NZ versus NaPoWriMo 2010 – the last day!

Well done, NaPoWriMo-ers! Today is the last day of this monstrous insanity. One last poem, one last posting to seal your end of the bargain. In case you’ve completely run out of ideas, I’ve got a particularly curly writing challenge for you. But more on that later.

Looking over the blogs, I see that Catherine has been calculating the percentages of the person she loves, and finding worlds within rivers (damn fine poem – and congrats on winning the open mic on Wednesday night!);
Greg has been considering words in flight, and the progress of fatherhood;
Kay has been going walkies with Marianne and Margueritte;
and Marisa has been straying like a willful egg (great line!), surviving a breakup, and examining the restless balance between mother and daughter.

That’s a pretty impressive body of work guys! Well done.

Now, as promised, the über-twisty challenge for the last day. It has a long and illustrious history – it was created by the great American poet, Theodore Roethke, and further developed by his pupil, Richard Hugo (whose book The Triggering Town is a must-read for any aspiring poet – and someone’s borrowed my copy, dammit). This version comes courtesy of British poets Matthew Sweeney and John Hartley Williams in Teach Yourself Writing Poetry, who describe it as “vicious”. You have been warned!


Take five nouns, verbs and adjectives from the following list:

Nouns Verbs Adjectives
tamarack to kiss blue
throat to curve hot
belief to swing soft
rock to ruin tough
frog to bite important
dog to cut wavering
slag to surprise sharp
eye to bruise cool
cloud to hug red
mud to say leathery

Now use them to write a poem, following these rules:

  • Four beats (strong stresses) per line, although you may vary some lines.
  • Six lines per stanza, three stanzas in total.
  • At least two internal and one external (line end) slant rhymes per stanza (full rhymes are permitted, but not encouraged).
  • A maximum of two end-stopped lines per stanza.
  • Clear English grammatical sentences – no tricks (all sentences must make sense).
  • The poem must be meaningless.

Good luck! You now have all the information I do. May the muse have mercy on us all …

4 Replies to “NZ versus NaPoWriMo 2010 – the last day!”

  1. I schlepped across town and got my manuscript. Poems blogged. Yes! Oh, but I didn’t write to your prompt. I ended up reading Theo and got completely side tracked into something else. Not like me at all…really…

    1. It’s a tough prompt – one I have yet to attempt myself (blushes, hangs head, scuffles foot in dirt, makes a mental note of the likelihood that it’s time to sweep the kitchen floor …)

Leave a Reply to Jopre Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: