The Seeker

A Meta-Cognitive Journal About Writing… Plus Other Stuff

The Poem-a-Day Challenge is Back / Abandoned Poems

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I’ve been looking forward to November—not for the turkey and football, nor for the frost soon to crystallize the grass each morning, nor for the denuded trees and short days.  Rather, November marks the return of the Poem-a-Day Challenge organized by Robert Lee Brewer over at Writer’s Digest.  He posts a prompt each day of the month, and the challenge is to produce a poem.  If you’re keenly interested, you can carry the challenge over into the New Year and submit a chapbook for him to judge.  All of this is the poet’s backlash against NaNoWriMo (and really, why should novelists get so much exposure?!)

I mentioned this last year, having stumbled upon it unexpectedly early in November.  I instinctively clung to it, even early on when I had to work on two prompts a day.  An interesting assortment of crazy things happened, the most notable of which was that I found all kinds of time to write in little nooks and crannies throughout the day that I would have otherwise ignored.  I created some effective organizational philosophies to keep my work and brain in order, and managed to stomp the balls of my inner critic who would otherwise be whispering really?  you’re going to write that?  what the hell’s your problem?  And those are the nicest things he says day in and day out.

I ended up with a bunch of junk I never revisited after scratching out some initial thoughts, but I also ended up with a fistful of middlin’ poems that I abandoned but can bust out any time and keep working on.  Best of all, I ended up with a decent amount of poems that I did keep working on and am envisioning as a part of a chapbook.  If I sift out the junk, my output during the PAD Challenge last year equaled what I did the rest of the year.  Given all this, I’m a believer in what can happen during the PAD Challenge for someone who is mental enough undertake it and stick doggedly to it.

I got to thinking about the abandoned poems from last year and decided re-purpose them here.  Some of them are inspired attempts that didn’t fit the theme I went with last year, some are playful, and some are still stuck in prose form.  So if you’re reading this post and the serial to follow, I’m open to suggestions.  I’ll post throughout the month.


This first one came from the November 19 prompt “Write an Excuse Poem.”  I took it to the extremes with the cliche opening line, but knowing that I was working with cliche from the start meant that I needed to subvert expectations.  I tried that with the final line, but it may have been too much of an attempt at cutesy wordplay.  Cutesy or not, practice counts for a lot.

Just Desserts
Excuse me for breathing
down your neck—
I have no choice
given the position
you’ve got us in,
and even though this
is thoroughly your fault,
I don’t expect
an apology.
You won’t go there.
This is no imposition
to me, really; I enjoy
doing my job, so
you’ll just have to deal
with my hot breath
down your neck.
Your soft, slender neck.


Written by seeker70

November 4, 2015 at 10:42 am

Posted in Uncategorized

4 Responses

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  1. […] thus completing the 2015 Writer’s Digest Poem-a-Day Chapbook Challenge.  I wrote about this last November as it was kicking off, and posted a few poems from last year that didn’t make the final cut. […]

  2. […] So I got tangled up in a few crappy races that were poorly run.  All you can do it keep running.  I’m on pace to meet my quest thus far, so that’s a good thing.  But my back is tired.  Get used to hearing that.  And I’ve got a strange, dull pain on the top of my left foot.  Probably tendinitis.  I’m about due for new running shoes, so maybe they’ll help.  Most of all, I need yoga.  If I don’t get it, my skeleton is going to jump out of my skin and go find a more caring and compassionate body to inhabit.  I can’t blame it.  So it’s yoga tomorrow after school lets out.  But yoga?  Yeah.  For a few years now.  It’s keeping me going.  That’s not to say I like it much, which inspired a poem I crafted during the Poem-a-Day Challenge last year. […]

  3. […] worrying about time?  Probably after my next injury.  Maybe I need to approach this like the Poem-a-Day Challenge and just get caught up in the grind of it and not worry about much else.  I’ll think about […]

  4. […] to write every day; mostly, that means shutting off the inner critic and ripping out a poem.  Or at least something that could become a poem.  I’ve been consistently surprised at some things I’ve churned out, and even some of […]

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