Napowrimo Daily Writing Prompts

1 Apr

Check back here for daily writing prompts if you get stuck for ideas on your Napowrimo journey. Or check this document for loads of ideas. Jump to the NaPoWriMo blog to get more poetry prompts (though I might steal some of them :D). You can also look them up on Facebook.

Napo #1 – Lunes

I ❤ lunes – scroll down a little ways for the description. Write on the topic of: Friday afternoon anticipation, Spring… Once you are home, anything around you…. Or…. Light…

Napo #2 – I can tell your future

Need some help from a fortune teller? Ask the literature oracle for the answer to your question (and then write a poem about it!) (from

Day #3 – Rondelet

The rondelet is a structured poetic form that relies on rhyme and meter.  Look carefully to follow the rhyme scheme below. You can find an example here.

Line 1 :: A—four syllables
Line 2 :: b—eight syllables
Line 3 :: A—repeat of line one
Line 4 :: a—eight syllables
Line 5 :: b—eight syllables
Line 6 :: b—eight syllables
Line 7 :: A—repeat of line one

Day #4 – Find a line

Wander around school today with an observant eye and ear. When you hear or see an interesting phrase or sentence write it down (you might want to carry a notepad, or take a note on your phone).

At the end of the day, look at your list. Choose a line that you like (perhaps when you read it you immediately imagine a story, or creates a distinct image). Free write on this line either in poetry or prose. Keep working on it until you have a poem of free verse.

Day #5 – Dylan Thomas Portraits

Dylan Thomas Portrait poems rely on imagery to present an idea. You can find the instructions and examples here.

Challenge: write a series of portraits (perhaps 3) that are related to complete a picture or short narrative.

Day #6 – Anaphora

Write an Anaphora (or using anaphora – need to check that!) where the repeated line is “Waken by…” (check out “Howl”)

Napo #7 – Myths

Today’s prompt comes from the Napowrimo blog: There are many good poems based on myths. Lots of these use Greek or Roman myths. Consider Tennyson’s Ulysees or this more modern example by A.E. Stallings. But today I challenge you to write a poem based on a non-Greco-Roman myth. You could write a poem inspired byNorse mythology, or perhaps by one of these creatures from Japanese legend. Every time and place and culture has its myths and legends, so there’s plenty to choose from.

Day #8 – Would love to apologise like WCW

“This is just to

Day #9 – The Golden Shovel

Here’s another great poetry prompt from the folks at Napowrimo:

Today’s prompt is a little complicated, which is why I saved it for a Saturday, in the hopes that you might have a little more time today than during a weekday. I think this is a very rewarding form, though, so I hope you’ll enjoy it! Today I challenge you to write a “golden shovel.” This form was invented by Terrance Hayes in his poem, The Golden Shovel. The last word of each line of Hayes’ poem is a word from Gwendolyn Brooks’ poem We Real Cool. You can read Brooks’ poem by reading the last word of each line of Hayes’ poem! (In fact, you can do so twice, because Hayes, being ultra-ambitious, wrote a two-part golden shovel, repeating Brooks’ poem). Now, the golden shovel is a tricky form, but you can help keep it manageable by picking a short poem to shovel-ize. And there’s no need to double-up the poem you pick, like Hayes did. Here are a few possibilities to work from:


Green Buddhas
On the fruit stand.
We eat the smile
And spit out the teeth.

-Charles Simic



Their relationship consisted
In discussing if it existed.

-Thom Gunn

First Fig

My candle burns at both ends;
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends—
It gives a lovely light!

-Edna St. Vincent Millay

Happy writing!

Napo #10 – Cafeteria food, pop culture, free radicals

In the spirit of today’s Haiku Death Match, write a haiku on one of the above topics.

Napo #11 – Pantoum

Pantoum’s have a very strict structure where lines of the first stanza are repeated in the second stanza. Then lines of the second stanza are repeated in the third stanza and so on and on. Check out Laura-Anne Bosselaar’s example:

And some instructions.

Napo #12 – Cento

A good one for the weekend so you have lots of time to read poetry: Cento‘s take the lines of other poets and mush them together to make a new poem. The idea is you take one line from lots of different poems and organise them. Be selective; be random. Its up to you!

Napo #13 – Blackout Poetry

Find a book or a magazine, get the sharpie out and start erasing! Here are some examples.

(prompts below here are still to be edited, but use them as you like!)

Napo #18 – What are we writing today, Mr. Tangey?

This one from the Napo prompts: write a poem that starts and ends with the same word.

Napo #17 – Literally translated

Write a “translation” of a poem in a language you don’t actually know. Go to the Poetry International Language List, pick a language, and then follow it to a poet and a poem. Generally the Poetry International website will present a poem in its original language on the left, and any translation on the right. Cut and paste the original into the text-editing program of your choice (and try not to peek too much at the translation). Now, use the sound and shape of the words and lines to guide you, without worrying too much about whether your translation makes sense.

Napo #16 – To Do

Write your to-do list and then we will split it and contrast it with a juxtaposing topic just for fun. Write a second list of favourite things to do while relaxing (perhaps its too obvious but its a start…) Or beautiful/inspiring/favourite parts of your city… Now combine your lists so that each line combines an element from both lists.

Napo #15 – Yours is Mine

Find a friend who is also participating in Napowrimo. Ask them (or steal!) a line of poetry and use it to start your own poem!

Napo #14 – Sevenling

A sevenling is a 7-line poem (chosen because today is the 14th day of the challenge) that features two tercets and a one-liner in the final (third) stanza. Here’s the example.

The first two stanzas should have an element of three in them that can either play off each directly, work as juxtaposition, or have no connection whatsoever. The final line should work as either a punchline, weird twist, or punctuation mark.

Bonus points for using enclosed tercets: a b a rhyme or terza rima where the two tercets rhyme as a b a b c b.

Napo #9 – 10 Second Essays

Read James Richardson’s aphorisms (an aphorism is like a saying that is generally considered to be true) at “ten-second essays.” Pick one that resonates with you, and use the aphorism as a springboard for a poem.

Napo #8 – Cento

Cento‘s take the lines of other poets and mush them together to make a new poem. The idea is you take one line from lots of different poems and organise them. Be selective; be random. Its up to you!

– Assembly Required

Find a set of instructions. Write a poem in which you give the reader directions about how to assemble an object or an emotional experience. Think of the various sensory stimuli your directions provide and experiment with the order of the lines. For inspiration, read Matthea Harvey’s poem “Setting the Table.”



One Response to “Napowrimo Daily Writing Prompts”

  1. droll555 April 3, 2014 at 9:30 PM #

    Hey Seantangey,
    I am participating and I want you to too… So i send your blog to the participants sites area and I hope you publish poems everyday for this month… I like your blog and I would like if you join NaPoWriMo

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