2014 April PAD Challenge: Next Steps

Whew! What a poetry challenge!

Here are some raw numbers:

  • 30 days
  • 35 prompts (including 5 “Two for Tuesday” prompts)
  • 21,515 comments (and counting)
  • 30 guest judges
  • 1 amazing month!

So, what’s next?

First off, there’s a lot of poetry and poeming that happens around the Poetic Asides blog throughout the year. I’ll share more on that in a moment (see below), but I’m sure at least a few of you are wondering about how the judging will happen, when results will be posted, and so on.

The “official” cut off for Day 30 prompt is 11:59 p.m. EST on May 5, 2014. However, I’ve only copied over poems for the first 15 days so far (hint, hint). That means Days 16-30 are still “live,” though I plan to start copying over other days very soon.

I’ve already started the process of going through the earlier prompts and narrowing down “finalist” lists for the guest judges. If everything goes according to plan, I’ll hand off a finalist list to each of the guest judges on May 20, 2014. Then, they will give me their winners in June.

If all goes to plan, I will announce the winners on July 4, 2014. The announcement will be on the Poetic Asides blog.

And then?

Then, the winning poems will be collected into an incredible anthology/prompt/work book titled Poem Your Heart Out that will be published by Words Dance Publishing. Click here to order a copy, because it’s going to be filled with 30 incredible poems, space for you to add your own, and even if you make it into the anthology–you’ll want a copy to give your mom, right?

Yes, the 30 winners will receive a copy of the anthology. Look at that: After 7 years of poem-a-day challenges, we’ve finally got a tangible thing to mark the occasion. Sweet!


national_poetry_monthGet the National Poetry Month Kit!

Yes, this has been another great National Poetry Month, and here’s a great kit to celebrate: The Writer’s Digest National Poetry Month Kit, which includes a digital version of The Poetry Dictionary, a couple paperbacks (Creating Poetry and Writing the Life Poetic), a tutorial on building an audience for your poetry, the 2014 Poet’s Market, and more!

Click to continue.


So that’s it?

Well, no, of course not. There’s a lot of poetry-related mischief happening at Poetic Asides throughout the year. I’m probably going to take a long weekend off, but this is what you can expect:

  • Wednesday Poetry Prompts. Yeah, we get together to poem on hump day throughout the year.
  • Poet Interviews. I’ve interviewed more than 100 poets on here over the years. In fact, maybe even more than 200. I don’t keep count, but each and every interview is a snapshot into another poet’s poetic outlook, process, and more.
  • Poetic Forms. Every month or so, I share a new poetic form I’ve found. And that leads to…
  • WD Poetic Form Challenges. These free challenges are devoted to a poetic form, and the winning poem/poet is featured as an example of the form in Writer’s Digest magazine.
  • November PAD (Poem-A-Day) Chapbook Challenge. It’s like April, but it gets even more involved, because the ultimate goal is to produce an amazing chapbook of poems.
  • And more! I don’t know what yet, but I’ve had some great guest post pitches, and I get bored easy–so who knows what tricks I’ve got up my sleeve?!? Seriously, because I don’t.

Still got questions? That’s cool. Drop them in the comments below, or send me an e-mail at robert.brewer@fwmedia.com.


Robert Lee Brewer

Robert Lee Brewer

Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community. He’s also the author of Solving the World’s Problems, an incredible collection of poetry that stirs the soul. Okay, Robert wrote that, but Sandra Beasley called the book, “Compassionate, challenging, and filled with slinky swerves of phrase,” while Patricia Fargnolia said, “The poems are brim-full of surprises and delights, twists in language, double-meanings of words, leaps of thought and imagination, interesting line-breaks. … I will go back to them often.” So that’s means you’re going to buy it, right? Click here to make it happen.


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70 thoughts on “2014 April PAD Challenge: Next Steps

  1. Lori DeSanti

    I was actually wondering the same thing as many: are we contacted for the winners, or are we just checking back on July 4th for the results?

    Either way, I’ll be waiting! 🙂

  2. AC Leming

    What now, honey?

    I’m not sure when it came,
    the realization we weren’t gonna last
    much beyond the 10th anniversary,
    despite my white-knuckle hold
    onto my hopes and fears.
    I asked and asked
    for us to seek help.

