2015 April PAD Challenge: Day 9

It’s an inexact science pairing up guest judges with prompts/days in the challenge. A few request days, but most don’t. I chose the 9th for today’s judge, because I learned that the release of the Kindle edition of her debut young adult novel is today! Yes, if you have a Kindle and are into novels, be sure to check out Alison Stine’s Supervision.

For today’s prompt, write a work poem. For some folks, writing is work (great, huh?). For others, work is teaching, engineering, or delivering pizzas. Still others, dream of having work to help them pay the bills or go to all ages shows. Some don’t want work, don’t need work, and are glad to be free of the rat race. There are people who work out, work on problems, and well, I’ll let you work out how to handle your poem today.


2015 Poet's Market

2015 Poet’s Market

Get Your Poetry Published.

Writing poetry is one thing; getting it published is something else. Take advantage of the best print resource for publishing your poetry today with the 2015 Poet’s Market, edited by Robert Lee Brewer.

This annual reference includes new articles on the craft, business, and promotion of poetry, explanations of poetic forms, poet interviews, new poems, and hundreds of listings for book and chapbook publishers, print and online publications, contests and awards, and so much more–all for poets!

Click to continue.


Here’s my attempt at a Work Poem:


it’s time to roll up our sleeves
& get at it, i say. it’s time

to what, you ask. it’s time to write
great american poetry,

i say, like this anthology
that’s filled with contemporary

american poetry, &
you take the book & flip through it

& say, this was last reprinted
forty years ago & besides

the only female poets are
levertov, plath, rich & sexton.

i say, at least they were super
women poets. you roll your eyes

& say, listen: fifty percent
of them committed suicide,

& then i know you’re talking down
to my level because you know

how i like to use statistics.


Today’s guest judge is…

Alison Stine

Alison Stine

Alison Stine

Alison Stine is the author of three books of poetry–Wait (University of Wisconsin Press), Ohio Violence (University of North Texas Press), and Lot of My Sister (The Kent State University Press)–and a novel, Supervision (HarperVoyager, 2015).

Trained as a performer, Ali’s original stage plays and musicals have been produced at the Cleveland Playhouse, the University of Nebraska, La Habra Depot Theatre, and the Trilogy Theatre Group. She was a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University and received the Ruth Lilly Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation.

Learn more at AlisonStine.com.


Poem Your Heart Out, Volume 2

Poem Your Heart Out, Volume 2

Poem Your Heart Out again!

The prompts from last year’s challenge along with the winning poem from each day ended up in an inspired little anthology titled Poem Your Heart Out. It was part prompt book, part poetry anthology, and part workbook, because each day includes a few pages for you to make your own contributions.

Anyway, the anthology worked out so well that we’re doing it again this year, and you can take advantage of a 20% discount from Words Dance by pre-ordering before May 1, 2015.

Click to continue.


Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and author of Solving the World’s Problems.

Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.


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913 thoughts on “2015 April PAD Challenge: Day 9

  1. stepstep


    A god man isn’t afraid of a hard day’s work
    The rewards outweigh any obstacle
    The rewards exceed expectations
    And create space for more work.

    Honest, hard work is good for the soul
    It indulges the mind and hones skills
    It builds self-esteem as well as
    Eradicate doubts and fears.

    Don’t let hard work scare you away
    Which can alter any given day
    When you work don’t forget to play
    For all of it will be on display.


  2. AmyA


    I know it means so much
    To you, to me, once,
    To poets and songwriters,
    To the world

    So yes, I will, yes, we do,
    But who knew
    It would be
    So much

    Amy Appleton

  3. Janice Canerdy

    Days Gone By

    We used to sweat in cotton fields
    and tote our water from nearby springs.
    With calloused hands we chopped the wood
    and scrubbed our sturdy homemade things
    Much work we did down on all fours.
    We had direct, efficient ways.
    We now relax in modern homes
    and tell about the “good old days”!

  4. Denat

    Career to Work

    Buzz, beep, ding
    WAKE up, breathe
    Deep breath, ill take one too
    dreams replaced with you
    BUZZ, Beep, Ding
    worn shoes, torn knees
    routine with a twist, demeaning
    unappreciated, hope still gleaming
    Buzz, BEEP, Ding ding ding.

  5. Diane Laboda

    Tapped Out
    by Diane M. Laboda

    Chills ran up and down my back
    all the way out to the ends of my fingers,
    bone wracking cold
    from nowhere in particular,
    from everywhere instead, descending
    from the ceiling, radiating from the walls,
    coming from my insides.

    I sat miserably, thinking about the long day
    I’d just moved through, the day with
    so many interruptions that projects
    took back seat to appointments requested,
    crises reported ad nauseam,
    bruised egos,
    innocent assumptions—totally wrong,
    added paperwork,
    dependency for time limits,
    directions and bailouts—
    all before 9 a.m.

    I could not speak about the day when asked,
    did not want to support its idiocy any further,
    turtled-up and withdrew
    even from polite dinner conversation
    with my sweet and caring husband.
    Every nerve was frayed,
    every drop of energy wrung out,
    cold descended
    with the blessed cloud of sleep
    and stayed till daylight
    was done.

  6. MadPoet

    Work Is A Four-letter Word

    Work is a four-letter word.
    Described by other four,
    and more, letter words.
    It is called labor, effort, exertion,
    drudgery or employment.
    One is said to toil or slog.
    It is called a grind or a task.
    Some occupations are defined as duty.
    Doctors and lawyers are deemed professions.
    Vocations can require talent.
    But no matter how it is classified,
    Work is a four-letter word.

  7. mschied


    Waiting for students to show
    Or not, for apparently they forgot to
    Read the email which specifically says
    Kindly bring your students down today.

  8. Kaylast


    There are no tricks to working with the public
    The guy in the orange shirt had a crush on me
    Before he arrived there was a girl with a tattoo
    And the guy in green is just leaving the computer
    The computer went to screensaver mode
    No newspapers are checked out.

  9. JocyMedina

    The writer

    She has a sweetness in her pen:
    Makes thorns… I don’t know where they poke
    Makes pains… I don’t know where they hurt

    She has a sweetness in her pen:
    She writes… and horns go full gear
    She ends… and harpoons dig my fears.

    She lets me feel
    Devoted to her word
    As if a slave.

    She lets me go
    And I remain…
    a ‘groupy’ of her verse.

    By Jocy Medina

  10. Jessica Cummins


    The new work
    The room
    The apartment
    Slow motion tornado
    From one
    Unimportant task
    To the next
    Stay at home mom
    Without kids
    In someone else’s home
    Staring down the mountains
    Daring them to judge
    Hating their snowy peaks
    For being right

    -J Cummins

  11. Xairos

    Memory Work

    I am working to remember:

    All my life I have wanted to remember
    what I have seen and heard
    what time I need to leave
    to get from here to there on time
    and what I should be doing now.

    A B C D E and X Y Z were easy
    but the middle letters always straggled
    along with the 8 and 9 times tables.

    As a child traveling, I flashed my eyelids,
    imagining my eyes as camera lenses.
    Snap! Snap! I believed I’d captured scenes forever.

    Write it down people instruct me
    keep a date book, make a list, prioritize.
    I lose all the datebooks
    forget my lists, am unsure whether —
    do you see the person waving to me?
    Do you know her name?

    For some, walking is difficult
    for others hearing, seeing.
    My memory is the balky member.
    Some little chemical in my brain
    seems low, as if the printer’s out of ink
    and so my memory can’t record
    what it is I should be doing now.
    My lists are pages long
    lined paper with 3 holes to capture the sheet
    yellow legal pads with lots of room
    scraps of paper
    backs of receipts
    strips from newspaper edges.
    I work to write everything down
    outsource my brain to paper
    leaving no time to live the lists.

    I still may have old pictures
    my eyes took long ago
    although they fade just
    as I look directly at them
    like that bridge on the way up north
    I think I see black girders
    above a river flowing below
    and away.

    All my life I have wanted to remember.
    I am still working on what I hear and see
    using my digital camera now.
    More to work on:
    file my visible memories
    where I will not lose
    or simply erase them.

    Maybe I’m turned around —
    maybe I should play at memory
    sneak up on it…
    Find it’s funny bone, tickle it
    roll it outside of time.
    Perhaps I’ll spring a gymnast’s leap
    flying from there to now
    and laugh here while I may.

