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2014 April PAD Challenge: Guidelines

Categories: Poetry Challenge 2014, Poetry Challenge 2014, Poetry Prompts, Robert Lee Brewer's Poetic Asides Blog, What's New.

Well, this year will be the 7th annual April PAD Challenge on the Poetic Asides blog, and I’ve never been more excited about it. This year we will make something happen that I’ve wanted for a long time, but I had to wait for the right conditions: More on that below.

First things first, this challenge is devoted to the goal of helping people write poems in a totally supportive atmosphere. Poets from around the world have participated in the past: Israel, Pakistan, India, Spain, Australia, Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, Mexico, Japan, the United States, and more. I’ve heard from poets with multiple collections who’ve used the challenge to create new work, poets who wrote their first ever poems as a result of the prompts, teachers who’ve had their classes participate, and so many others.

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. Plus, there are some extrinsic reasons to share your poems in the comments this year.

Have you heard about the guest judges? Click here to view all 30 of them.

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.)

Why should I participate in the challenge?

Poem Your Heart Out

Poem Your Heart Out

I believe there’s an intrinsic reason to participate in the challenge, because it leads to new poems. That alone is enough for most poets–and really should be the main reason. That said, there’s an incredible extrinsic reason to participate this year. In fact, I’ve been dreaming of offering this for years now, but the conditions were never right–until now!

Words Dance Publishing is partnering with the Poetic Asides blog this year to publish an anthology of the top poems from each day of the challenge. The wonderful Amanda Oaks has already designed a cover (on the right) and will produce an anthology that includes the prompts, winning poems, and a place for poets to include their poems.

Since I’m familiar with previous books put out by Words Dance, I know this anthology is going to be something super special. Some recent examples of books published by them include the Literary Sexts anthology; What to Do After She Says No, by Kris Ryan; and No Glass Allowed, by the lovely Tammy Foster Brewer.

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.

Avoid this problem by commenting on this post before April.

Have more questions? Click here to check out the official FAQs (and tips) for the April poetry challenge.


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.


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…
  • We’ll also be choosing a top poem for each day’s prompt. I’ll be gathering poems by going through the comments for each day’s prompt. As a result, please make sure you include your name as you want it to appear in print.
  • Poems included in the comments will be considered for the anthology. If chosen, Words Dance Publishing only uses one-time rights for including the poem in the anthology. In other words, poets can reprint the poems elsewhere and still own the rights to their poems. Poets selected for the anthology will receive a contributor copy.
  • I cannot go in and delete or edit comments after they’re posted. It’s too much time and effort.
  • 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!

Robert Lee Brewer

Robert Lee Brewer


Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and author of Solving the World’s Problems. In addition to the April PAD Challenge, he’s excited about his free Remixing the World’s Problems challenge that has a $500 top prize. Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.


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About Robert Lee Brewer

Senior Content Editor, Writer's Digest Community.

133 Responses to 2014 April PAD Challenge: Guidelines

  1. kelleyc416 says:


    Blues and greens,
    Fashioned to conceal,
    Curving gently to cup the round, taut
    Skin now unwrinkled, acne retreating—
    Not too young:

    Prime. Like a number?
    Always a little odd, but now?
    It’s too much to molt swan down
    To the core
    Where I cling to a girl

    Spoiled by love and
    Fat on chances thrown away

    But the woman sees a face,
    And with a touch, reclaims
    Her presence: there’s beauty.

  2. jclenhardt says:


    You see me often,
    and as though through
    a kaleidoscope mirror;
    always turning,
    always shaking.
    You see me
    in fragments,
    in pieces of colors
    I am, and am not
    yet. Painted
    on the fragility
    of glass, you asked,
    then broken, I said,
    was more true,
    then anything
    you could ever have
    had, or hoped,
    to keep of me.
    Because I was never flat,
    but always, always, changing.

  3. Debbie says:

    Does anyone know what “control” button to use in order to view a specific person’s entry/comment? Thank you.

  4. elliewrites says:

    This sounds like a Big help. I’ll try, too.

  5. Aberdeen Lane says:

    I just discovered this. Can I still enter? I happened to write a poem yesterday that sort of fits into the guidelines- it’s about cycles. Can I still enter for yesterday?