    A safe place,
    a safe person
    to whom we could confess
    whatever kept us from seeing,
    from hearing the other person,
    the one we said we loved
    enough to forsake all others…

    Instead, we both called it a day
    without telling the other
    we’d quit.

    I sat,
    stunned by tag team grief.
    For a year, you left me to wallow
    and find my own blind way
    over my mom’s death,
    my dog’s death
    within two months.
    You left me
    in a darkened room
    while you sought solace
    in the woods, a gun in your hands,
    in the fields, among other sporting men
    and their dogs.

    You left me alone.
    When I healed,
    there wasn’t room for you in my life
    or for me in yours.
    We’d forged separate lives,
    only touching one another
    in passing,
    for show.

    And it’s not enough for me,
    a marriage for display only.
    Find another trophy wife
    because this one’s run away
    to find a life of her own.

  3. LizMac

    Thanks again. After participating in this for a month, I thought I ought to finally sit down with an anthology to figure out what a poem ought to look like, and came across the following section of a poem by Sir Philip Sidney. I don’t think I could have explained the experience better than he did in the 16th Century:

    [extracted from]
    Astrophil and Stella 1

    I sought fit words to paint the blackest face of woe;
    Studying inventions fine her wits to entertain,
    Oft turning others’ leaves, to see if thence would flow
    Some fresh and fruitful showers upon my sunburn’d brain.
    But words came halting forth, wanting invention’s stay;
    Invention, Nature’s child, fled step-dame Study’s blows;
    And others’ feet still seem’d but strangers in my way.
    Thus great with child to speak and helpless in my throes,
    Biting my truant pen, beating myself for spite,
    “Fool,” said my Muse to me, “look in thy heart, and write.”

    1. Julieann

      Yes, way back then they had ad true was with words. You were never in doubt as to what was meant. Sir Sidney, said it well — “look in thy heart, and write.” Of all the things to do, that is the hardest for me. I need to take this excerpt to heart! Thank you for sharing.

  4. writinglife16


    I had a fun time. Lots of great poems were written. It was an environment of creativity. Have lots of scribbles(some make sense, others less so) about ideas.

  5. Jane Shlensky

    Like so many of the folks who have commented here, I’m a PA junkie 😉 . Thanks, Robert, for hosting the best poetry party around. It accomplishes so much from us and in us and really is a learning place (ditto Bill). I love seeing what my poeming friends (and YOU!) do with the prompts. This has to be good for the aging mind.

    1. Julieann

      This was a wonderful month, and even though most of us don’t actually know each other, there is still a sense of camaraderie and family by the end of the month. Thank you Robert and thank you everyone who participated with poems and comments. It made for a delightful and productive time.

  6. dhaivid3

    Poem title: Missing
    (1st May behalf of the families of the Kidnapped daughters in April 2014)

    Missing, missing
    My daughter is missing

    Missing because you were watching
    Missing because you are here

    She’s gone just because I trusted you
    And now I have found you don’t care

    Missing, she’s missing
    She’s missing and nobody cares

    Edewede, United Kingdom
    Twitter: #BringBackOurGirls

  7. RuthieShev

    I loved doing this. This was my first time and I admit I was nervous at first. I didn’t discover it till the 18 april so I went back and did a few of the older prompts. I told my son about it and He and I and anyone in our family that wants to join in are going to do a July PAD. He is doing his doctorate in music and that is when he will be finished and have some free time. He and I are both already thinking of prompts to do. Thanks for this wonderful experience and I hope to do the next one with you.

  8. DamonZ

    I had fun doing this. I did not make it everyday but it was fun. I enjoy the blog as well. I guess I’m going to be a regular to this blog now, lol.

  9. PowerUnit

    I would not be trying to write poems if it were not for this blog — Robert and all of you supportive writers; I would not be running a prompt-writing group on Wednesday nights (we always use Robert’s prompt first) if I hadn’t joined this collection of misfits — I suspect all good writers are misfits; and my prose writing would be seriously lacking courage, creativity, and compassion if it were not for the weekly (and daily in April) poeming practice I get here. Thanks all.

  10. lionetravail

    Engaging and exhausting, both, and in the best of ways. I found that the PAD challenge, plus my desire to really make the most of it, was so stimulating many other things in my life simply went on hold for April. I have tried new forms which I’d not researched before, and I feel like my range and ability to express myself have expanded as a result of this amazing month, so thank you to Robert and the whole community.

