national poetry month, poetry, Prompts

National Poetry Month: ghazal

The ghazal! An Arabic poetic form originating from the 7th century that relies on repetition and lingers between the pain of loss and the beauty of love despite the loss. It’s absolutely gorgeous, but incredibly difficult to pull off in English.

ghazals must have at least five rhyming couplets or bayts and can have as many as fifteen. The couplets are linked thematically but not necessarily in situation or story. ghazals thrive in the abstract. Each couplet ends with the same refrain, which rhymes with the first line of the first couplet (AA BA CA, etc.).

There are stringent rules for ghazal forms, but in English, poets often use just those mentioned above as guiding principles.

Agha Shahid Ali is a well known Kashmiri poet whose poem Ghazal can be found here.

A contemporary interpretation of the ghazal appears in Evie Shockley’s poem where you are planted here.

national poetry month, poetry, Prompts

Poetry Month: Sonnet

The elusive sonnet. Shakespearean, Petrarchan, traditional or modern, love them or hate them. There’s so much scholarship out there about sonnets, but my favorite is definitely Stephen Fry’s section on sonnets from The Ode Less Travelled. Learning about ancient metered poetic forms from a comedian really does it for me! Here’s an excerpt:

Excerpt from Stephen Fry’s chapter “The Sonnet” from The Ode Less Travelled

So for a prompt, try a sonnet. Whatever that means to you. Could be traditional, metered, rhyming, or not. But keep the Volta! The beautiful turn in line nine (or thereabouts) that shifts the poem. That I think is true embodiment of a sonnet, in whatever form you make it. Oh and 14 lines of course!

national poetry month, poetry, Prompts

Happy National Poetry Month

I am thrilled to share another wonderful April of poetry with you all!

Local highlights this month include:

-April 7, Flying Words Project at Kent State

-April 9, “How Do We Talk To Each Other?” The Cleveland Humanities Festival

-April 21, Ekphrastacy at Heights Arts

-April 24-May 1, Lakefront Cleveland Poetry Festival, including workshops, open mic, and the CSU Poetry Center Lighthouse Reading on May 1.

-April 29, Poem In Your Pocket Day

If you know of anymore events I can add to this list, please let me know!

Every year, I share a month-long list of poetry prompts for National Poetry Month. However, this years prompts will look a little different from the last few years. Instead of posting every day, I’ve decided to upload every few days and include a prompt, along with a formal poem in celebration of this great month. I want to challenge myself to write more poetry and to write more poetry in form, at that. I hope that I can end this month with at least five poems in form, whether that’s sonnet, haiku, villanelle, terza rima, ghazal, etc. I hope that you will participate with me!


Let’s start things off with less pressure: haiku

cold threads early spring.
icicles down the maple
branches. sunny sky.


And here’s a prompt for the first few days, mull it over!

Write a few lines describing a setting you know well that’s easy to picture: snow on pine trees, the back row of a classroom. Establish the scene with sensory details (don’t forget visual/sight isn’t the only sense we perceive in a place). Then have your poem twist, go somewhere very different, whether spatially or thematically, from where you started. (adapted from Billy Collins’ Masterclass)

Happy Poetry Month! Happy April! Happy Writing!

national poetry month, Prompts

April is National Poetry Month!

Happy poetry month everyone!

There will be a few changes going on with my site over the next month, but I will be sure to share poetry prompts for each day below!

Stay tuned each day for a new prompt!

April 1 – Imagine you are underwater. Describe the feeling. Fear? Euphoria? What do you see? How is the landscape underwater different than above? Are you in a river, a lake, an ocean, somewhere else? What makes this place different than previous encounters with water?

April 2 – Use these words: sunshine, electric, bicycle, fourteen, forgive

April 3 – A house can be many things. Describe your house, exterior/interior, but don’t be literal. Embrace the magic of the place.

April 4 – Happy Easter! Include all the colors of the rainbow in your poem!

April 5 – Tell me a story, muse, from the perspective of something very small. Be it an ant, a fox, the petal of a daffodil, a coffee bean… Put yourself in its “shoes” and look at the world from a different angle.

April 6 – Pick a road from your life. Describe its details, curves, edges, landscapes. Think of where that road took you. Add a pineapple to the poem.

April 7 – Take a book from your bookshelf and turn to page 29. Take the third word, the fifteenth word, and the thirtieth word. Do this for at least three more books. Cobble together a poem.

April 8 – The sun was do bright today! Write a love song to her.

April 9 – Go to the NASA Hubble site and find an image on the page that speaks to you. Write a poem about the language of stars and include the nearest living thing (pet, plant, person) in your poem.

April 10 – Sometimes we need to step away from writing to become inspired. Today’s prompt isn’t to write, but to observe. Take a walk around your neighborhood. Observe the people you pass, the cars, the animals. What makes the houses unique to your neck of the woods? What features of the landscape does only your town have? Do you call them treelawns, devil strips, or just grass between the sidewalk and the road? Do the trees bloom in spring or summer? Are you stepping on maple buds, magnolia petals, cracks in the sidewalk? Don’t worry about remembering everything, in fact don’t even worry about writing it down later. Just observe, take it all in.

April 11 – Take a fairy tale and rewrite it for modern times; include a harmonica in your poem. Suggestions: The Six Swans, The Juniper Tree, Hansel and Gretel.

April 12 – Today my grandmother turned 93, so let’s write about aging.

April 13 – Write about the way sound travels through walls, the tinniness, the almost hearing the words that we do as we strain to listen, the accidental eavesdropping.

April 14 – Write an ode to a spring weed. My ode is to the mock strawberry sprouting in my flowerbeds.

April 15 – Petrichor is the smell of rain after warm weather. Write me a poem that inhabits that same space.

April 16 – Time for form! Your choice: Sonnet, Villanelle, or Ghazal. You can find more about these forms by searching them here.

April 17 – Today is for ekphrastic writing. Find an artist featured at your local art museum or gallery and browse their online catalog until a work speaks to you. Take your train of thought and follow it to whatever diving hole it seeks. The artwork need not be the focus of your poem, just a place to begin and see where it leads you.

April 18 – I think music is a big part of poetry, but when I listen to songs with lyrics I often can’t come up with my own words. So it’s time to find some instrumental music! Find an instrumental track from a film or video game that you haven’t watched or played and write where the music takes you!

April 19 – Reach back into your childhood and write a new nursery rhyme. Don’t forget the sing-songy meter and the nonsensical occasions of childlike wonder!

April 20 – Take yourself back to your most angsty days and channel that energy into a poem. But instead of indescribable emotion, focus on turning that angst into startling pairs of words or comparisons. For example anger becomes volcano staccato and crying makes your cheeks like soil-soaked roots.

April 21 – Snow? In April? Ohio, you’re crazy! I don’t know if we should write an elegy to Spring, an ode to Snow, or something entirely different. Write about a surprise like this: waking up to four inches of snow on your blooming cherry tree.

April 22 – Write a recipe for a good poem. What ingredients do you need and how much? What’s the prep? How do you cook a good poem? Bake? Saute? Summer? Fry?

April 23 – When I’m stuck, I go to the classics. Here’s Wallace Stevens’ “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird” – take it as inspiration to look at something natural in your life in 13 ways.

April 24 – Take inspiration from the warm weather. Write about what happens in the heat.

April 25 – Write a poem telling about sharing a meal with someone you don’t know.

April 26 – Alien day! Write a poem about something escaping your chest.

April 27 – Write a poem with a pool noodle and an immaculate medal in it.

April 28 – Poetry can be found in everyday tasks if we choose to look for it. Turn some chore you do around your home into a poem.

April 29 – We have heavy rain today, turning the weeds, grass, and lichen on the trees super green. Write about that freshness, the vibrancy that comes from a good spring rain.

April 30 – The end of the month means we write an elegy. Remember something beautiful, something lost. This past year has been so hard, but so many of us have cultivated new parts of ourselves. We cannot forget to mourn, at least remember what we’ve left behind. My own mourning comes for the time spent with friends, the closeness of a meal shared at a table, the cheers of beer glasses, the hugs.


30 Days of Poetry

1 – The Fool

2 – Satellites in Orbit

3 – The Letter “E” appears in odd numbers. You cannot use the letter “E”.

4 – “I used to be a roller coaster girl” jessica Care moore

5 – Write the moment you decide to cut a corner.

6 – Kigo – write a haiku

7 – Write the senses – we have 5, is there a 6th? Your scene: the backyard of your childhood home.

8 – Rest. In music, in bed, in the space of a poem.

9 – Your poem is a gift, wrap it in colorful paper, bows, confetti. What’s inside? Tell us.

10 – This algae bloom.

11 – On this day, Napoleon abdicated, 1814. You can find more here. Connect your words with something that happened on this day.

12 – Orange, Clover, Exile, Patent, Freeze

13 – Listen to your favorite song until you cannot hear the melody anymore, until the words are meaningless. Then, write a poem about that experience.

14 – Choose an Emily Dickinson poem and use her syntax to create something new. Use the same parts of speech that she does, but change the words. So, “Banish Air from Air” becomes “Burn face to face.”

15 – Write about Margaret Keane.

16 – Write a sonnet.

17 – Silence. It has a sound, a feeling, a space. I want to know about it. Tell me about your silence.

18 – Visit the Smithsonian’s website for the National Portrait Gallery. Find a face and write their poem.

19 – Write a crocus, snowbell, daffodil, or lilac poem.

20 – Columbine was 20 years ago. Google the shooting and write your thoughts. Don’t approach this as a poem, more like a meditation.

21 – Write about the color green.

22 – 22 lines about anything.

23 – Listen to Clair de Lune and tell me what it’s really about.

24 – Write a poem in another language… Like the language of food, of music, of car maintenance.

25 – Write an Ode.

26 – I can never write comedy. So now we all have to. Watch a couple of YouTube videos of your favorite comic and write a poem in their voice.

27 – Read an animal poem. Pick your least favorite animal and write something for it. Think The Tyger or The Walrus and the Carpenter.

28 – Embrace symmetry and write a square poem.

29 – Write about Mondays.

30 – Serenade April, National Poetry Month. 🌠


Happy National Poetry Month

Happy National Poetry Month, everyone!

Our Ohio April rang in with snow still on the ground, but that doesn’t stop me from being so grateful for this month! Not only does it bring in spring flowers and bright colors, but we get to talk about poetry! Just like last year I will be completing a prompt-a-day to commemorate April 2019, and I will share my prompts/inspirations with you in another post. So keep coming back to stay updated!

National Poetry Month Poster 2019
Request your own poster here!


National Poetry Month

I have undertaken the #napomo challenge of writing a poem a day for the whole month of April. I will be updating this post with my prompts/inspirations for each day. Follow along if you like!

April – National Poetry Month – Poem-A-Day Challenge

1 – Serqet, Egyptian goddess of Scorpions & crater on Ganymede

2 – “Agatha” by Dorothea Lasky & two children running around my apartment’s pool

3 – Stumbled upon a list of American English Proverbs & wrote on a few

4 – “Aries” Mug by Jack Dadd for Dunoon and Astrology

5 – Jupiter’s South Pole

6 – Greta Wrolstad’s poem “This One Is About Pain” tweeted by sam sax & a memory of being catcalled on my way to return library books

7 – The Poison Garden at Alnwick Castle & “Rappaccini’s Daughter” by Hawthorne

8 – Kurzgesagt’s Time: The History & Future of Everything

9 – Am I living up to my name? (Names, Birth, & Scars)

10 – Corona, Rust, Virus, Tulip, Flare, & Yellow

11 – Wendy Xu’s Tweet & Random Word Generator

12 – #NationalGrilledCheeseDay & This Idea

13 – Adrian Matejka’s Map to the Stars & Major Lazer’s Cold Water

14 – Random Classic Art Gallery & Death and the Maiden by Egon Schiele, 1915

15 – Star remnant from an old American flag & the current president

16 – Sherlock & the Grimm fairytale, Snow White

17 – Kelli Russell Agodon’s 30 Writing Prompts for National Poetry Month (Prompt #1) & Tumor by Anna Leahy

18 – Zen Rituals & the nature of smoke

19 – Ars Poetica // Writer’s Block (took 19 days for it to hit!)

20 – Seeing old friends after a long time

21 – I missed this day 😦

22 – Two-fer to make up for 21: Earth Day & travelling far from home

23 – Salamander in folklore and legend & the two definitions of Nebula

24 – Rosetta Probe GIF

25 – New Notebook from Target & “Dark Horoscope” by Libby Burton

26 – 👽 Alien Day 426

27 – How sunburn sneaks up on you

28 – Thalassophobia

29 – Centos using other poems’ titles

30 – The Last Day! Writing a “thank you, poetry” poem