WD Poetic Form Challenge: Landay

A new month means a new WD Poetic Form Challenge–this time for the landay!

Find the rules for writing landays here. It’s an interesting form that can be as concise as a couplet or expand for several stanzas.

So start writing them and sharing here on the blog (this specific post) for a chance to be published in Writer’s Digest magazine–as part of the Poetic Asides column. (Note: You have to log in to the site to post comments/poems; creating an account is free.)

Here’s how the challenge works:

  • Challenge is free. No entry fee.
  • The winner (and sometimes a runner-up or two) will be featured in a future edition of Writer’s Digest magazine as part of the Poetic Asides column.
  • Deadline 11:59 p.m. (Atlanta, GA time) on December 31, 2016.
  • Poets can enter as many landays as they wish. The more “work” you make for me the better, but remember: I’m judging on quality, not quantity.
  • All poems should be previously unpublished. If you have a specific question about your specific situation, just send me an e-mail at robert.brewer@fwcommunity.com. Or just write a new landay. They’re fun to write; I promise.
  • I will only consider landays shared in the comments below. It gets too confusing for me to check other posts, go to other blogs, etc.
  • Speaking of posting, if this is your first time, your comment may not appear immediately. However, it should appear within a day (or 3–if shared on the weekend). So just hang tight, and it should appear eventually. If not, send me an e-mail at the address above.
  • Please include your name as you would like it to appear in print. If you don’t, I’ll be forced to use your user/screen name, which might be something like HaikuPrincess007 or MrLineBreaker. WD has a healthy circulation, so make it easy for me to get your byline correct.
  • Finally–and most importantly–be sure to have fun!


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In addition to the listings, there are articles on the craft, business, and promotion of poetry–so that poets can learn the ins and outs of writing poetry and seeking publication. Plus, it includes a one-year subscription to the poetry-related information on WritersMarket.com. All in all, it’s the best resource for poets looking to secure publication.

Click to continue.


Robert Lee Brewer is Senior Content Editor of the Writer’s Digest Writing Community, which means he maintains this blog, edits a couple Market Books (Poet’s Market and Writer’s Market), writes a poetry column for Writer’s Digest magazine, leads online education, speaks around the country on publishing and poetry, and a lot of other fun writing-related stuff. He’s also the author of the poetry collection Solving the World’s Problems.

Follow him on Twitter @RobertLeeBrewer.


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109 thoughts on “WD Poetic Form Challenge: Landay

  1. taylor graham


    Last chance to catch this sunrise right here
    over Stone Mountain, sky colors that touch our valley.

    Micro-climate over our micro-
    geology, its edge of rock, ice, rain-shadow, flood.

    Sky colors change by nano-seconds
    and my fingers are slow before daylight and coffee.

    In rare display, the pyracantha’s
    garlands of red-orange berries for waxwings if they come.

    The most festive moment’s gone, as sure
    as sunrise striking gold-purple already fading.

    Never these clouds before, two days past
    storm and this angle of last-day-of-November dawn.

    Everyone’s sky is different. Changing.
    If you don’t catch it right now by the cloud-wing it’s gone.

  2. Jane Shlensky

    Robert and Friends,
    Forgive this onslaught of landays. I got caught up in the form and its possibilities for expressing a culture and just started writing songs. Thanks for another great form, Robert. j


    I shyly stare down at my small feet,
    mischief hidden like sequins beneath my blue burqa.

    As long as you can’t see my intent,
    you have no reason to punish me for being me.

  3. Jane Shlensky

    Song to the Brother

    My brother, shamed by my woman’s voice,
    are you so brave to expound our father’s cruelty?

    Why do you raise your song of honor
    and vengeance while you choke my lullaby of life?

    Strike me again, again, proud brother.
    Let my blood soak into the earth to sing at your feet.

    Your love is pride, rifle against knife.
    My love feeds joy in the desert, offers respite, hope.

