Poetry Challenge #116

Prompt Time

Writing from a prompt pushes you to write fast and helps you free your mind. You can use the prompt as your first line, your last line, or a line in the middle.

Get your notebook or computer ready and set your timer. Then highlight the box below to reveal the prompt and write as fast as you can. Ready?

                        No one tells me what to do…

Set your timer for 7 minutes

Don’t think about it too much; just do it!

Start writing!

Kelly Bennett and I began this 7-Minute Poetry Challenge over 1300 days ago. We now take turns creating our own prompts to share with you. If you join us in the 7-Minute Poetry Challenge, let us know by posting the title, a note, or if you want, the whole poem in the comments.

Poetry Challenge #115

Knit Wits

Old Lady whispering hush.jpg

Think “knitting” and an image of the “quiet old lady whispering ‘hush’” springs to many a mind. But that’s bunk. At last week’s VCFA Writing for Children and Young Adults Alumni workshop flashing, clicking needles were everywhere. Co 7-Minute Challenge creator, Cindy, is a big knitter. So am I, in my fashion. And in the same way, so are you.

Knitting is such a useful word. In the same way yarn becomes sweaters, wounds knit back together. Families are closely knit. Brows knit in consternation or contemplation. Thoughts knit together become ideas, just as words knit together can be poetry.

In Merriam-Webster speak, knitting is “a series of connected loops,” so that’s where we’ll begin.

  • Close your eyes and write down the first word that pops into your mind. One word. That word will be the title of your poem.
  • Next, quickly list words that you associate with your word.  From that list, choose the best five.
  • Take a moment to reorder those five words into a sort of pattern that makes sense to you.
Classic Knit-One, Purl-Two pattern
Classic Knit-One, Purl-Two pattern

Let’s use our wits to knit those words together to create a poem. For our first effort, we’ll use a simple knit one, purl two pattern. Consider those five words to be your “knit” stitches. The “purl” part of our poem will be modifiers. Let’s get knitting!

Write your first “knit” word. Below it “purl” two modifiers. Below that purl, write your next “knit” word, then “purl” two; continue in this knit one-purl two pattern until you come to the end of your word list. Just like that you’ve knitted a 10-line poem

Set your timer for 7 minutes

Don’t think about it too much; just do it!

Start writing!

Kelly Bennett and I began this 7-Minute Poetry Challenge over 1300 days ago. We now take turns creating our own prompts to share with you. If you join us in the 7-Minute Poetry Challenge, let us know by posting the title, a note, or if you want, the whole poem in the comments.

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Poetry Challenge #114

User Error

Batman User Error.jpg

User Error is such a useful term. At one and the same time it blames and forgives: “Yes, I did it, but it wasn’t my fault.”

Such is the case with Wednesday’s prompt. After 113 consecutive weeks we totally dropped the ball. BONG BONG BONG…We forgot to post a 7-Minute Poetry Prompt. Onward:

Think back on a time when you’ve had a system malfunction? A SNAFU? A mess up? A day, event, moment when you dropped the ball: BONG BONG BONG (If you haven’t ever had one on those times, make one up.)

Take a moment to dreg up all the miserable, embarrassing, nauseating, gut-wrenching details. Allow yourself to wallow in the misery for one more minute.

Write a poem about that time. Try not to rhyme. Not to spell correctly. Not to sound pleasant. Let it be harsh and raw—try breaking the lines in odd places. It other words: write a lousy poem.

End it with those two huge words: USER ERROR!

You're Forgiven.png

Set your timer for 7 minutes

Don’t think about it too much; just do it!

Start writing!

Kelly Bennett and I began this 7-Minute Poetry Challenge over 1300 days ago. We now take turns creating our own prompts to share with you. If you join us in the 7-Minute Poetry Challenge, let us know by posting the title, a note, or if you want, the whole poem in the comments.

Poetry Challenge #113

One Must Ask Children and Birds

“One must ask children and birds how cherries and strawberries taste”—Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.

