Thursday, October 31, 2013

OctPoWriMo Day 31 - Endings and New Beginnings

I am so happy that so many of you stuck with us and wrote poetry everyday during OctPoWriMo. It has been a pleasure working with and receiving so much help from Julie Jordan Scott, Linda Roy, Janet Parfitt, Amy McGrath, and Nimue.

Some things have to end for new things to begin

Today is the last Poetry Prompt for OctPoWriMo 2013, for those of you that wrote a poem everyday I congratulate you! Some of you have expressed sadness that this is coming to an end and the team and I decided to create Poets on the Page to continue to inspire and motivate you all year long. I hope you decide to join us.

Poetry Prompt: 

What in your life is coming to an end making way for something new? How do you handle endings, are they easy or hard? Samhain/Halloween is a time where the veil between worlds is thin and a good time to say goodbye to those that have passed in the last year, who do you need to say goodbye to? What closure do you need? Free write answering one or more of these questions.

Word Prompt:

Endings - beginnings

Shadow Poetry type, Loop Poetry

For those of you like me that will be playing catch up, you have until November 7th to link up your poetry on the prompt you're writing for.

Thank you so much for playing along with us during OctPoWriMo 2013!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Poets on the Page

The team and I over at OctPoWriMo decided we would like to continue on inspiring and motivating other poets through challenges and poetry prompts more than just in October, hence Poets on the Page is born.

Prompts and Challenges

We will be posting our weekly poetry prompts on Mondays and linking up on Thursdays, giving you more time to work with the prompt, playing with your words and creating your poems. The second Sunday of every month we will challenge you for one full week of diving deeper into poetry.

We will be adding more pages and filling out this blog as we go along and the first prompt will be posted on Monday, November 4th.

Until then I challenge you to explore poetry through books, movies, and YouTube (slam poetry) to discover new poems/poets that inspire you.

Keep those poetry tools out, grab a cup of coffee or tea, and let's discover how deep we can go as we throw open all the doors to writing poems from the heart.

Poetry Prompt Day 30: Writing about the Hard Stuff

Image by Brandon Olterman 
Poetry can take us so many wonderful places. It can be beautiful, sweet, loving, and gentle. But that's not where I want us to go today.

On this, the eve of Halloween, I want us to play in the dark. Words have power. YOUR words have power. Take a moment and let that sink in.

YOUR         WORDS          HAVE          POWER.

In my own writing, I often take on difficult subject matter. I throw open the closet doors, drag out the skeletons, polish them with words, then prop them up on the porch for the world to see. There is incredible freedom in exposing darkness to light. Through poetry (and other forms of art) we can shed light on the dark places in our world and, in doing so, ignite small fires for change.

"A poet's work is to name the unnameable, to point at frauds, to take sides, start arguments, shape the world, and stop it going to sleep."      ~ Salman Rushdie

"Poetry is truth in its Sunday clothes."      ~ Joseph Roux

"A poem begins with a lump in the throat."      ~ Robert Frost

There are so many possible topics to consider here: child abuse, bullying, violence, addiction, terrorism, discrimination, pollution, eating disorders, mental illness, diseases, etc.

Be brave. Go into the dark. Choose a subject and expose it to the bright light of your words.

Here are some examples of issues exposed through dance to further inspire you:

Addiction - choreography by Mia Michaels

Bullying - choreography by Bonnie Story

Breast Cancer - choreography by Tyce Diorio

Child helping parent - choreography by Travis Wall

The Prompt: Choose a social issue that is important to you for your poem today. What calls your attention? Write from either a very individual and personal perspective or from a broad and global one.

Word Prompt: Social Issues

~ Amy McGrath

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

OctPoWriMo Day 29: Epitaph Poems

Halloween is lurking and we are also reaching the end...of OctPoWriMo 2013 that is.
In honor of the ghoulish holiday and the impending demise of our month of poetry...mwahaha...(maniacally creepy laugh is not optional) the prompt for today is to write an Epitaph Poem. 

An epitaph poem is a tasteful summarization of the life of a person. A kind of poetic eulogy if you will. The idea is to emphasize the positive aspects of the deceased. Epitaph poems can be humorous, dark, brooding, maudlin, serious, whatever you like. Some begin with "Here lies..." followed by thoughts about the deceased. 

Prompt: Write an epitaph poem.  It can rhyme or not. It can be funny if you'd like. It can be about a fictional character or a well known person who has passed. You can choose to write about a beloved pet or a loved one you wish to pay tribute to or you can simply make it spooky for Halloween.  And if spooky is where you're headed...a little tip: imagine it being read by Vincent Price or Christopher Walken. I think that's a pretty good litmus test. Have a ghoulish good time! 

Monday, October 28, 2013

OctPoWriMo Poetry Prompt Day 28 _ Who are we?

This has been another October to remember. I have enjoyed OctPoWriMo this year, but once again I was in the midst of taking care of health issues while I was also co-creating the prompts and the community here. I wish I could’ve put time on hold while I was both preparing and
I hope to get around to more of your poetry in the coming weeks.
With that said, here is my final prompt for you to write your way into during October, 2013
Last week I saw a movie that has sparked a lot of thought for me. 
It is called “I Am” and is a documentary about how a serious situation turned into a quest. A lot of what he says is familiar territory for me, but it was so interesting to hear his perspective along with the science behind it. The movie's premise is based on exploring human nature. The director, Tom Shadyac, visits the most respected, influential thinkers of today to interview them ask them several basic questions.


He also visits his father and asks him the same questions.

Today we’re going to focus on the people who have influenced on our lives for the better, such as our parents, poets (for any Rumi fans, Coleman Barks is one of the thinkers in the film), philosophers, educators, scientists and our next door neighbor. Perhaps our child. Maybe it is a stranger you met one time and the conversation you had with that five minute friend changed the direction of your life.

Today we are going to focus on their story in relationship to your story - our story - and how your lives have intersected.

Tell that story in poetic form, whichever form you would like to use.

I will give a slight suggestion for you to take or not take. Please take a few moments to consider who to write about by making a list of people before you choose one subject.

Start with 5 to 10 people and allow yourself time and space to add to the list before you start writing. This isn't a poem to speed through for the sake of checking the "writing poetry" task for today off your list.

This is a poem to allow to simmer for at least a little while.
Quotes for inspiration:
“We tell stories in order to live.”
Joan Didion
“What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? The world would split apart.”
Muriel Rukeyser
“Life is made up of stories, not atoms.”
Muriel Rukeyser
Word Prompt:
She/He is… I am… We are…
Sentence starter prompts:
I remember her/him….
I remember we together…...

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Poetry Prompt Day 27 - Get Your Rhyme On

I get in a mood and I love to play with rhyme. Pull out those rhyming dictionaries or pull up the RhymeZone and let's have some fun.

Something magically inspiring.
For this poetry prompt I chose several different rhyming formats from Shadow Poetry with each subsequent poetry type increasing in difficulty. You can choose to do one, two, or all three. Or you can choose to do none of them and decide to do something else entirely.

Rhyme Prompt One - Monorhyme

Rhyme Prompt TwoDuo-Rhyme

Rhyme Prompt Three - Diatelle

Word Prompt: Daring

Remember that these are suggestions only and you can choose to find your inspiration for your poetry wherever it may be.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Poetry Prompt Day 26 - Father, Mother, Sister, Brother...

This is a picture of my mum and dad; it is quite unusual because my mother would probably prefer to have her head sawn off than have her photo taken so I actually don't have many pictures of her. But my prompt for you today is about family. It can be any member of your family; could be a step-sister or even the family budgie if you prefer. We all have a huge amount of baggage, both good and bad, when it comes to our families.

The tone of your poem is completely up to you. You can explore the skeletons in your family closet or go back to a more blissful childhood memory when everything seemed safer. Only you can decide how to respond to this but try not to judge; just explore, record and move.

Friday, October 25, 2013

OctPoWriMo Day 25: Celebrations, Good Times and Poetry

To begin: we are going to take a moment to s-l-o-w d-o-w-n.

Think for a moment about the important rituals, holidays and other significant celebrations in your life. 