    Kill me, then. I will not cower here.
    I am not your mother or wife, trembling at your hands.

    You men of false courage drive women
    to their knees—forcing them to swallow your shame and fear

    like pomegranate seeds, sweetness crushed
    and bleeding—such are your war gardens in the desert.

  4. Jane Shlensky

    Song of Recognition

    Love, how shall I know you in purdah?
    Your burqa covers everything except your small feet.
    I long to share a cool room with you,
    that same burqa tumbled to the floor like a blue kite.

  5. Jane Shlensky

    Song to the Women

    If I cannot sing my deepest hope
    to my love, O God, put me among kindly women,

    invisible women who shoulder
    the well to water the world, who sigh and hear at night,

    sipping the deaf darkness with only
    a star’s far-away glimmer in a featureless sky.

  6. Jane Shlensky

    Song of Rendezvous

    Tremble with me on the hill beyond
    the tents, a chill breeze stirring fear of discovery.

    The night sky has many eyes, blinking
    down where I wait for your dark gaze to penetrate mine.

  7. Jane Shlensky

    Song of Desire

    If I cannot ask an imam for
    a love charm to turn you to me, I must write my own.

    I fain my love, scowl and turn away
    lest you see my secret and reject me as impure.

    Please understand me: I want only
    that you should know my heart and mind and hold them precious.

  8. Jane Shlensky

    Song for the Fighter

    When you die, love, you are a hero
    who gives up my life with your own without reflection.

    I will bury you beneath dark stones,
    symbolic of your lack of concern for my sorrow.

    O husband, you are the man who stones
    me over and over with your faithless disregard,

    For I am nothing more than woman.
    Nothing will ever be a love that defeats your pride.

    War taught me to hate Americans
    almost as much as I hate Taliban torturers..

  9. BDP

    Autumn sauces maples, bright juices
    dripping—then, paunch full, nibbles at oaks, dribbling dry crumbs.

    * * *

    King Kong asteroids auto-pilot
    toward earth—atomic bombs if they manage to hit us.

    * * *

    Throw rug, tile floor, porcelain tub, step.
    Looking forward to coffee with toast and jam, fractured.

    * * *

    Walking past my window, she gestures,
    frowns and smiles. I’m alone, on the way home from grade school.

    * * *

    One stride…a tour bus almost hits you.
    Years later you fling an arm across a young man’s chest.

    * * *

    Wiping dust from a long-neglected
    ficus, each leaf a question: do I clean dying ones?

    –Barb Peters

  10. grcran


    our life beyond this is enigma
    we’re barely surviving post-imbibing strong stigma
    we’re summoned we’re called by subpoena
    some courted by fortune some thrown into the arena
    from there it’s uncertain miasma
    we pray cross our fingers and rely on charisma
    which am i my child or my grandma
    the backwards morass or futurist melodrama
    no promise of peaceful nirvana
    so get good things done not just anything you wanna
    break records and legs with a zeugma
    ply passionate kindness don’t give it up for dogma
    use love as volcanoes use magma
    let life’s lessons resonate Ignore the enigma

    gpr crane

  11. taylor graham


    What will happen to the Gold Rush ditch?
    Snowmelt carried down by hand-dug ditch to work the mines –

    to separate God-given gold from
    native rock scattered everywhere freely on the land.

    Mountain water that had once been snow,
    cold as Sierra midnight, full of lore, it flows down.

    Shall this water be piped underground?
    What good is that to thirsty deer, cougar, fox, and bear?

    How shall a man walk to meditate,
    on a paved-over pipe that mocks our hard-won history?

    From gold the water flowed, free spirit
    whispering to trees, the heart of home, the forest soul.

  12. PressOn


    Chickadees’ chatter cheers when snow swirls,
    but even snowy owls spurn the howls of snow in squalls

    and I, too, must pause while whirling churls
    abort daylight with their hordes of hoary, wailing walls.

    — William Preston


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