The Bell Jar: Jo Bell's blog

"She lives the poetry she cannot write" – Wilde

NaPoWriMo Week 2

Halfway through NaPoWriMo

Halfway through NaPoWriMo

Ahoy folks. There has, inevitably, been a huge falling off in the number of people writing a poem a day for National Poetry Writing Month – but my cockles are warmed tremendously by the poems that are still rolling in, in response to my daily prompts on Facebook and Twitter.

For those of you foolish enough to revisit them, here are all the latest prompts. Remember that many of these links allow you to hear, as well as to read, a poem. The poet’s own voice can make the poem a very different experience.

Day 10 – A litany is a poem or prayer in which a single word or phrase is repeated at the beginning of each line. Here’s a classic example, the Litany of Loretto – and three modern examples from Billy Collins, Allen Ginsberg and Richard Siken. If stuck, use one of these as your repeated word: Unless, Or, Whatever, If, Finally.

Day 11 – List twenty intensely physical experiences you have had. Write about one of them. It doesn’t have to be a good one!

Day 12 – Read this poem by Anne Bradstreet. Now read these poems about Anne Bradstreet by Eavan Boland and John Berryman. Now write a poem addressed to a favourite (or unfavourite) poet of yours. Think of where, how and in what style s/he wrote. Talk to them. Tell them things.

Day 13 – A valediction is a poem of goodbye – to a lover, a deceased relative, a situation. Read examples here from Ann Ridler, from Billy Collins, and from John Lyons: now write your own.

Day 14 – A laudation is a poem of self-praise. Read this one from Tomaz Salamun and write your own. British persons in particular will complain that this is too hard. It’s meant to be hard, you slackers. Pull all the stops out, show your wit and celebrate yourself unapologetically!

Day 15 – read this poem from Liz Lochhead, A Favourite Place. Think of a favourite place of your own and make notes on it. Write a poem about it. Include one personal name, and one piece of reported speech (something someone said, quoted directly). Focus on one event or occasion. If it takes you somewhere else, like Liz’s poem – so much the better.


8 comments on “NaPoWriMo Week 2

  1. Ruth Aylett
    April 15, 2013

    Possibly there are others like me writing the poems but not really wanting to publish them. So far one each day even if some of them are feeble haikai..

    • Jo Bell
      April 15, 2013

      Yes Ruth, I think lots of people are doing that – so long as they are writing, that’s the important thing!

  2. Martin Shone
    April 15, 2013

    I didn’t even know it was poetry writing month until shortly after it began, but even so I wouldn’t/haven’t taken part in it, don’t ask me why not, well I shall tell you anyway ha ha… I’m not a poet, I write poetry and there is a difference. That’s all I shall say 🙂

    Well done to all those that are though x

  3. Josephine Corcoran
    April 15, 2013

    Reblogged this on Josephine Corcoran and commented:
    Poet Jo Bell’s site is a terrific blog to follow at any time but especially during NaPoWriMo if you’re in need of really interesting writing prompts!

  4. wendyfrench
    April 16, 2013

    Wonderful ideas and thank you for all of this. All refreshing and new to me, Weny


    • Jo Bell
      April 16, 2013

      So glad to hear it Wendy. It’s such a pleasure to think that people are getting something out of these!

  5. Rockcru
    April 22, 2013

    Reblogged this on AGAINST INTERPRETATION and commented:
    Jo Bell’s blog on writing exercises. Again, very inspirational. Check out her previous posts on the subject.

  6. Pingback: poem twenty nine: a laudation | kate's thirty poems in thirty days

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