  6. Nardi Point says:

    Hi! I’m unable to get to a comment box for PAD Prompt #2. I’m logged in and have access to this comment box, plus I can access the comment box for PAD Prompt #1, but I’m unable to access PAD Prompt #2 for today. The comment box does not display even though I am logged in. Help? Thanks.

  7. Maliha says:

    I’m very excited, this is my first time lol

  8. ALifornia says:



    (had to do a quikie like a virgin under 1 minute)

  9. Kati Nagy says:

    April-no-Fool!! I am ready to leap into this ~
    It’s all about beginning!

  10. Anvanya says:

    Wowsers! Ready to write!

  11. verniedee says:

    First timer, but super excited.

  12. lionmother says:

    I see familiar names and new ones here! Excited to be Poeming again with all of you:) Sad you can’t participate Marie Elena.

  13. Really excited to get going on this!

  14. Emma Hine says:

    Not done this before but looking forward to giving it a go.

  15. brightstack says:

    I’m excited to participate!

  16. Tashtoo says:

    A first timer here…but a committed one :)

  17. I forgot to ask is there a PAD widget we can put on our blogs?

  18. I am looking forward to participating. I’m new to the site!

  19. Shennon says:

    I’ve never written poetry from a prompt before – I’m excited to try it!

  20. Marci Adair says:

    Can’t wait to poem away. :)

  21. HoskingPoet says:

    I think I’m all set to write 30 poems in April.

  22. L.B. Wielenga says:

    Always up for a challenge, and it’ll be good to get my poetry muscles un-rusted.

  23. Looking forward to tomorrow

  24. smdnyc says:

    Oh, it’s ON. Can’t wait.

  25. Lady S Poetic Thickness says:

    Looking forward to this amazing opportunity!

  26. mrnor10 says:

    I’ve shared the PAD blog with my junior high students, and a couple I think will try the challenge. They are going to write a poem a day for class, but the blog is optional. Of course, there are those who just roll their eyes, but one 7th-grade boy said, out loud, “I’m really looking forward to this.”

  27. Astrid Egger says:

    If this is a double-post, please ignore. I have tried to send a test post earlier.
    The PAD challenge seems daunting, but I am willing to give it a try.

  28. Astrid Egger says:

    This is my first year for trying the challenge. It seems daunting, but also exciting to see all others who are getting ready.

  29. poetrycurator says:

    It should be a good writing experience. Thanks for the opportunity.

  30. tbell says:

    I started writing a poem a day while on pilgrimage in Iona, Scotland as part of a Celtic meditation practice I could bring home with me. I’ve never heard of the PAD Challenge but look forward to using someone else’s prompts to spark fresh creativity!

  31. lshannon says:

    Hi, do we have to sign up somewhere? where will we find the prompts and can we get alerts?

  32. jane hoover says:

    I’m going to be writing again this year – so excited to be able to join in again.

  33. novacatmando says:

    Poem your hearts out people!

  34. zeenie46 says:

    I’m so excited for this! Never done this before so it will definitely be a challenge, but I know I’m in great company.

  35. Talai says:

    Looking forward to participating in this creative adventure

  36. ToniBee3 says:

    Ready to get those poetic juices flowing and enjoy the experience! Thank you.

  37. Aims says:

    I think I’m going to go for it. :]

  38. Bravewarrior says:

    This sounds like a fun challenge. Will the daily challenges be fueled by picture prompts or word prompts?

  39. Looking forward to participating in the poem-a-day community project with Words Dance and Writer’s Digest! What a wonderful way to celebrate National Poetry Month in April!

  40. yehudit45 says:

    Looking forward to getting started challenging myself.

  41. kayjaykay says:

    Commenting to see if my comment comments so I can entertain possibly doing the challenge.

  42. Prettyboy says:

    excited for this!

  43. RavenCorbie says:

    I’m definitely excited about this. I’ve recently been reviewing my poetry and writing in general and just sent off a bunch of different old poems to various publishers.

  44. ALloyd says:

    Sounds like good creative fun :)

  45. spacerust says:

    I’m in! I am really excited to take part in the poem a day challenge. This is a great opportunity to sharpen our skills and share with each other.

