2018 April PAD Challenge: Guidelines

Let’s break some lines together for the 2018 April PAD Challenge. This will be the 11th annual April poem-a-day challenge!

In a little less than a month, 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–and still other poets who’ve claimed the challenge helped rekindle their love of poetry when they thought it was dead. 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. Plus, I’ll try my best to recognize my favorite poems of the month this year by using comments on the blog.


Re-create Your Poetry!

Revision doesn’t have to be a chore–something that should be done after the excitement of composing the first draft. Rather, it’s an extension of the creation process!

In the 48-minute tutorial video Re-creating Poetry: How to Revise Poems, poets will be inspired with several ways to re-create their poems with the help of seven revision filters that they can turn to again and again.

Click to continue.


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 free verse or traditional forms, 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. Receive feedback from the instructor, receive revision techniques, and more.

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 attempt to highlight my favorite poems of the month from poets who post their poems to each day’s blog posts. Some years this works out better than others.
  • 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 children.

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 prompts from last year:

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15 thoughts on “2018 April PAD Challenge: Guidelines

  1. MET

    I am so looking forward to this…I look forward to the prompts… they are like a treasure hunt…. and with all the ones “playing” … there are many treasures to find!

  2. Jacqueline Hallenbeck

    I am so ready to poem (even though inspiration ditches me pretty early) and make some poetreats which I’ll sell at work (proceeds will go to our colleague-to colleague fund) as well as sell my poems for .25 cents. Poetry has never been so cheap! ^^

  3. carolemt87

    Thank you for all your continued support and hard work on behalf of WD and all the fine poets here. I certainly have learned a great deal from everyone. I’m looking forward to composing in April. Although I do not respond everyday, I save all the prompts and work on most of them when I have time.
    I agree that this is not the forum for antagonist political debate–go to Facebook or others for that. Here we should be kind to one another–like this is our lifeboat and we’re all in this together.
    Anyway, my two cents worth….
    Here’s a recent family poem of mine. I welcome your comments.
    Carol Carpenter

    My grandmother’s mink coat

    I remember the first time I touched
    the mink coat which belonged
    to my grandmother Isabel.
    Slick luxurious fur beneath my little fingers,
    I grabbed a fistful, hand deep in the pelt,
    rubbed the coat across my cheek, hairs
    both coarse and amazingly soft, breathing
    in the soft scent of animal mixing
    with Chanel No. 5.

    One time I took the heavy coat
    off the bed and draped it over my shoulders.
    The satin lining slick and the coat
    plummeted to the floor
    where I spread it mink-side-up.

    The winter sun threw sparks across
    the fur as I lay down and wrapped
    the coat around myself, discovering
    for the first time, the true meaning
    of desire.

  4. Kateland

    Well, there are very wide interpretations of “hateful” nowadays.
    I have written pro-life poems, poems about the middle east, and not hatefully themed, but people disagree with those issues…
    Pro-choice (abortion) people often think the other side is hateful for disaggreeing, or pretty much anything that opposes major “activism” issues is labeled as hateful, generally.

    Perhaps a set of rules on what themes are considered “hateful” or “intolerable”…

    I know many poets/writers will write on current causes, having done so myself, even if unpublished.

    1. De Jackson

      Kateland, I cannot speak for Robert, but I would assume “play nice” might apply mainly to the comments made on each poem. If I disagree with an activism poem of any kind, I am free to scroll right on past it. I am NOT free to argue my own side of the issue in the comments. This is a poetry blog. To me, “play nice” means to respect each others’ work as poetry, whether we agree on the content or not.

      1. Kateland

        I agree. I just like knowing where the line is.

        I would draw it as having confrontations with people over the poetry or violent messages, but today…sometimes it is easier to ask for clarification, so you don’t step in anything by accident.

        1. Robert Lee BrewerRobert Lee Brewer Post author

          Yeah, we’ve had personal attacks in prose form (as comments on the poems) as well as personal attacks in poetic form targeting specific poets. Also, there have been poems written that have been openly antagonistic toward specific people.

          Knock on wood, that hasn’t happened in a while, which is incredible when you consider the nature of Internet comments (and online trolls) in general.

          That said, I believe in diversity as far as the form and content of poems–expressing a wide range of opinions. As long as it is done respectfully.

          I know for a fact that we have poets from around the world, of various faiths, of various political parties and slants, genders, ages, etc.

          1. Bruce Niedt

            We’ve had many poets and poems expressing conservative and liberal views here. We’ve had straight and gay poets, pro-life and pro-choice, religious and agnostic or atheist, etc, and generally speaking we are respectful of those different points of view. I myself have posted a few anti-Trump and pro-gun control poems here in recent months, which I’m sure not everyone here agrees with. It’s a very political time and hard to avoid the passionate views people hold these days. As De said, if one doesn’t like the specific views expressed, one doesn’t have to comment or personally attack – just scroll on by. I would say, though, that there is a definite line – there’s no room here, for instance, for racist or neo-Nazi views.

    2. Sasha A. Palmer

      As long as we speak our mind, we are bound to “offend” somebody. We’ll encounter haters that will accuse us of being hateful. There’ll be folks willing to silence us, because they cannot tolerate our views.

      PA in my experience is a great online community, a place of free speech. For that reason I believe “play nice” does not apply to the topics you choose to write about. I believe it means “don’t be a troll.” Since you don’t sound at all like one, Kateland, I don’t think you have anything to worry about 🙂