2013 April PAD Challenge: Guidelines

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Here we are--the sixth annual April PAD Challenge. In a little less than 4 weeks, 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. 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.

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 form poetry or free verse, 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.

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Workshop your poetry!

In the Advanced Poetry Writing workshop, poets will write and receive feedback on 6 poems during the 6-week course. Instructor Cherri Randall will share revision techniques that will help leading into National Poetry Month. Click to continue.

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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 choose my favorite poems of the month from poets who submit up to 5 poems by May 5 to my e-mail address (robert.brewer@fwmedia.com) with the subject line: My April PAD Submission. Poets can only submit up to 5 poems, and I will only consider the first submission--so make sure it's what you meant to send. Unless you need formatting in Word, please include the poems in the body of your e-mail message. It makes my life a lot easier. Also, please include your name in the e-mail.
  • I will attempt to make selections by August 8, and they'll be announced on this blog.
  • 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 4-year-old son.

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!

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Follow me on Twitter @robertleebrewer

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