Jenny
    after Forrest Gump’s one love
    And she could run
    and jump
    and climb
    to get stuck way up in a tree
    Find her beaming like the moon
    from a branch out into the night.

    My Jenny, my first kitty
    just turned 12;
    not as spunky
    not as speedy
    sleepy’s the key word
    But I love her even more –
    My first kitty.

  19. Jeanette J. McAdoo

    For five years we were friends,
    Till one day out of the blue.
    He approaches me to no end,
    A change something happens so true.

    He pulls me close our first kiss,
    Though nervous flames ignite.
    And yet my feelings are bliss,
    Leads to ecstasy in the night.

    No more looking around,
    After I’ve searched for years.
    Now that I’ve finally found,
    My true love appears.

    I’m happier than ever,
    Can’t wait to be with you.
    Another in my life never,
    To you I will be true.

  20. Yvonne Wood

    first job

    it was summer of seventy-three
    we were awakened by daddy
    make sure you wear long sleeves
    cause it is gonna be hot today
    get in the truck so we can be on our way
    when we got to the fields
    he cut a hoe handle with a saw
    I just stood there in awe
    although i was only nine
    having a job suited me fine

  21. K

    weird, my link above didn’t work.

    Song of a porcelain nesting doll cookie jar, who is filled with self-loathing

    I am a porcelain
    Porcelain nesting doll.
    Doll-shaped cookie jar,
    Jar void of inner doll.
    Doll void of cookies, void.
    Void there, and there, and there.
    There’s a hammer –
    Hammer next
    Next to me, a hammer; me.
    Me hammer,
    Hammer. Smash.
    Smash smash
    Smash.

  22. Gail Sandonato

    In dreams I see you,

    handsome as Paris, dark-haired, tall,

    outshining Helios with your beauty,

    as you stroll Elysian Fields.

    Remember me, My Love,

    and I will come to you on strong, swift legs,

    Then, will we teach love to Radiant Beings

    And with passion, set Heaven aflame.

  23. Nancy Creager

    First Crash

    There is a boy on the basketball yard
    Busy looking into the balloncest
    All he cares is next hit.
    Oh lord, he is a beautiful boy.

    Look upstairs, Adonis,
    I am at the upstairs window,
    Third row from the left,
    A breeze caress the pink curtain.
    And I am hiding behind..

    I am leaving behind my dolls,
    Ropes, and stuffed bears,
    I feel an impatience to look at you
    An absorbent magnet, that’s what you are. .

    Tomorrow I will be fifteen.

  24. p wagner

    the Goat

    My first goat
    what a cute little thing
    wagging it tail
    and blaating so loud.

    my first goat
    ate like a little pig
    and sometimes
    smelled like one too.

    my first goat
    was too little
    to go outside
    and play

    my first goat
    found a new home
    with a cousin
    who loves him so much

  25. Chloe

    Is this where the poems are posted?

    It’s Spring Again
    by: Chloe

    The cannon-like explosion,
    a muted thud,
    the ball lays on the carpet
    amid ice-like shards.
    Another hit for Maddie
    right on target,
    Is there a bulls eye
    on that window?

    She stands in the grass stunned.
    She’s done it again,
    she must face her mother; eyes
    flashing furiously, roars of rage
    battering her ears.

    She opens the door slowly,
    and saunters in
    head down, cap askew,
    bat over her shoulder,
    teeth clenched against
    the fire she must endure.

    "Don’t say nothin’, Mama,
    I’ll go to my room.
    I‘ll stay there a whole week, I promise?"
    I try to stifle a smile.
    "At least," I say

  26. Michelle Cooper

    PEOPLE U DON’T FORGIVE CAN CONTROL U

    A while ago I learned
    People u don’t forgive can control u
    I’ve conditioned my strong mind over a period
    Of time not to let people phase me
    During my worst trials and tribulations in
    My life I was forced to stand firm on faith
    To let wrongful relatives and strangers know
    People u don’t forgive can control u
    Giving them power to ruin your day
    People u don’t forgive can control u
    Giving them power to take your thoughts away
    People u don’t forgive can control u
    Giving them power to make u stray
    People u don’t forgive can control u
    Giving them power to make u disobey
    People u don’t forgive can control u
    Giving them power to make u forget to pray
    PEOPLE U DON’T FORGIVE WILL CONTROL U

    H.Michelle Cooper

  27. Salvatore Buttaci

    I CAN TAKE A PRANK

    Eavesdropping, I hear Pancho the dog
    at the feline ear of Kit Ten our siamese cat,
    saying what? Pancho and the cat, usually
    at odds, one chasing the other’s tail,
    but this April’s first day the two sit
    muzzle to perked-up ear while I listen
    from the crack in the kitchen door ajar
    for eavesdroppers like me, wondering
    what gives here! Pancho growls, Kit Ten
    nods her chocolate-brown head, and then–
    I swear it!–they give each other a high five,
    little cat paw to giant dog paw, and they
    go their separate ways. When I enter the kitchen,
    my dinner plate filled with Cheerios
    is on the floor, beside a spilled cup of Joe.
    I look around for the sign that says
    "April Fool!" but not finding it, I kneel
    at my breakfast, somewhere four pet eyes on me,
    and pretend I’m licking up my meal because
    Hey, I can take a prank with the rest of them
    and Pancho’s no Villa and Kit Ten sleeps in bed
    with me when I catch a springtime flu.

    #
    (C) 2008 Salvatore Buttaci

  28. Kateri Woody

    I was pointed in this direction by my poetry workshop Professor, and just wanted to say that I’m jumping on board. Thanks for this opportunity!

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