How about three inhales and three exhales and just open your mind and heart to YOUR holiday or special day.

Today marks a very important day to me: in two months my daughter, Katherine, will turn twenty-two years old. 

I swear, I don’t know how my children grow up and I continue to look and feel as young as when they were little – but nonetheless, December 25, 2013 marks the start her being twenty-two. I’m sort of nervous because I got married at twenty-three. Youch.

For many people, December 25 is an important holiday.

For others, there are other significant dates and times to get through: my younger daughter abhors Thanksgiving, which for the United States is in the end of November. I’ve decided I will create a special party the Sunday before that holiday and have people bring a variety of foods and we start crafting a new sort of Thanksgiving Emma can love.

I have sort of been a lousy holiday person since the many loss experiences I have had and the impact those losses had on my holiday celebrations. I tend to have somewhat grief filled holidays. 

I rarely talk about it.

I rarely write about it.

What about you?

I thought today would be a grand day to write a poem about whatever special day you want to write about, be it a birthday, an anniversary, a festival, an opening night. Be creative and surprise us with your words.

Word Prompt: Celebration

Sentence Starter:    My next celebration will be….

Thursday, October 24, 2013

OctPoWriMo Poetry Prompt Day 24: Go Back and Go Back Again

One of the things I love about being in a part of a community like here at OctPoWriMo, we know we can reach out to one another if we need help. When I was getting ready for my surgery I was a mess, an absolute mess - and Morgan was gracious enough to recycle a post I had written last year.

Even if you wrote something last year, I bet there is another poem waiting to be written from your 2013 perspective. As Heraclitus said, "You can never step in the same river twice." In this case, "We can never step into the same poetry prompt twice."

It gives me great pleasure to reintroduce this poetry prompt from Morgan Dragonwillow:


As you continue to write poetry day by day, you may discover some resistance to going deeper still. You may feel a wall erect in front of you and think you are just blocked. Most likely fear is rearing its head.

At a time like this the best thing you can do is write through it. Allow yourself to write whatever is coming up for you and know that what you are writing you don't have to post. You don't have to but after you are done, read it again, and maybe there will be something within it that you want to share. The important part is to give yourself permission to just write all the thoughts that are swirling in your head even if you never do share it with another living soul.

Me before the world told me I couldn't be me.
This poetry journey is for you. It is to help inspire you to get your words down onto the page and to help you remember who you are at your core; all parts of you.

Poetry Prompt: Go back to when you were eight years old. Write down all of the dreams and aspirations of that little girl or little boy. Now pick one and write what it would feel like to be living that dream authentically.  Really use as many sensory words as you can.

Word Prompt: Remember 

Sentence Starter: I remember me... 


When I remember I feel...

Come back to this page and Link Up if you want to share your poetry. You can also share it by Tweeting with the hashtag #OctPoWriMo and share it on Facebook in our Writing Poetry Group

I hope you are being kind to yourself on this poetry voyage. Always remember, I.Believe.In.You!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Poetry Prompt Day 23: Number Theory

A page from my art journal
You knew it was going to happen. The former math teacher turned poet/writer/word artist would have to go there. Yes, my fellow poets, today our focus is numbers! Now before you roll your eyes, panic, and run screaming from the room, allow me to assure you that your writing today has nothing AT ALL to do with "Math" (unless you want it to, of course!)

 Let's face it. There is not a day that goes by that we don't encounter numbers in some way. Look around you. Think about the last drive you took, bus you rode on, purchase you made. We cannot function without them. They are on our calendars, in our phones, along our highways. We use them as markers of important days and remembrances of special years. They keep track of the pages in our books and remind us when we're running late. Numbers are everywhere.

Do you have a lucky number? Is there a number that appears frequently in your life? Perhaps you're a fan of odd numbers or even. Maybe prime numbers fascinate you. Open your mind to the infinite number of possibilities! (Pardon the pun... couldn't resist!)

Here are some examples I found:

"Numbers" by Mary Cornish

"Number Man" by Carl Sandburg

"The Geometry of Death" by Amy McGrath (while not about numbers, it's still very much mathematical!)