Pick a food that begins with a consonant (not a, e, i, o, or u). Can you think of other foods that begin with the same letter? List 5-10 foods that begin with the same letter. Next, list 3-10 foods that end with that letter. Then, list 3-10 foods that have that letter in the middle. Finally, list 3 verbs and 3 adjectives that have to do with food and contain your letter. 

green eggs and ham.jpg

The repetition of a consonant sound is called alliteration. Many times tongue twisters are made from these repeated sounds. Use words from all your lists to write an alliterative list poem. Read it aloud and see if it trips your tongue.

“I will not eat them here or there. I will not eat them anywhere.
I do not eat green eggs and ham. I do not like them, Sam-I-am.”

— Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss

Set your mind to channel FOOD

Set your timer for 7 minutes

Don’t think about it too much; just do it!

Start writing!

Kelly Bennett and I began this 7-Minute Poetry Challenge over 1300 days ago. We now take turns creating our own prompts to share with you. If you join us in the 7-Minute Poetry Challenge, let us know by posting the title, a note, or if you want, the whole poem in the comments.

Poetry Challenge #112

Bend it like Adolphe . . . Sax that is!

When we were about twelve, my friend Theresa and I closed ourselves in a music room at CSULB and played over and over and over and …the opening phrases of the song Windy. We only stopped when the guy in the next room knocked. Turned out, he too played a sax. We only wished we did . . .

Said to emote a sound reminiscent of “the echo of an echo” . . .  a resonance “situated at the edge of silence,” the saxophone was invented by Adolphe Sax in the 1840s (patented in 1846.) Sax only received a 15-year patent for the sax (and immediately others began copying his design). Sax’s sax however was the first.

Adolphe Sax.jpg

In honor of Sax’s birthday, November 6, 1814, let’s write a saxophone poem.

Listen to a Saxophone play. This 2017 post highlights “The 20 Greatest Saxophonists of All Times” with clippings of each playing.

Let your mind wander as you listen. Where does the music take you? How does it make you feel? What does it make you feel?

Or, look at the saxophone itself, it’s shape. And ask yourself, if a saxophone were an animal, which animal would it be?

Draw on these saxophone images and feelings to write a Saxophonic poem.

Set your mind on “Cool”.

Set the timer for 7 minutes.

Start writing!

Don’t think about it too much; just do it.

Kelly Bennett and I began this 7-Minute Poetry Challenge over 1200 days ago. We now take turns creating our own prompts to share with you. If you join us in the 7-Minute Poetry Challenge, let us know by posting the title, a note, or if you want, the whole poem in the comments.

Poetry Challenge #111

One Dark and Stormy Night . . . YIKES!

halloween pumpkin.jpg

Back in my sleep-over camp-out nights, with the campfire crackling and tossing spooky shadows, the wind howling and tree branches scraping on the tent, we used to make scary spookier still with a game called Yikes!

Things that go bump in the night. . . Scary, right? Scary how a simple bump sound—in the right setting at the right time—sends tingles, quivers, hair-raising heebie-jeebies shivers chasing up our spines.

It’S Hallow’s Eve; let’s get our Yikes! on. Whoever creates the spookiest poem, wins! First, write a scary poem. And then . . . make it even scarier still by replacing specifics with sounds words.

See if you can scare yourself silly!

Oooooohhhhh CREAK

SCRATCH EEK

EEK YOWL

HOWL

Mwahaha

SCREECH SCRITCH

WHAT’S THAT NOISE . . .

Thump THWACK

thwaaaaaaaaaa

Set the timer for 7 minutes.

Don’t think about it too much; just do it.

Start writing!

Kelly Bennett and I began this 7-Minute Poetry Challenge over 1200 days ago. We now take turns creating our own prompts to share with you. If you join us in the 7-Minute Poetry Challenge, let us know by posting the title, a note, or if you want, the whole poem in the comments.

It is said that everyone fears the same thing—the Unknown. Thus, the secret to writing scary is not what you write—but what you leave out. “Readers will imagine the rest, filling in the gaps with whatever scares them most,” noted Nocturium in a recent post**.  Which takes me right back to those spine-tingling sounds. Let’s give it a Go—ghost!

Poetry Challenge #110

Boston Creme Pie . . . Oh My!

It is said that the Boston Cream Pie was invented in Boston—hence the name. More specifically, “In 1856, at Boston’s Parker House Hotel, French chef Monsieur Augustine Francois Anezin created this pudding and cake combination.” It was declared the official dessert of Massachusetts in 1996. (In case you need cause to celebrate, Oct 23rd is National Boston Creme Pie Day!