    ~ Margaret Lee Ferry

  12. Bonniejean Alford

    The Artist
    A poem by bonniejean alford

    A song
    A dance
    A moment in time captured
    A feeling projected

    Epiphany of contemplation
    Presentation for self; for all
    Excitement; joy; sadness
    All rolled into one

    Surprising outcomes

    A masterpiece of life
    A brilliance of mind
    A representation of heart
    A word of the soul

    Art reflected in one; in all
    Dreams made reality
    Reality made fiction
    Present, past, and future converged

    The artist shines from within
    For all to see
    Surging with the light of the world
    And a voice for humanity

  13. seingraham


    It took me a good many years to realize that advice
    I never received when I was young, is nevertheless true
    At a recent commencement I attended, the speaker
    made the point that if the graduates went after a job doing
    something they absolutely love to do… then they would
    never consider what they were doing, work.
    The speaker reiterated this advice in a number of ways but
    made it clear – find the thing you love – then make it your passion,
    make it what you do to live – and, as cliché as it sounds,
    life will be your oyster, not some onerous task of which you
    have to partake every day.

    When I was growing up it was mandatory that you plan every step
    of your education to secure yourself the best possible position
    upon graduation, from college or university.
    And should you, horror of horrors, not go to post-secondary school,
    you knew you would be locked into a sub-standard job for the rest of your life.

    Actually, neither scenario proved to be accurate -at least not in my case,
    nor in that of many of the people I knew
    Not everyone wanted to borrow money to go to university
    and having the marks alone didn’t guarantee entrance
    I suppose I was lucky – I was in the fashion industry from a young age
    and stayed in it until I had my kids in my mid-thirties
    Any post-secondary schooling I did was piece-meal and done
    as we travelled around the country
    I knew early on that I liked to write and it was my passion,
    but modeling helped pay the bills.

    Luckily the man I married could afford to keep us both;
    I say luckily because I became very ill during our life together.
    Mental illness can sideline a person for weeks, months – even
    years at a time – and it became like a job to find my way
    out of that morass for a long time.

    Now, in what some would call the twilight of my life, I seem to have my illness
    under control, and am addressing the real passions in my life – writing and advocacy.
    I am back studying – mostly online as there is much available and I can go at my
    own pace and affordability – also, my love is retired and we like to travel, so I can
    do both – study and travel, and also, volunteering.
    I have always been passionate about social justice and advocating
    for the disenfranchised and now,
    I do it as often as possible, the same as I do my writing.
    Work? I guess I could call it that…In that case, I love my work.

  14. Diane Laboda

    Now I Am Free of the Monogrammed Sweater
    by Diane M. Laboda

    Now I am free of the sharpened pencil,
    the perforated message pad,
    the multi-line super phone that connected
    to every campus problem, big or small.

    I am free of student gripes, faculty grievances,
    support staff insubordination, and helicopter
    parent rants about injustice, lack of access,
    and the four inches of snow on the roads.

    I am free to stop by for a mocha latte, hold the whip,
    for a look at old news, a friendly hello to
    a former co-worker without rehashing union
    problems or insecurities, or who said what.

    I am free now to wear cotton and jeans,
    and dressy casual if I want and not have
    to buy into corporate glam and subterfuge
    and phony kiss-ass float-to-the-top mania.

    I am free of the migraine noose, the help’s apron,
    the monogrammed minion-sweater
    announcing to the campus population that
    I am here to serve one master.

    I am free of the muzzle, the chain to the desk,
    the kneeling pad, the mandatory false mask
    of respect, the shoe-polish-yes-ma’am
    roll over and play dead brainless busywork.

    I am now free to pursue being a caring
    human being, listener, partner, lover,
    thinker, writer, feeler, free to be
    a contributing member of a larger community—

    who pride themselves in exploring
    and questioning everything, in affirmation
    and appreciation, in noticing every blessed moment
    and living it to be whole and fulfilled once again.

  15. Diane Laboda

    What Will We Do With This Love?
    by Diane M. Laboda

    It’s been sitting here on the table
    between us like a lazy cat,
    this love we avoid speaking of.
    We’ve tried sugaring it to sweet,
    and salting it to brine, but still
    it sits there between.

    We’ve both gone from it and returned,
    hoping that we’d see it differently,
    shape it into a model romance,
    but neither of us has embraced
    its sloppy shape or tied a bow
    around its long, luxurious mane.

    Occasionally, it jumps up and dances,
    trying to capture our festive sides
    and get us to join in, take a turn
    around the kitchen, nothing formal,
    just a jig, but touching each other
    about the waist, swaying close.

    I try to clean up the mess it’s made
    but you interrupt and ask too many
    questions about what’s this for
    and where did it come from,
    and what we should do with this
    unruly thing we refer to as love.

    Eventually, we tire of its pestering
    and paunchy body lounging there
    as if it owns us, as if we couldn’t exist
    without it, as if it were a minor god
    acting out a passion play
    we can’t take our eyes off.


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