2013 April PAD Challenge: Guidelines

Here we are–the sixth annual April PAD Challenge. In a little less than 4 weeks, we’ll start meeting here every day to poem like it’s (Inter)National Poetry Month. Poets from the United States, Canada, Mexico, Spain, Germany, India, Japan, Australia, United Kingdom, South Africa, and several other countries have participated in this challenge over the years.

I’ve run into teachers and students who’ve used the challenge as a way to work poetry into the classroom. I’ve heard from published poets with multiple collections that contain poems inspired by the prompts in these challenges. I’ve heard from poets who wrote their first ever poems during in response to these challenges. So I know this challenge is equally for the beginning and established poets, because it’s a springboard–a way to get started.

What is the April PAD Challenge?

PAD stands for Poem-A-Day, so this is a challenge in which poets write a poem each day of April. Usually, I’ll post a prompt in the morning (Atlanta, Georgia, time), and poets will write a poem in response.

Some poets share those poems on the blog in the comments; others keep their words to themselves. I don’t require comments on the blog to participate, but it does make it more fun when poets are firing away on the blog.

Who can participate?

Anyone who wants to write poetry–whether you’ve been writing all your life or just want to give it a shot now, whether you write form poetry or free verse, whether you have a certain style or have no clue what you’re doing. The main thing is to poem (and yes, I use poem as a verb).

I should also note that I’m pretty open to content shared on the blog, but I do expect everyone who plays along in the comments to play nice. There have been moments in the past in which I’ve had to remove or warn folks who got a little carried away. My main goal is to make the challenge fun for all.

(That said, please send me an e-mail if you ever feel like someone is crossing the line. I don’t want to act as a censor–so don’t use me in that way–but I do want to make sure people aren’t being bullied or attacked in the comments.)

Where do I share my poems?

If you want to share your poems throughout the month, the best way is to paste your poem in the comments on the post that corresponds with that day’s prompt. For instance, post your poem for the Day 1 prompt on the Day 1 post in the comments.

You’ll find folks are pretty supportive on the Poetic Asides site. And if they’re not, I expect to be notified via e-mail.

If you are new to WritersDigest.com, you’ll be asked to register (it’s free) on the site to make comments. Plus, your comments will likely not immediately show, because I’ll have to approve them. This is just for folks completely new to the site. I believe after I approve your comments once, you’re good to go for future comments.


Workshop your poetry!

In the Advanced Poetry Writing workshop, poets will write and receive feedback on 6 poems during the 6-week course. Instructor Cherri Randall will share revision techniques that will help leading into National Poetry Month. Click to continue.


Here are some more April PAD Challenge guidelines:

  • Poeming begins April 1 and runs through May 1 (to account for time differences in other parts of the world–and yes, poets all over the world participate).
  • The main purpose of the challenge is to write poems, but I also will choose my favorite poems of the month from poets who submit up to 5 poems by May 5 to my e-mail address (robert.brewer@fwmedia.com) with the subject line: My April PAD Submission. Poets can only submit up to 5 poems, and I will only consider the first submission–so make sure it’s what you meant to send. Unless you need formatting in Word, please include the poems in the body of your e-mail message. It makes my life a lot easier. Also, please include your name in the e-mail.
  • I will attempt to make selections by August 8, and they’ll be announced on this blog.
  • Poem as you wish, but I will delete poems and comments that I feel are hateful. Also, if anyone abuses this rule repeatedly, I will have them banned from the site. So please “make good choices,” as I tell my 4-year-old son.

Other rules, questions, concerns, etc?

If you need any other questions answered, put them in the comments below, and I’ll revise this post as needed.

Other than that, I can’t wait to start poeming in April!


Follow me on Twitter @robertleebrewer


For a taste of what April might bring, here are a few recent Wednesday Poetry Prompts:

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44 thoughts on “2013 April PAD Challenge: Guidelines

  1. adisonadolf

    his is my first time i visit here. I found so many entertaining stuff in your blog, especially its discussion. From the tons of comments on your articles, I guess I am not the only one having all the leisure here! Keep up the excellent work.
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  2. the scribbler

    Coy Ploy
    Coming in unawares,
    undaunted by counter
    or stairs or sonic booms,
    wee rodent made its home
    in what I thought was mine.
    The house has been swept
    free of aberrant crumbs,
    but the guest meets its needs,
    springing bits of cheese
    from wired traps,
    unharmed and unalarmed
    this evolutionary genius
    leaves me a-mazed.

  3. PuffofSmokePoems

    I stumbled into Poetic Asides last week for the first time, and just now read about the PAD for April. I started writing a poem a day (most days) last autumn–prompted, I think, by knowing I didn’t have a whole novel in November kind of time in my life right now. It’s been fun and a creativity-sparker, but I’m excited to continue with a group of writers, see what others are writing, and respond to an outside prompt instead of whatever wanders into my head.
    If you’d like to read or comment on any of the poems I’ve written during this adventure, I post them on my WordPress blog: http://puffofsmokepoems.com/
    Looking forward to the adventure!

  4. drwasy

    Yes! Spring is almost here! The April PAD and the first nubs of asparagus poking through the earth herald my favorite time of the year. Looking forward to poeming with all of you–this will be my 6th year. It is wonderful to see so many familiar folks and read wonderful words here. Peace…

  5. Mariya Koleva

    So nice to see my friends here again πŸ™‚
    This is the place that put me in touch with the greatest community around.
    Hah, it will be my 3rd, though usually my Novembers are stronger than my Aprils. In springtime, my head feels lighter and I’m easily distracted :-D. This year, I’ll stick to the prompts on this site, as I have found part of my trouble in NaPoWriMo-ing is the fact I hover around numerous sites in search of “the prompt”.
    I really hope the commenting bug will not tease us as we try to post millions of times as it did in November. *fingers crossed*

    Come, April!

  6. seingraham

    I’m one of those who started writing regularly because of PAD and Robert’s prompts – and right from the first. And it was Robert’s suggestion that we look at the 101 best sites for writers (that WD’s lists every year) that led me to winningwriters.com and my first published poem, that was critiqued, published and archived by them. That same year, he also told us about an editor starting up a new on-line publication in the U.K. Philip Quinlan of the publishing company theverbfori.co.uk started melisma with a stringent form-type poem (words per line and number of lines) and Quinlan selected several of us to be in the first issue. I had the good fortune to have a suite of poems published by Quinlan in the second issue of melisma as well…And all because of advice from Robert Brewer that first year during and just after PAD in 2008! So – yes – I’m really looking forward to getting back to the street this April…

  7. PKP

    Another 5th or 6th year-er…. Will add that it was this site and RLB that got me writing poetry online and indeed sharing poetry with an audience larger than a single intended recipient. Great fun and terrific community met on what I/we used to call “The Street.” Looking forward to another daily walk πŸ™‚

    1. seingraham

      How exciting – I have a real soft spot for your country since my daughter went there several years ago with a dentist and his staff to help do work with people that didn’t have access to regular dental care (they also went to Moldova) – It was a life-changing trip for her – she fell in love with the country and the people and talks about both all the time…how beautiful it is there and how wonderful the people are…I look forward to reading your work.

  8. Patricia A. Hawkenson

    (I’ve kicked the poetry can down this street a time or two myself. That fact that we keep coming back says a lot for this community and for Robert’s leadership!) If you’re new to PA and wondering if your voice belongs here, it DOES! I hope we see a lot of new poets this April. Welcome!

    1. Marie Elena

      P.S. I’m “this close” to being one of those who “wrote their first ever poems during in response to these challenges.” I wrote a few rhyming short stories before hearing of your poetry challenge in 2009. I decided if I can write short stories that rhyme, it’s just a short little skip over to poetry. Of course, I had no idea the overwhelming talent I’d be bumping shoulders with out here. It still gives me goosebumps.


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