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A poem a day

Columns - Newsflash

It’s National Poetry Month – Time to Write a Poem!

National Poetry MonthThis month Book Balloon member Janet McAdams, is offering up a daily prompt for starting a poem in the Creative Writing thread on the forum. Just try to start a poem every day. You don’t have to finish them this month; you can finish them in May, June, and July.

Janet is the author of two poetry collections (The Island of Lost Luggage and Feral), teaches creative writing at Kenyon College, and edits the Earthworks Poetry Series from Salt Publishing.

Some of the prompts will be subject-based and some will suggest formal strategies for starting a poem (She promises she’ll get to limericks!). This coming Wednesday's Poetry Prompter will be poet (and fiction writer and librettist) Lara Candland. There may have a few more surprise guests before the month is over.

The first prompt is "a simple exercise in writing an autobiographical poem.":

You’ll want to come up with a handful of key phrases like “When I was five. . . .” “ When I was fourteen. . . .” “When I was twenty-three. . .” and so forth. Three phrases will do, but five is probably better, and perhaps more, depending upon how old you are.

In coming up with these phrases, choose years (ages) of significance in your life. Use each phrase as a prompt to help you write about an important time in your life. You might want to describe a key incident or person or place in response to each prompting phrase. Don’t worry about making the different parts of your poem parallel or of equal lengths.

And don’t overthink it—just write. Tell some lies if you need to. As Frank O’Hara said, “You just go on your nerve. If someone's chasing you down the street with a knife you just run, you don't turn around and shout, ‘Give it up! I was a track star for Mineola Prep.’"

Read more at the "Go to the thread" Thread.

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