2021 April PAD Challenge: Guidelines

Announcing the 14th annual April Poem-A-Day Challenge on Poetic Asides. Here are the guidelines for this fun annual poeming challenge that starts on April 1.
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It's time to start preparing for the 2021 April PAD Challenge. In about a month, we'll start meeting here every day to poem with poets from around the world. Past participants have included poets from the United States, Canada, Mexico, Spain, Germany, India, Japan, Australia, United Kingdom, South Africa, and several other countries.

(8 Reasons Why Poetry Is Good For The Soul.)

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 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.

For me personally, I've already started to write more poems just thinking about the poem writing on the horizon. Plus, I kind of kept a lid on my writing in 2020, so it feels like there are a lot of lines trying to bust out this year.

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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 on each particular post; 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 (though I admit it can get a little overwhelming at times).

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 with negativity and attacks. My main goal is to make the challenge fun for all—and a safe space to poem.

(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.)

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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.

Note on commenting: If you wish to comment on the site, go to Disqus to create a free new account, verify your account on this site below (one-time thing), and then comment away. It's free, easy, and the comments (for the most part) don't require manual approval like on the old site.Workshop your poetry!

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!

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