I don’t live in Boston or in Massachusetts, but I love Boston Cream Pie. Those yellow cake layers, that creamy pudding filling, the smooth chocolate icing. Yum!

What might the official dessert of your town be if YOU got to name it? Write a poem describing your dessert. Make our mouths water just thinking about it!

Set the timer for 7 minutes.

Start writing!

Don’t think about it too much; just do it.

Kelly Bennett and I began this 7-Minute Poetry Challenge over 1200 days ago. We now take turns creating our own prompts to share with you. If you join us in the 7-Minute Poetry Challenge, let us know by posting the title, a note, or if you want, the whole poem in the comments.

Poetry Challenge #109

Dictionary Roulette

I love dictionaries! It’s an excellent way to procrastinate . . . and expand one’s vocabulary—always a good thing. Best, words lead to ideas…and actions! So grab a dictionary and let’s GO!

Here’s mine…show me yours!

Here’s mine…show me yours!

If you don’t have a physical dictionary (Borrow a library copy or go buy one!!! You should have one!!!), you can use a website such as m-w.com or dictionary.com and look for a list of words of the day.

Yes! You can borrow my dictionary.

Yes! You can borrow my dictionary.

One of my favorite prompts when I get stuck with any writing is to take a dictionary, open to a random page, and write down the first word I see. Sometimes I roll three dice and open to that page. Sometimes I have someone pick a number between 1 and 948 (the number of pages in my favorite dictionary) and then another number between 1 and 68 (the average number of words on the two pages) and I find my word that way.

Using the Close-Your-Eyes-and-Point method, Roll-the-Dice method, Pick-A-Number method, find 5 words. Write a 5-line poem using all 5 words.

Poetry Challenge #108-Let’s Hear It For Teddy!

“Wait! Where’s my Noy-Noy?” Is it a coincidence that National Bring Your Teddy to School/Work Day and National Stop Bullying Day fall on the same day? (The Second Wednesday in October (Oct 9, 2019) I don’t think so. How many of us had a favorite Teddy—by “Teddy” I mean that bunny, stuffie, blankie, lovie, bear or otherwise you loved as a child? Mine was named “Noy-Noy.” All these years later I still recall times when it seemed Noy-Noy was my only friend. Likewise, how many of us recall being teased about that beloved Teddy? Or having been shamed into leaving it behind? Bernard Waber’s Ira Sleeps Over immediately comes to mind. For that matter, how many of us have discarded, lost, ignored, stuffed into a box, closet, attic, under the bed . . .  that beloved Teddy?

What about Me? Poetry Challenge #108 This One’s for Teddy! Climb into your attic (metaphoric or otherwise) take out your beloved Teddy, dust it off and give it a big hug—in the form of a poem. Begin by taking a moment to recall your Teddy. What does it look like? What did it feel like? And more, what did holding it make you feel? Did you and your Teddy go on adventures together? Can you think of a recent time you wish you had Teddy? Drawing on these moments, write Teddy a poem. Let your Teddy’s name be the title of the poem. Give Your “Teddy” a mental (or real-time) hug Set the timer for 7 Minutes Start Writing!

*Cindy Faughnan and I began this 7-Minute Poetry Challenge 1260++ days ago. We now take turns creating our own prompts to share with you. If you join us in the 7-Minute Poetry Challenge let us know by posting the title, a note, or if you want, the whole poem in the comments.

Poetry Challenge #105

Happy Birthday!

Every day is somebody’s birthday! Who do you know who has a birthday coming up soon? Write a poem to that person telling them why they’re special or what they mean to you. Work on it until every word is exactly the one you want. Do you want your poem to rhyme? Do you want it to have a certain number of syllables on a line? Is it a list poem or a story? You get to decide. You can even give it to the person as a birthday gift!

Set the timer for 7 minutes.

Start writing!

Don’t think about it too much; just do it.

Kelly Bennett and I began this 7-Minute Poetry Challenge over 1200 days ago. We now take turns creating our own prompts to share with you. If you join us in the 7-Minute Poetry Challenge, let us know by posting the title, a note, or if you want, the whole poem in the comments.