I hope you  are able to take five minutes and enjoy the video below. Poetri is wonderful!

The Prompt: Write a number poem. There are many ways to go about this. You can write about a specific number or a sequence of numbers. You can use a familiar sequence (zip code, phone number, etc) to provide a syllable count for your lines. You can write about your love of (or distaste for) numbers. Just find a way to use a number in your poem, to inspire your poem, or to provide structure for your poem. Most importantly, HAVE FUN!

Suggested Forms: Tetractys, Etheree, or Tanka

~Amy McGrath

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

OctPoWriMo Writing Prompt: Day 22 - A Picture Paints a Thousand Poems

If a picture paints a thousand words, then why can't it paint poems? A photograph tells a story and that story is usually pretty open to interpretation. Using the images that surround us is another way to find inspiration for poetry. What does it make you feel? What is your experience with the image? Or what do you think the subject is thinking, feeling and experiencing? Does the photograph make a statement about the world? Is it whimsical and surreal? Can it be funny, serious? Tragic? 

Writing Prompt: Choose one of the photos below and use it as inspiration for your poetry. You can tell us a story with your prose or mention the photograph within the body of the poem.  Have fun with it! There's no limit to where your imagination can take you. 

photo by Stephen Hernandez

photo by Robert Rauschenberg 

photo by Rodney Smith 

photo by Ben Heine 

Monday, October 21, 2013

OctPoWriMo - Poetry Prompt Day 21: Short, Sweet and Simple

Yesterday Morgan gave you a more “labor” intensive prompt, so I am going to be on the opposite end of the spectrum and give you what I think may be perceived as an easier prompt.

Before I get to the prompt though, I need to confess my latest dead-poet crush. I have developed quite a thing for that sexy beat poet who I always think of as looking like James Dean with glasses. Hot.

Anyway, I have been gaining momentum in my crush on him for a while now, but since visiting his grave in Lowell, Massachusetts. He was also a lover of Zen – and he deeply loved haiku and koan.

He wanted to try something different, though, and purely American, so he created the American Sentence Poem. It is like a haiku in that it is seventeen syllables, but the sound units are spread over a sentence rather than a three line poem.

Today, your challenge is to write a micropoem.

In other words, very short.Very sweet. Very simple.

Seventeen syllables or less.

Word Prompt: Micro

Quotes for inspiration:

“One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.”
― Jack Kerouac

“Live, travel, adventure, bless, and don't be sorry.”
― Jack Kerouac

“Great things are not accomplished by those who yield to trends and fads and popular opinion.”

- Jack Kerouac

OctPoWriMo loves - I am neither at home nor on my computer. I attempted to hand copy the coding for the linky. It didn't work. It looks fine from here, but if there is no linky here yet, please know I know and will fix it when I get home in the morning.

AAnna Stewart gave me permission to do so. I love you, Anna!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Poetry Prompt Day 20 - Love Letters, Not What You Are Expecting

This poetry prompt isn't what you may think it is. Yes I would like for you to write a love letter but not from you to someone else and not from someone else to you. What I would like for you to do is write a love letter between two inanimate objects.

You may be thinking, "Is she nuts?" or you may be thinking, "Oh yeah, I can do this." Well whatever you are thinking, I discovered this from one of my favorite poetry performers, Sarah Kay.

Listen to her perform A Love Letter - Tooth Brush to the Bicycle Tire. I think it is pretty awesome but I think just about anything Sarah Kay performs is awesome!

Poetry Prompt:

Take a look around your house and find two unlikely objects that you can play around with on the page and create a love letter from one to the other. I hope you find much amusement playing with your words.


You could decide to play with this poetry form, Rictameter at Shadow Poetry. I love the poetry form Cinquain and this is very similar to it. You can open the dictionary, choose a word, and begin or you may have a word that you already want to use. 

Now for an added challenge...

You probably have been playing with poetry most of the last 19 days, if not all, (and some of you for a long time before that) it is time for something daring. Something that could possibly take you out of your comfort zone. Take your favorite poem that you have written so far and film yourself performing it. This is something that I challenged the participants to do last year as well. Here are two of my videos that I created, We Are One and Oh to Be a Raven from last years OctPoWriMo. 

Will you take up this challenge and create a video of one or two of your poems?

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Poetry Prompt Day 19 - Rhyming Verse

Now I know many of you have been avoiding this but sooner or later we have to look at rhyme. It doesn't have to be scary, but it is a form of discipline. It can force you to work harder but it can also make your poetry better.

The simplest form of rhyming verse is just four lines and the last word of the second line rhymes with the last word of the fourth line.

I shoot the hippopotamus 
With bullets made of platinum
Cause if I use the leaden ones
His hide is sure to flatten them.
Hilaire Belloc

The next rhyming scheme is where the rhymes go a,b,a,b.

I hate doing laundry
But there is worse;
Like the difficulty
Of rhyming verse.
~Janet Parfitt

And then there are rhyming couplets that go a,a,b,b, etc.

Redundancy pay
Is not a bad way
To learn at last
You're a thing of the past.
 ~Reay Fuller

And then there is a form called the clerihew which is a four line poem in rhyming couplets but the first line must be someone's name.

Percy Bysshe Shelley
Shook like a jelly
When in the night time
His wife read him Frankenstein.
~Janet Parfitt

And finally, for those who like a bit of fun, there's always the limerick.

They tell of a hunter named Shepherd
Who was eaten for lunch by a leopard.
Said the leopard "Egad!
You'd have been tastier lad,
If you had been salted and peppered!"

So no matter what form you decide to go for or if you want to stick with blank verse the most important thing is to have fun with it!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Poetry Prompt Day 18: And the Poetry Runs Through It

I used to strongly believe in writer’s block. 

I don’t believe in writers block so much anymore. I believe there are times when the words are tougher to come by and there are times when language isn’t flowing and there is time when any word combinations that show themselves on the page are too clumsy or just plain old bad writing that I throw my hands in the air in disgust. Usually I go for a walk or watch Project Runway on my DVR. Sometimes I even wash dishes or declutter.

Now, however, it’s different.

I’ve discovered the key, the secret, the be-all-end-all to all my writing troubles.

It is simply this: I discovered the joy of writing really badly.

It is waving the white flag to the muses and they respond, immediately, by pouring the most funky words possible from my hands to the page.

Sometimes, they stay funky and silly – which is good.

Sometimes, they turn the corner and I discover I really am quite a decent writer.

Here is your task, as strange as it may seem.

Today, write a really bad poem.

Yes, I said write a really bad poem.

Naturally we all have different definitions of really bad poetry. I may, for example, write a bawdy limerick simply because to me, a limerick is normally…. really horrific poetry.

For you, it could be writing a poem almost entirely of adjectives and adverbs or concepts that are not definable. It could be too sing songy or just going nowhere except… usually into the trash can.
Just give it your best worst.

Have some fun.

My only request is this: give it your best shot to be terrible. If you keep the right attitude, I will be surprised if you don’t surprise yourself.


"The old writer’s rule applies: Have the courage to write badly.”

Joshua Wolf Shenk

"Push away the sense of shame from writing badly, and just get the words out. "

Mona Simpson

Word Prompt:  Lousy

Sentence Prompt: I thought I would write a lousy poem, so here.....

I look forward to read your horrible, worst, most ridiculous poems EVER!

Have a great weekend!

-- Julie Jordan Scott

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Poetry Prompt Day 17 : Games We played

The moment I log in to Facebook , my first thought is to once play Candy Crush [ Am stuck on same stage for about 15 days now ].  And then , I proceed to check other notifications. On mobile too , I am addicted to same game from some time. Before that , there was Ruzzle , Motto race  , WordFeud and a  few more.

So while I was thinking of today's prompt , I was of course playing Candy Crush again , when the idea hit me. Why not write of the games we play on mobile , desktop or play stations ( sorry , I am not aware of latest gadgets ) . While we are at it , lets go back into our childhood and list all the games we loved to play.

As far as I remember , my choices were quite limited since I was into reading as early as I can think of. But still , for most kids around me , I could notice games being in and out of fashion. Can you think of such phases and a game for each phase ?

so for today's prompt , make a list of all your favorite games . either pick one of the games and the lessons it taught you. Or you can just trace your life in terms of the games you played.