    My apologies to all the poets whose work I may have skimmed or not commented on- so many great pieces to read, plus the writing, and all in an overfull professional work schedule was a joyful impossibility to juggle 🙂 (I hope to go back methodically and catch up over the next months.)

    Thank you to all the kind folk who read my work and commented!

  11. LeeAnne Ellyett

    Hello my Friends,
    This is my first try at PAD and I feel as though I have been blessed with new friends and family.
    Thank you all, your poems are beautiful!!!!
    And thank you again for the comments. They gave me confidence and strength.
    This has been an amazing journey for me.
    Last but certainly not least, many thanks to you Robert. Some mornings you prompts were overwhelming, other days words and verse played in my head all day. Great job, well done.

  12. PressOn

    Robert, I’d like to add my thanks as well. I’ve been calling this challenge a seminar, by which I mean an opportunity for interactive learning rather than a didactic class. The main thing for me is the learning: the variety of poetic styles and passions you foster here give me a myriad of ways to think about topics, hence (I hope) enhancing my creativity. In addition, it is a pleasure to “meet” so many plain nice folks. Thanks again.

    1. Andrea Heiberg

      And Fanny I joined PAD 2009 and met some great poets and also Andrea Porter from GB who made my short stories so known that they got published over in GB (I live DK).
      In 2012 I joined a November PAD here and Robert didn’t pick any of my poems but I won a contest in the US with one of those poems – and I even seldom submit anything.
      So though Robert Brewer doesn’t pick your poems, you wrote them. Now it’s up to you to use them.
      This April I have at least two poems that I can use so who knows? I’m only a Dane who doesn’t even speak English.
      Only sometimes the time is right and the opportunity is there. So good luck and best wishes! It can happen!

    1. PKP

      Barbara – btw Barbara Ehrentreu mentioned that if you have a “find” gizmo on your edit choices -click type in the name you’d like and you’ll find yourself. In all the years I’ve been participating I never knew that! (and I have always been grateful for the Daniel’s fabulous search feature – although I too always seem to “misplace it).

  13. Gwyvian

    I want to say thank you as well – this has been a very fun challenge for me, and it has inspired me to be more open with my poetry. I’ve been writing since over a decade now actively, and apart from a brief time of posting online that I discontinued for various reasons, I’ve been at a loss as to the best way to show my work; I’m coming to the realization that it’s not really a difficult question, I should just show it however I can and that’s that. More importantly, I’ve realized it’s worth it – I’ve received many more lovely responses than I ever expected to, which is a huge boost in my both my confidence and my motivation to keep going.

    So thank you, Robert, for giving me this opportunity, thank you to everyone who read my poems and thank you to my inspiring fellow poets!

  14. Andrea Heiberg

    Hello Robert, hopefully Anders Bylund’s tool is of use for you in your present situation. Thank you for so many inspiring prompts and poems. Though I felt it stressful at times, the inspiring poems on site and the supportive community here helped me through. I’m grateful to be given this opportunity.

  15. drwasy

    Thank you for an other great month of poeming! This is my 6th year here, and I count the April PAD as my harbinger of spring (even before the asparagus). I think I’ll try the November PAD this year, so see you soon. Peace…

  16. alana sherman

    Once again ( I’ve been PAD-ing since 2009!)I am incredibly impressed with the work that shows up here. So many people writing.It is a pleasure to log on to the ASIDES everyday in April, to take the prompt or not and turn out 30+ poems in a month. I look forward to November and the chance to put a chapbook together.
    Thank you Robert for your dedication and all the hard work you do.
    Thank you for making this challenge available.

  17. Hannah

    This space has been such a beacon for me. Being a part of this community is a joy and I’m so grateful for all the years we’ve grown poeming together…really special.

    A warm welcome to all of those poets just starting in here for the first time!

    Thank you so much Robert for all that you do…it’s a hoppin’ happnin’ place…great fun!

    Congratulations to all the PAD poets out there and a HUGE kudos to our Laureate…what a force and source of kindness and support he’s been…thank you, William!

  18. cbwentworth

    I had so much fun! Thank you so much for creating this event and filling it with so many challenging and creative prompts.

    Good luck to everyone who posted entries. It was a joy to read through a wide range of poetry that was both enlightening and innovative. What a talented group of writers!

  19. kelly letky

    I have to say that after signing up for NaPrWriMo, which I’ve participated in now for a couple of years, I stumbled across this site just before the beginning of April. And I am so glad I did… what a lovely community filled with kind, welcoming people!

    I really enjoyed the prompts, I often have a hard time writing poerty to prompts, but these had just the right amount of “open to interpretation” built right in..

    Thank you for creating this wonderful place, and thanks to everyone for all of your kindness and support this past month!

    Kelly Letky

  20. EbenAt

    I think this is the 5th year I’ve done the entire month here. I’m not much for leaving comments, because to be honest, some days it’s I can do to write a piece, and a couple times, I did two or three days worth in one shot. I did read a bunch of y’all’s work and there were some great ones – I apologize for not leaving comments. That said, even though I got zero comments here on my stuff, folks elsewhere where I reposted gave some good criticism and appreciation, so once again, the PAD is a most productive thing.
    I used to think of it like taking pictures, where if you get 1 or 2 good ones out of a month, you’re doing well. Now I think of it as seeds for a whole year; there’s 30+ pieces to ponder, tweak and have fun with.
    Thanks, Rob, much obliged

  21. gmagrady

    Not only am I grateful personally, but as a middle school English teacher, I thank you for this wonderful opportunity to model daily writing for my students. Though I didn’t share with them every single poem I wrote, we did, however, begin each morning with a prompt discussion. They loved asking about my initial thoughts, how it was going, if I did, in fact, get back on target after a day off, etc. My 7th graders even tried their hands at iambic pentameter because I was attempting the form that day. My 30+ poems may not be the best, yet, but creating them brought back my daily writing habits. Thanks to Robert and the hundreds of poets who have inspired me along the way!

  22. JanetRuth

    Thank-you Robert. I appreciate your poetry and all you do for the rest of us who are climbing the learning ladder. You have created a most wonderful and welcoming place where each and every poet can feel like they fit in! That in itself is something to be proud of.
    I hope to be more active here before November as well. Wishing every poet blessings:)

  23. SestinaNia

    A huge thank you to Robert for hosting yet another year of fantastic poeming! It sure has grown since that first year when there were just a handful of us–and it’s always wonderful to see so many people participating. I also want to thank all the poets who were brave enough to post their poems (it takes guts to share!)–and you never know, you might just get a poem in the anthology, you might just be named poet laureate! Always an honor to poet alongside such excellent hobbits…I mean, poets 🙂

  24. elledoubleyoo

    It was a lot of fun! Will winners (not that I really expect to be such, but since if I wonder it, someone else probably wonders as well) be able to proof their poems and in some of our cases, give our real names instead of our silly screen ones 😉 if chosen? I will try to follow this blog from now on; I discovered the challenge (and thus the blog) via following Writer’s Digest twitter. Speaking of which, this is my name there, too, if anyone wants to follow, but mostly it’s just rants about hockey and sometimes pictures of cute animals 😉

  25. Connie Peters

    This must be how residents of vacation islands feel when the vacationers go home for the summer. I hope many poets will stick around for the Wednesday prompts. Thanks again, Robert, for another great PAD Challenge. Looking forward to reading Poem Your Heart Out.

  26. Clark Buffington

    Well I must say that was fun Robert and I appreciated the chance to start poetry with such a supportive community of kind people. I’ll be staying and continuing to write.

  27. Sasha A. Palmer

    I’ve followed Poetic Asides for a while, but this was my first year of participating in the PAD challenge. I loved every minute of it. Thank you Robert for fostering this wonderful project. And good luck with all the projects you’ve got up your sleeve.
    Very happy writing, everyone.

  28. PSC in CT

    Thanks, Robert, for another busy & inspirational PAD Challenge! Hoping I’ll finish the entire month… soon (just a couple days to go), and get back to read some too. I love the idea of the book, and am also looking forward to reading it — although I don’t envy you & the judges all the work (albeit fun) that you have ahead of you. Thanks, again!

  29. Espen Stenersrod

    Thank you so much Robert, it has been a real treat sitting here every day reading, commenting and getting feedback all the 30 days. I am glad that I found you guys, and that you he room for a Norwegian as well.

    I am a long term stayer on this site now 🙂

  30. Michelle Hed

    Thanks again Robert! This has been a wonderful 7 years! I already ordered a copy of the book because even if I don’t make the book, I know several of my friends will! Also, I think the idea of including space to include your own poems is very cool . Looking forward to it.


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