Day twenty-one – we’ve been at this for a full three weeks now.

My personal Poem A Day Challenge – today’s is … a little league event.

Robert Lee Brewer’s AprPAD challenge prompt is pick an object (any object), make it the title of your poem, and then, write your poem.

NaPoWriMo‘s featured participant for the day is rhymeswithbug. Today’s featured poet is with Eileen Myles. And their prompt is write a poem that incorporates overheard speech.


There are many things I enjoy about 30 day Poem-A-Day (PAD) challenges; it great knowing on Day 30 that I stuck with it and have 30+ poems in my paocket. It’s always a surprise finding what neural pathway my mind took with each prompt, taking me in directions I seldom expect; it is a journey of self-discovery. It also satisfies the “Joiner” in me, being an active part of the global poetry community.

But the part I really enjoy is the prompts! if you follow me on Facebook, Pinterest or Twitter, you will soon realize … I’m all about the prompts! I haev 447 pins in my Poetry/Writing Prompt board on Pinterest … and that’s just about 9 months of browsing!

So let me share some of the places I mine prompts from:DRAFT screenshot

Besides posting daily prompts in April & Novemeber, Robert Lee Brewer posts an prompt every Wednesday on his Poetic Asides blog.

This past year, each Sunday, I get a great prompt e-mailed to me from DRAFT aka Joe Wadlington.

Living Poetry has prompts on Monday’s.

Creative Writing Prompts has 20 free prompts on the page promoting their book of prompts.

I am also fond of using’s Word of the Day.

And then there is my document files. This one I mined from a 30 day challenge years ago.

… And now our prompt (optional, as always). This may remind you a bit of the “New York School” recipe, but this prompt has been around for a long time. I remember using it in a college poetry class, and loving the result. It really forces you into details, and to work on “conducting” the poem as it grows, instead of trying to force the poem to be one thing or another in particular. The prompt is called the “Twenty Little Poetry Projects,” and was originally developed by Jim Simmerman. And here are the twenty little projects themselves — the challenge is to use them all in one poem:

1. Begin the poem with a metaphor.
2. Say something specific but utterly preposterous.
3. Use at least one image for each of the five senses, either in succession or scattered randomly throughout the poem.
4. Use one example of synesthesia (mixing the senses).
5. Use the proper name of a person and the proper name of a place.
6. Contradict something you said earlier in the poem.
7. Change direction or digress from the last thing you said.
8. Use a word (slang?) you’ve never seen in a poem.
9. Use an example of false cause-effect logic.
10. Use a piece of talk you’ve actually heard (preferably in dialect and/or which you don’t understand).
11. Create a metaphor using the following construction: “The (adjective) (concrete noun) of (abstract noun) . . .”
12. Use an image in such a way as to reverse its usual associative qualities.
13. Make the persona or character in the poem do something he or she could not do in “real life.”
14. Refer to yourself by nickname and in the third person.
15. Write in the future tense, such that part of the poem seems to be a prediction.
16. Modify a noun with an unlikely adjective.
17. Make a declarative assertion that sounds convincing but that finally makes no sense.
18. Use a phrase from a language other than English.
19. Make a non-human object say or do something human (personification).
20. Close the poem with a vivid image that makes no statement, but that “echoes” an image from earlier in the poem.

I have a number of prompt sheets I have brought home from poetry conferences & workshops. I will scan & share those later here.

I do tend to treat PAD prompts differently from other prompts of the year. The past five years – or so – it’s been my habit to actually use the prompt, not only as a subject, but also as the title. November 16, 2015, the Challenge of the Hart prompt was write an ode to rain

Ariel reading April 20, 2017
Pacific NW poet Ariel reading poem “Because Ink” April 20,

Write an Ode to Rain

Write an Ode to rain,  an epicedian;
those fat round drops that fall from gray skies

That transparent liquid we identify
Our State with; the one we huddle from

when it comes, bundled in yarn and layers, and
bemoan its absence the rest of the year

That dripping water that trickles then rushes over
your skin, you were a tree standing with deep roots

and it’s purpose was to soak through the layers, slack your thirst
keep your wood young and green, your heart

wet with sap, churning sunlight
into sugar water, powerhouse energy

to your cells. That viscous bond – Hydogen, oxygen –
that makes such vital consumable commodity you drank from;

it’s in everything you love – crafted beer,  plucked fruit
the comfort of a woman beneath you; myself

I watched how it became babbling streams, became creeks and crooks
became rivers flowing down through declined valleys, dammed

to fill deep lakes for Fish, to cover tree stumps and submerged foundations,
watched it hold back later and later each year – the Climate

Change, the scientists claim it will one day
disappear – this life-saving miracle we take for granted

remember how you liked it wet, stroked your fingers through it
chased after it with tongue hanging out – that was our youth

Write an ode to Rain when I die,
for it shared your days when I could not.