Another idea could be , To think of the modern times games being available to you in your childhood and imagining how different or same you would feel about it.

Some of you might have kids and even grand kids . What game do you play with them  ? Or what game from your childhood would you want to pass on to your kids ?

Are indoor games better than outdoor ones ?

Phew ! I myself am being so overwhelmed now with all the ideas. I should sleep now over this and hopefully wake up to some concrete ideas and few good poems from some of you :D

Ok, Write on !!
while I give another shot to this level of Candy Crush ;)

~ Nimue

Image source

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Poetry Prompt Day 16: The Last Word (or Things Left Unsaid)

We've all had those moments when we have something on our mind, but for some reason we hold back. We're overcome with emotion and can't think clearly, but an hour or a day later we suddenly think of the perfect witty retort. Some of us have had friendships/romances that ended without the needed closure. And I'm sure some of us have lost someone close and we wish we could say one more thing to them. This is the basis for today's prompt.

A friend of mine that writes poetry shared the video below on Facebook recently. She added that it inspired her to write her own version that she called "Love Letters that I'll Never Send." (She's also participating in OctPoWriMo with us, so she'll be really surprised to see this!)

What about you? Is there someone you would like to write a love letter to? Perhaps there are ex-boyfriends/girlfriends with whom you'd like to have a last word. Maybe there's someone who, for whatever reason, is no longer in your life and there's something you left unsaid. Here's your opportunity to express, to vent, or to share something you wish you'd said before. To quote Sara Bareilles from her song "Brave":

You can be amazing
You can turn a phrase into a weapon or a drug
You can be the outcast
Or be the backlash of somebody’s lack of love
Or you can start speaking up
Nothing’s gonna hurt you the way that words do
When they settle ‘neath your skin
Kept on the inside and no sunlight
Sometimes a shadow wins
But I wonder what would happen if you

Say what you wanna say
And let the words fall out
Honestly I wanna see you be brave

The Prompt: Free-write beginning with "Dear _______" and say all those things that you never said, but wish you had. String a series of them together as the performer does in the video or write it to a single individual. Use this as the starting place for a poem. Maybe it's a happy poem about a secret love. Or perhaps it's the "Dear John" letter you want to write. Give yourself permission to say everything that comes to mind. You can always edit later, but say it now. TODAY. Note: If you base your poem on real people or events, you may want to change the names to protect the innocent (or guilty, as the case may be.)

Suggested Form: Villanelle (This is COMPLETELY optional. It's just an additional suggestion if you really want to challenge yourself. Click the form name to view an explanation on Shadow Poetry.)

~ Amy McGrath

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

OctPoWriMo: Day 15 - Making News Your Muse

In September I wrote about using what you find in the news as inspiration for poetry.  Whether it be a headline that jumps out at you or the story itself; perhaps a line from the story - any of these things can serve as inspiration for the beginnings of a poem.  For instance, a phrase might pop out at you - you see a line like 'China slams debt crisis, calling for new world order', which sparks an idea for prose using the words 'new world' or 'new world order'.

The example that most comes to mind is John Lennon's lyric from the iconic song 'A Day In the Life', which he took parts of almost verbatim from the newspaper, adding poetic touches to it to create a more artful vision of the events.

'I read the news today oh boy...about a lucky man who made the grade...and though the new was rather sad...well i just had to laugh...I saw the photograph..." 

'He blew his mind out in a car...he didn't notice that the lights had changed...a crowd of people stood and stared...they'd seen his face before, nobody was really sure if he was from the house of lords..." 

The Prompt: Regardless of where you get your news from, be it newspaper, online or television news, choose a headline, phrase, line or the story itself and craft it into the framework of a poem. Your poem needn't be a piece of news, the piece you choose is merely a springboard for the bigger picture. But if you choose to write about the event itself, that can make for a powerful poetic statement. See where it takes you and have fun. It can be about anything - not necessarily a serious piece of world news. Even something pulled from the funnies can make for good material.