  46. geraldbarr says:

    Been looking forward tothis since December 1

  47. Versesversus says:

    So, I decided to take this opportunity to create an account and comment now. I am definitely looking forward to the torrent of words and thoughts to come. :)

  48. Gammelor says:

    I’m really looking forward to April now. I can always use new prompts for my daily poems, and it’s wonderful to have this opportunity to share with other poets.

  49. dementiaarmand says:

    I think I might just dip my feet into something like this; sounds fun.

  50. honey_sls01 says:

    I would love to join. I can’t wait.

  51. nicoleabruce says:

    Feeling motivated to look at the world a little differently each day by writing poems for this challenge!

  52. jenniferpbragg@gmail.com says:

    Looking forward to giving it a try :) how will we receive the prompts? Thank you!!

  53. acctgdr says:

    Where do I find the prompts? This sounds like fun.
    Very therapeutic, if nothing else.

  54. Nita says:

    Sounds interesting! I’ll give it a shot…maybe there’s a poet in me somewhere!

  55. Snow Write says:

    This sounds like an exciting challenge! Unfortunately I do not get online every day, so I’m wondering if the posts have to be the day of or if it’s okay to sort of catch up a day or two later if I don’t happen to log in on a day?

  56. S.Nizovia says:

    Sounds super exciting! Looking forward to transforming my thoughts into words next month.

  57. Kassi says:

    This will be my first PAD challenge! I am so excited that PAD has made it’s 7th year, woot woot!!! Congratulations on all your hard earned work!!!!

  58. I haven’t written poetry (with the exception of some lyrics for my children) since High School! I can’t wait to participate in the challenge!

  59. Evelyn says:

    A fabulous way to spend each day – let the creativity flow! Can’t wait for next Tuesday…:)

  60. EssJayEss says:

    What a delightful opportunity!

  61. theDolphin says:

    What a great little shove to inspire a poem a day! Really looking forward to it.

  62. Maggie says:

    Looking forward to the challenge…very much!

  63. I’m really excited about this!!

  64. beale.alexis says:

    So excited!

  65. inkysolace says:

    *bouncebouncebounce* super excited!

  66. j.ajabad says:

    I heard about this from a twitter friend. I’m excited to excercise my poetic muscles and start writing poetry again! This is such an awesome idea and it’s a week away! :D

  67. Girlfromsandwich says:

    I look forward to writing and reading some interesting poems. Thanks for giving us this space.

  68. This is a great idea! Can’t wait:)

  69. spider59 says:

    One a day. Looking forward to it.

  70. Nita G Isenhour says:

    Going to try to make it every day this year.

  71. jsmadge says:

    Just discovered this and am looking forward to it.

  72. Quaker says:

    Where do you post the poems? How do you post the poems?
    Do I come to this blog?

  73. C. says:

    What a good decision :)

  74. azkbc says:

    So, what do we do to participate? Come here each day for the info about the PAD or sign up somewhere to have “something” sent to us? Thanks for any help in what to do.

  75. dwalker8508 says:

    I would love to participate! This is an awesome idea!

  76. Here’s my attempt to participate again this year! Think I’ve managed to finish this challenge twice.

  77. poetbeta154 says:

    Such a great idea i look forward to it.

  78. ophel777 says:

    Looking forward to the challenge! -Christina Dammerman

  79. d dyson says:

    Really looking forward to this!

  80. djurene says:

    I’m a newbie to this site. Eager to begin!

  81. mrs.mjbauer says:

    I don’t think I posted my poems last year. This year I want to try it. Thank you for hosting.

  82. drwasy says:

    Can’t wait for April! Thanks Robert for hosting this every year. And the anthology–a super opportunity! Looking forward to poeming with everyone here in less than three weeks. Peace…

  83. bjzeimer says:

    I’m looking forward to April’s Poetic Challenge.
    Can’t wait to get started. November was so much fun.

  84. clcediting says:

    I think this is a great idea. I’ve not been writing much poetry lately and this is a good excuse to get back to it.

  85. lionetravail says:

    Can poems posted elsewhere on the Poetic Asides blog be utilized for the contest if they’re perfect for a prompt?

