2017 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 23

Happy Thanksgiving! Today, I’m thankful for so much. As far as this challenge goes, we can write a poem and be a mere week from completing the poeming portion of it. Hurrah!

For today’s prompt, write a preface poem. A preface is a super literary term as the term typically relates to books–usually as the opening statement or introductory remarks of a book. So I’m mildly surprised I haven’t used this prompt previously. However, I think it’s perfect for the chapbook challenge, because poets who are writing to a theme have an opportunity to write a poetic preface. Of course, stand alone preface poems are just as interesting.


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Here’s my attempt at a Preface Poem:

“let me”

let me preface this by saying
there was a man who called
& only said he was the viper
before hanging up on me

& then he called again to say
he was on his way over &
bringing all his tools with him
& that he was down the street

& then he called again to let
me know it was him the viper
& he was outside my house
before ringing my door bell

so yes i was on edge & ready
for anything when i opened
the door except for what i saw

an elderly man with a squeegee
who said i am the viper & i am
here to vipe your vindows


Robert Lee Brewer

Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community and author of the poetry collection, Solving the World’s Problems (Press 53). He edits Poet’s Market and Writer’s Market, in addition to writing a free weekly WritersMarket.com newsletter and a poetry column for Writer’s Digest magazine.

He is thankful for his family, his health, his poetry, and his sense of humor. Happy Thanksgiving, y’all.

Follow him on Twitter @robertleebrewer.


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172 thoughts on “2017 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 23

  1. Brandi Noelle

    Life’s Journey Through Poetic Prose

    This is a compilation of words
    in various poetic form
    that tell the story about
    my life as it is now.
    Please take this journey,
    I invite you,
    walk through the
    rhymes with

  2. Shennon

    Preface for “Accidental Spells”

    Lightly tread
    Upon the water
    Dare not leave a wake.

    Do not splash
    My lovely daughter
    Or the spell you’ll break.


  3. LCaramanna

    Pre Face

    Before you face me
    Dress yourself in compassion
    Put some extra patience in your pocket
    Splash on a scent of love
    Mix words of wisdom into your scrambled eggs
    Sweeten your cereal with kindness
    Butter your toast with understanding
    Load your backpack with humor
    Before you face me
    Surround yourself with your favorite music
    Lace up your dancing shoes
    Positive your attitude
    Put your game face on
    Before you face me

    Lorraine Caramanna

  4. seingraham


    What if life, like books, plays, and speeches
    was divided into parts? It is, I think
    but we don’t realise them as we’re living
    each one – not until the end, and for most,
    not even then.

    Perhaps if we had a signal or a manual—
    wouldn’t that be even better? A set of
    directions that said – okay, here’s the beginning—
    A preface, if you will – this will set you up
    for the rest, it will start you off on the right foot.
    (Unless you happen to be a southpaw and
    then it will set you off on the left foot –
    and wouldn’t that be good to know right
    from the get-go?)

    And since people grow and mature at different
    rates, everyone’s instruction book or guide
    would be specific to them, so when it came
    time for you to move away from your prelude
    and into Act One – then, you’d get a message,
    or a sign, or even a kick in the ass.

    I’m really liking this idea more and more.
    I wouldn’t like any spoilers though.
    No reading ahead and no – turn to page
    so and so if you want to know what happens,
    when or if you’re going to die before you’re
    whatever age—

    However, that’s just me … like I say—
    Everyone will be different and everyone’s
    Guidebook will be made to suit them
    Read your preface – I’m sure all will
    become clear.

  5. JRSimmang


    Above you
    a mirror
    gilded and bright

    resents the sun for its
    to hang itself

    and remain content
    with its incandescence.

    Below you,
    a serpent with blackened maw
    licks at your soles
    and begs me for sustenance.

    I will stand,
    while your
    days and nights
    and I collect mosses
    for money.

    -JR Simmang

  6. RJ Clarken

    When a Preface is a Bad Thing

    “Not much good has ever been prefaced by variations of “Have a seat.” I thought of headmasters’ offices and electric chairs.” ~Melissa Jensen

    I think Melissa Jensen is right.
    ‘Have a seat’s unpropitious.
    Meaning: beware. You haven’t a prayer.
    Things could go from not good to vicious.

    Epigraphs in poems can be cool.
    Real life is a diff’rent song.
    You haven’t a prayer. Meaning: beware.
    A caveat ‘ere things might go wrong.

    Headmasters’ offices. Chairs that zap.
    A hot seat can really suck.
    Meaning: beware. You haven’t a prayer.
    You’ll be gobsmacked or worse, thunderstruck.

    The foregoing thoughts are merely that.
    Some guidelines to contemplate.
    You haven’t a prayer. Meaning: beware,
    since prefaced chairs don’t accommodate.


  7. pipersfancy

    Point of Departure

    Perhaps I should have looked
    before I jumped into your path—
    now, we are a train wreck—
    but at least we were together
    for a spell,
    until the conductor went mad
    and the pine trees, flashing by,
    increasingly alarming speeds,
    denying the compass its right
    to point north. I forget where my
    home was, before there was you,
    and now all that remains
    is the sound of the wind’s fury.

  8. bmorrison9

    Before Setting Out

    You say it’s good
    to make a change,
    shake things up,
    even start over.

    You make your lists,
    weigh pro against con,
    and truly believe
    you are making a choice.

    You summon,
    as a final check,
    the greatest of your powers
    to imagine the new life.

    Yet, in the end
    a mysterious force
    drives you out the door.

    In the end,
    nothing is the way
    you thought it would be.

  9. robinamelia

    Preface to Winter

    Autumn is sweeping itself away
    summer’s sweet breezes forgotten.
    Daylight hours shrink each day.
    Autumn is sweeping itself away.
    Cold and darkness are on their way
    The last of the apples have fallen, rotten
    Autumn is sweeping itself away
    summer’s sweet breezes forgotten.

    1. ingridbruck

      Preface to Living

      I preface each day with high expectations
      and a long To Do List.
      I wake up and get going with good intentions.

      Before I start, I check my email,
      read posts from my poetry critique group,
      play twelve rounds of Words for Friends,
      read a selection of daily literary journals,
      read posts from several writing groups.
      Members shared inspiring poems, I comment.
      I shuffle through project updates,
      read new prompts for poems to write,
      revisit and edit a poem I wrote yesterday
      and can’t resist writing a new poem today.

      On this stop and go day,
      the overgrown garden is calling
      the house needs cleaning,
      meals need making and I write.
      I wade in words up to my neck.
      The words compel me,
      a compulsion I call passion for poetry.
      Or it it a malady called procrastination?

      Soon morning becomes afternoon.
      I meant to preface my day
      with a shower and washing my teeth
      before I got dressed, slipped on shoes,
      but I haven’t started my day yet
      and my To Do List got even longer.

  10. De Jackson

    {What Came Before}

    First things first, I’ma say all the words inside my head…
                                                                 – Imagine Dragons

    She breathes fire
    and wonders why the world
    burns so. In the beginning

    was the word, and she kerned
    herself sane, scribbled between
    the (starting) lines
    and found herself

    Did she dance? You’ll have to look
    back to see. See, she’s a wily one
    and follows only moon,
    and sky. Ask her why,

    she’ll tell you it’s the amble
    before the journey that matters,
    that scatters you to breeze and
    asks the world where the tiny
    parachutes of hope should fly. Blow

    a dandelion and keep those
    fuzzy kites in sight; they know
    things. And if you follow them
    just right, the day might


  11. De Jackson


    This poem is the thing
    that comes before.
    The breath.
    The sigh. The pre
    -amble under a starstung

    She’s getting ready. She’s all
    -ready revved, and realized
    she’s ridiculously set for
    all this sun.

    One day she’ll look back
    and wonder what else
    she could have possibly


  12. taylor graham


    Our County: Mesozoic volcanic and meta-
    volcanic, andesite and rhyolite flow, greenstone,
    pyroclastic. A channel of gold left behind
    in ancient river. 70 friendly Digger Indians – one
    of the ten lost tribes of Israel? Indigenous
    Washoe, Maidu, Sierra Miwok. On the American
    found gold; sparked California Gold Rush.
    Foreigners brought expertise in mining. Chinese,
    Nordic, Mexican, Italian, German, Canadian;
    Cornish and Chilean highly valued. Gold mining
    camps, vigilante justice. Tea and silk farm,
    the only settlement of samurai outside Japan.
    Farming and ranching – more to be made selling
    goods to miners. Getting out of bed to clean
    the barn, after school the same. Bells
    on the cows, all kinds of meadows. Granite
    peaks, mountain lakes, tapestry of wildflowers,
    historic trails. Drought, ordinary people,
    the barnyard, the land.

  13. Anthony94

    Sunrise is the Preface

    to this
    new day, winds on the rise
    pastures tipping northward
    against the noise of combines
    already beginning the race
    against time and change.

    Stray cats come to visit what
    may be a sibling or two but
    are met with unwelcoming
    hisses as blood is soon for
    -gotten where the field mouse
    and shrew are fair game to
    earliest comers.

    The light is clear yet the day
    is heavy, distance some unseen
    burden tied to the hem the way
    the dog tugged at yesterday’s
    sweater. In the unseasonable
    warm, hawks ruffle and dive
    toward this Thanksgiving spread

    along the trails. No need to hunch
    against northerly wind or first
    sleet, but just graze the buffet
    to dine with ease atop the power
    poles, their very numbers a sign
    that for today territory takes a back
    seat to everyone bellying up to table.


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