NaPoWriMo 2020: Poetry from the trenches, Day 5

Photo by Jan Huber via Unsplash


Today’s prompt, “called the “Twenty Little Poetry Projects,” was originally developed by Jim Simmerman. The challenge is to use/do all of the following in the same poem. Of course, if you can’t fit all twenty projects into your poem, or a few of them get your poem going, that is just fine too!

  1. Begin the poem with a metaphor.
  2. Say something specific but utterly preposterous.
  3. Use at least one image for each of the five senses, either in succession or scattered randomly throughout the poem.
  4. Use one example of synesthesia (mixing the senses).
  5. Use the proper name of a person and the proper name of a place.
  6. Contradict something you said earlier in the poem.
  7. Change direction or digress from the last thing you said.
  8. Use a word (slang?) you’ve never seen in a poem.
  9. Use an example of false cause-effect logic.
  10. Use a piece of talk you’ve actually heard (preferably in dialect and/or which you don’t understand).
  11. Create a metaphor using the following construction: “The (adjective) (concrete noun) of (abstract noun) . . .”
  12. Use an image in such a way as to reverse its usual associative qualities.
  13. Make the persona or character in the poem do something he or she could not do in “real life.”
  14. Refer to yourself by nickname and in the third person.
  15. Write in the future tense, such that part of the poem seems to be a prediction.
  16. Modify a noun with an unlikely adjective.
  17. Make a declarative assertion that sounds convincing but that finally makes no sense.
  18. Use a phrase from a language other than English.
  19. Make a non-human object say or do something human (personification).
  20. Close the poem with a vivid image that makes no statement, but that “echoes” an image from earlier in the poem.” ~ NaPoWriMo, Day 5

I couldn’t fit all these tasks into the poem below, because once the first few got me into the groove, I didn’t want any interruptions. But I’ll keep this exercise in mind for those terrifying dry spells that are as sure to come as taxes. No matter how tough it may be sometimes to write something intelligent, I have a feeling that these twenty playful, seemingly conflicting, tasks will give my tired brain enough juice to crank out a first draft, if not a full poem.

PS–Most of the poems written this April will remain online for up to five days, after which they will be replaced by an excerpt, an erasure, or a thoroughly amateurish art piece that will only allow for bits of the original poem to peek through. At least, this is the plan. The reason being that, at some point, in the hopefully not too distant future, these drafts will undergo revision and begin their multiple-year pilgrimage through the slush piles of many a literary journal. So help me, O Muse.

PPS–After the customary five days, the original draft has been replaced by an erasure. Once again, the angel seashells came to the rescue and brought some friends.

Poetry from the trenches, Day 5


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19 thoughts on “NaPoWriMo 2020: Poetry from the trenches, Day 5

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  1. Adding my prayers, but this one’s a winner. I doubt you’ll need them. As it happens, I’m easy – at least about oaks. If I believed in favorites or found it possible to choose oaks would top a couple of lists. I loved your final lines. This is a beautiful tribute and I admire your craftsmanship in weaving the prompts in so (seemingly) effortlessly. Someone just a few days ago mentioned Overstory to me! Love the synchronicity. I’m reading “The Song of Trees” by David Haskell at the moment, he gives each tree it own chapter and the writing is very fine.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for reading and commenting! “Overstory” kind of changed my sense of observation. I was in love with trees before I read it and have fallen in deeper–and am more aware of what they do–afterwards. I’ll check out Haskell’s book–sound like a really good one.


  2. Wonderful imagery throughout, a truly fantastic ode to my favourite native tree. Not an easy prompt to create a poem from either, I’ve yet to follow the prompts but you’ve inspired me to do so! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much–I’m so glad you liked the poem! As for replacing the poems after 5 days, I’m doing it for the first time this year. In past years, it was difficult to remove the poems off the internet after a while–they kept popping up in search engines…


  3. Thank you… I so get the tree hug and being hug. Feeling the bark on my brow. Standing on the cool earth connecting to the vast root system that is filled with light and communion with all that thriving life below me.
    Beautiful. and thanks for visiting my site. May we all thrive in our own ways as the paradigm shifts us.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Ah, a breath of fresh air this poem! I love your majestic writing – these oaks with furrowed bark whose leaves show character and branches [quote deleted by RI] have captured my heart and imagination. The ending reads like a sweet mantra, my lips want to repeat, again and again… [quote deleted by RI] ❤️🐝✨

    Liked by 2 people

    1. So happy you like this poem!🥰 Yes, I’ve been haunted by sounds lately, like the ‘leaf, bullet, bulb, belly, oblique’ sequence of a few days ago. ‘Lips’ are now joining that mantra.💜


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