  86. Thanks Robert! Looking forward to #7!

  87. julie e. says:

    Looking forward to it! I usually have at least ONE poem out of the month that I fully approve of. Lol!

    I have a friend who told her kids every day as they went out the door to school. “Make good choices!” I love that phrase. :-)

  88. Domino says:

    I can no longer imagine April without the poetry. ^_^

  89. dandelionwine says:

    I look forward to this almost as much as the changing seasons… Poem on, all! :)

  90. PKP says:

    Wonderful addition to an already terrific challenge ….. Looking forward familiar and new faces this April.
    As always, thank you RLB :)

  91. Marie Elena says:

    So bummed that I won’t be able to participate this year. :(

    Poem on, all, and my best to you!

  92. msradeja says:

    I would like to participator please let my know what else I need to do to get the daily promps. I write a little something every day.

    • Domino says:

      Just go to the poetry blog each day in April, take a look at the posting for that day, write a poem based on the prompt. Then post it in the comments. (You have an account or you could not have posted THIS comment. ^_^ ) It’s fun, you’ll love it! Welcome to the “Street.”

      • RavenCorbie says:

        Domino – thanks (even though I’m not the original commenter). I still have some questions. I got to this place via a link in an e-mail, and even after reading the initial post, I couldn’t figure out how to get to the Poetic Asides blog or the poetry blog or the “Street.” I understand all the rest (Finding “Day 1″ and posting Day 1′s poem in the comments, knowing that I do have an account, etc.), but where to actually start is still confusing.

      • matthew says:

        Thanks I think I get it!

  93. writinglife16 says:

    This is great! The November PAD was my first time participating. It gave me the chance to read great poetry, write poetry daily and be in a poetry community. Can’t wait!

  94. Seriously cool, Robert.
    Thanks for the incentive. ^^

  95. Linda Hatton says:

    Very exciting!! Looking forward to April! Thank you for all you do, Robert!

  96. Tanya Rose says:

    Really diggin this idea. Combats procrastination while creating a lovely little poetry community!

  97. ina says:

    This is great Robert and thanks as always for making this fun. BTW, I swear I ask my 7 y/o to “make good choices” about 70 times a day…glad ‘m not the only parent who uses that phrase!

  98. I saw a post from Amanda Oaks on tumblr about this challenge. This sounds absolutely incredible, so hopefully I can keep up. This is more an experiment for me than anything, but the experience should be pretty helpful.

  99. RuthNott says:

    Thank you for once again providing the April PAD challenge. Although I have seldom posted here, I have written to your prompts for several years. In January 2014 I self-published my latest book of poetry entitled “Prompt Response” which was based almost entirely on your 2013 April and November prompts. I encourage other poets to self-publish, if for no other reason than to save your work and leave something for your children and grandchildren. One day, after you are gone, they may want to share some of it with friends or other family members in order to remember or (if they never met you) get an idea of who you were through your poetry.

  100. elishevasmom says:

    I participated in the November ’12 PAD, and it was wonderful to stretch much brain in a way I never had. I was comforted by the poetic family I had acquired there. In April though, I felt completely overwhelmed by the magnitude of the challenge. This year, I am confident enough in my poetic voice that I am looking forward to it! Let’s get this party started!

  101. jschloss says:

    While I’d heard of April being national poetry month, I had never participated in it in the past. I read about this on Words Dance’s tumblr this morning and had to check it out! I DO enjoy finding prompts for “series” like these, so I’m excited to be participating this year!

  102. dwmetz says:

    Hope to be able to participate… Thank you.

  103. Amy says:

    That’s very exciting news! Thanks so much for providing us with ample opportunities to explore our poet-selves, Robert. I know I found my own poetic voice here, with the encouragement of these amazingly talented people, and I continue to explore it through your wonderful prompts! Can’t wait for April!

  104. De Jackson says:

    Wooohoooo! How awesome! :) Excited!

  105. Michelle Hed says:

    Wow! I can’t believe it’s been seven years! Thanks for the opportunity Robert! I’m excited and looking forward to the 7th PAD! :)

  106. thebearpaw says:

    I’m giving it a go this year. :)

  107. Cin5456 says:

    I’m looking forward to it.

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