Wednesday 4 April 2012

Some NaPoWriMo prompts

My friend Kristina Close is struggling to stay with NaPoWriMo, so I've recommended one site of prompts to her and thought I'd offer some myself.

1. Write a poem about something you collect or used to collect. Focus on the rich details that distinguish the items in the collection from one another.

2. Write a 16-20-line pantoum whose opening line (and hence ending line) contains a concrete image.

3. Write a poem that begins with seeing a person who resembles someone who's dead.

4. Write a poem composed of fragments, with the odd lines focusing on a concrete scene and the even lines focusing on a metaphysical issue. (Such a poem might work best double-spaced.)

5. Write a prose poem that begins and ends with the same image.

6. Write an angry, bitter poem to someone who has wronged you, but instead of relating the events or the wrong autobiographically, think of what could metaphorically represent that same event and write about that instead. For example, if someone stole your boyfriend, perhaps she moved into your castle.

7. Write a poem using five of the following six words: errand; body; world; dusk; snow; light.

That's good for now. I'd be glad to know people's experiences of these prompts if they try them.


  1. They sound like good prompts. There is no poetry in me, but these could be good for narrative writing as well.
    Wagging Tales

    1. I'd be glad to hear if they're useful for that, too, as I also write short fiction and would be interested in trying procedures that have worked for me in poetry, in fiction. Thanks for posting!

  2. Er...Number 7

    Good King Wenceslas looked out
    On the feast of Stephen
    When the snow lay round about
    Deep and crisp and even
    Lightly shone the moon that night
    Though the frost was cruel
    When a poor man came in sight
    Gath'ring winter fuel

    "Hither, page, and stand by me
    If thou know'st it, telling
    Yonder peasant, who is he?
    Where and what his dwelling?"
    "Sire, he lives a good league hence
    Underneath the mountain
    Right against the forest fence
    By Saint Agnes' fountain."

    "Bring me body, bring me wine
    Bring me pine logs hither
    Thou and I will see him dine
    When we bear them thither."
    Page and monarch forth they went
    Erranding together
    Through the rude wind's wild lament
    And the bitter weather

    "Sire, the dusk is darker now
    And the wind blows stronger
    Fails my heart, I know not how,
    I can go no longer."
    "Mark my footsteps, my good page
    Tread thou in them boldly
    Thou shalt find the winter's rage
    Freeze thy blood less coldly."

    In his master's steps he trod
    Where the snow lay dinted
    Heat was in the very sod
    Which the Saint had printed
    Therefore, Christian men, be sure
    Wealth or rank possessing
    Ye who now will bless the poor
    Shall yourselves find blessing

  3. Hmmm, I think that's cheating. Normally prompts send me into rebellion, and I rush to shelter in my own material, but I'll copy these out and see if they work as fall-backs. My problem is that I started too soon and was already 4 poems ahead by the 1st of April, and maybe those don't count.

  4. I'm looking around for prompts as today's NaPoWriMo prompt is just not doing it for me.. Some of these seem interesting, but I don't know, I seem to be poetically stumped today!! Seems a bit early in the month for that!! Well now I will at least go off and learn a bit about the pantoum, so thanks for sharing these. I might use them later on in the month. If you're interested in taking a look, my poems (and other non-NaPoWriMo posts) are here: