Posts Tagged ‘challenge’


NaPoWriMo 30/30 April 25, 2018

April 24, 2018

“Wisdom is easy to carry but difficult to load.”― Ted Kooser

NaPoWriMo Writing Prompt for April 25, 2018

“Don’t talk to me about the stars, about how cold and indifferent they are, about the unimaginable distances. There are millions of stars within us that are just as far, and people like me sometimes burn up a whole life trying to reach them.” ― Ted Kooser

We’re on the homestretch for NaPoWriMo 2018.  I hope if you’ve been playing along at home that you are enjoying the challenge and developing a daily writing habit that will serve you well in the coming year.  Whether you are writing poems that with some re-writing and editing will be published or just flexing your creative muscles, you should pat yourself on the back for taking part in the challenge.

NaPoWriMo – 30/30 –  Poem-a-Day prompt for April 25, 2018

There are mornings when everything brims with promise, even my empty cup. – Ted Kooser

April 25- Happy Birthday Ted Kooser (1939)  our 13th US poet laureate.  His poetry seems to be rooted in the Mid-West and captures a vanishing way of life without being overly nostalgic.   So write a ‘Kooser’ poem today.

Keep Writing!

There’s nothing wrong with delighting in what you do. In fact, most of the fun you’ll have as a poet will come about during the process of writing. – Ted Kooser

My Prompt 23 Poem  – Somehow evoke these three writers/poets: Shakespeare, Vladimir Nabokov and Oregon-born poet Edwin (Man with a Hoe) Markham.

Lines Not Written In Oregon

By Christopher J. Jarmick


Esmeralda! Can we rest

in this bewitched place of the West?

The weight of centuries bears down.

I lean upon the hoe, gazing toward sacred ground.

What breath blew out the light

inside my brain forever preventing flight

even as a dream echo asks why

as I stare at monarch butterfly?

I hear the blue birds, see green upon green

And yet I merely stand by this hoe and lean.

Profaned, disinherited, no one left to trust

But on this spot, I stand, I must

This be my place and here I shall rust.


NaPoWriMo 30/30 April 23, 2018

April 22, 2018

A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool. – William Shakespeare

It is better to rust out than wear out.  – Edwin Markham

Do not be angry with the rain; it simply does not know how to fall upwards. Vladimir Nabokov

NaPoWriMo Writing Prompt for April 23, 2018

And this, our life, exempt from public haunt, finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in everything. – William Shakespeare

The writer’s job is to get the main character up a tree, and then once they are up there, throw rocks at them. – Vladimir Nabokov

NaPoWriMo – 30/30 –  Poem-a-Day prompt for April 23, 2018

April 23 –  William Shakespeare  (1564 to 1616),  author & poet, Vladimir Nabokov (1899 to 1977) and Oregon-born poet Edwin Markham (1852 to 1940) were all born this day.  Can you write a poem that somehow evokes all three?

The breaking of a wave cannot explain the whole sea. -Vladimir Nabokov

Force cannot transmit a moral principle: moral ideas can be received only through the reason of the heart. – Edwin Markham

We think not in words but in shadows of words. – Vladimir Nabokov

Keep Writing

My poem for prompt # 21  Write about light and use some scientific terms.

Electromagnetic Radiation

By Christopher J. Jarmick

The exitance of illuminance

radiating from the Luminaire was spectacular

seemingly a large constellation,

small galaxy of shining, scintillating luster.

I joked to my English friend I was feeling phototropic

and asked how many footcandles he would estimate

we were experiencing.

“Footlamberts, you mean….’ he said.

‘Lumens then,’ I countered.

‘It’s not the highest value

or we would be in white out.

Not a lot of noise or even reflectance either.’ he sparked.

I glared at him.

‘Not much of that either,’ he twinkled.


NaPoWriMo 30/30 April 21, 2018

April 20, 2018

“Words can be like X-rays if you use them properly — they’ll go through anything. You read and you’re pierced.” ― Aldous Huxley

NaPoWriMo Writing Prompt for April 21, 2018

 “One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.” ― Jack Kerouac

Let there be light on this 21st day of NaPoWriMo!  Let the light shine in, shine bright.  Yes, our prompt today has something to do with this of course.  How did you know?  If you are near the Kirkland Wa area, BookTree has a free workshop followed by a free reading and open mic featuring James Bertolino and Anita K. BoyleFacebook Event Page Here  

NaPoWriMo – 30/30 –  Poem-a-Day prompt for April 21, 2018

Today’s prompt is from writer/poet Brendan (Cosmic Egg) McBreen:

On a lighter note, write about light. Is it a wave, is it a particle, be ‘sciency’ and write a poem about light. Try to include at least three scientific terms relating to light.

Keep Writing!

“The difference between the almost right word and the right word

is really a large matter

 ’tis the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.”

― Mark Twain


Prompt Poem # 19   An Etheridge Knight inspired write.


Apostacy Part 2

By Christopher J. Jarmick


His woman done left him

And so… and so…

He be damn angry

F. .  this and that

And damn the sun,

the perfect weather, the breeze,

the ripples on the water on the lake,

because there’s no hand to hold,

no reason to appreciate

no reason to be nice,

to dress up, to be smooth

and talk like candy.

No reason to feel lighter than air

smile, just because,

no reason t’all.


NaPoWriMo 30/30 April 18, 2018

April 17, 2018

 “A good poem is a contribution to reality. The world is never the same once a good poem has been added to it. A good poem helps to change the shape of the universe, helps to extend everyone’s knowledge of himself and the world around him.” ― Dylan Thomas

NaPoWriMo Writing Prompt for April 18, 2018

“I write for the same reason I breathe – because if I didn’t, I would die.” ― Isaac Asimov

Welcome to day 18.  British philosopher writer and speaker, Alan W Watts, best known as an interpreter and popularizer of Eastern philosophy for a Western audience, ‘advice quote’ seems particularly apt to share:

“Advice? I don’t have advice. Stop aspiring and start writing. If you’re writing, you’re a writer. Write like you’re a goddamn death row inmate and the governor is out of the country and there’s no chance for a pardon. Write like you’re clinging to the edge of a cliff, white knuckles, on your last breath, and you’ve got just one last thing to say, like you’re a bird flying over us and you can see everything, and please, for God’s sake, tell us something that will save us from ourselves. Take a deep breath and tell us your deepest, darkest secret, so we can wipe our brow and know that we’re not alone. Write like you have a message from the king. Or don’t. Who knows, maybe you’re one of the lucky ones who doesn’t have to.”

― Alan W. Watts

NaPoWriMo – 30/30 –  Poem-a-Day prompt for April 18, 2018

From prompt meister extraordinaire Brendan (Cosmic Egg) McBreen :  Imagine you are at the beach and you find a message in an old bottle. What does the message say? Write a response the message as a poem.

“So long as you write what you wish to write, that is all that matters; and whether it matters for ages or only for hours, nobody can say.”  ― Virginia Woolf

Keep Writing!

“What’s writing really about? It’s about trying to take fuller possession of the reality of your life.”― Ted Hughes

Prompt 16 poem–  Write a poem that evokes or is about Sam Hamill.

The River Crossed (for Sam)

By Christopher J. Jarmick


The river crossed

washes away the dirt of the journey.

Stand a moment

be clean, reset.

Breathe deep.


Stay a moment in a safe place.

The teaching surpasses the teacher.

Discipline must be learned

and is necessary.


When you must eat bitter fruit

to survive,

when isolation brings peace

but the world gets smaller,

louder, meaner;

when the hand you reach for

is no longer near

and you stumble in the mud

let the river crossed

wash away the dirt of the journey.


NaPoWriMo 30/30 April 17, 2018

April 16, 2018

“Amateurs sit and wait for inspiration, the rest of us just get up and go to work.”― Stephen King

NaPoWriMo Writing Prompt for April 17, 2018

Welcome to the 17th day of NaPoWriMo 2018. The quote speaks:  “Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life, and it is the main obstacle between you and a shitty first draft. I think perfectionism is based on the obsessive belief that if you run carefully enough, hitting each stepping-stone just right, you won’t have to die. The truth is that you will die anyway and that a lot of people who aren’t even looking at their feet are going to do a whole lot better than you, and have a lot more fun while they’re doing it.” ― Anne Lamott

Have fun!  Write every day.

NaPoWriMo – 30/30 –  Poem-a-Day prompt for April 17, 2018

 “Poems are never finished – just abandoned” ― Paul Valéry

Oh yes… another prompt courtesy of  Brendan (Cosmic Egg) McBreen:  Listen to a song you know you do not like, or from a style of music you don’t normally listen to and write a poem in response.

 “A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.” ― Richard Bach

Keep Writing!

 “Your intuition knows what to write, so get out of the way.” ― Ray Bradbury

Note:  An excellent poetry reading is taking place this Thursday April 19th at the Edmonds Bookstore at 6:30pm in beautiful downtown Edmonds Washington featuring short readings from  Janee Baugher, Victoria Ford, Michael Hickey, Christopher Jarmick, and Michael Spence  hosted by David D. Horowitz.  Hope YOU can be there.  EdmondsBookStore Calendar of Events here

“How do I know what I think until I see what I say?” ― E.M. Forster

Prompt 15  The I O U poem prompt from Brendan McBreen  Using only the I O U vowels and…

Not Hot Cross Buns

By Christopher J. Jarmick


I O U this Mr. McB.

It is a lousy, lousy

lousy thing to do

this prompt.  (Not!)

On off,

in out,

who knows

do U?

I thought not. (Rust.)



uh uh,



Must I?

Oh, must I?

Ok, I must.


Is it itsy bitsy sociolinguistics or microsociolinguistics you sing out loud

with or without our crowd of two plus you know who?


Goofy stuff I know.

Your doing Mr. McB.

Or U’r doing if I might – right?


Not so good but I’m lost without first two vows…

which is short for. . .oh, you know.

Oui, I O U

lots of words

Ok, I know this in or I know it out,

I know how to do much more.

Critic might not put up with using Y though

Oh sh*t. . .Tough nuts.  Sorry old nuns. So sorry.

Now you must sing Glycophosphoinositol without burping.

Don’t know how to sing much.

Don’t punch clock, no OT

Hours doing this

Um, uh, not too dumb though, no.

I’m plumb worn out; your doing

So F. . .  it

I O U nothing now  Mr. McB

tossing this off to you.


NaPoWriMo 30/30 April 16, 2018

April 15, 2018

“Tears are words that need to be written.”― Paulo Coelho

NaPoWriMo Writing Prompt for April 16, 2018



From Sam Hamill“Poetry transcends the nation-state. Poetry transcends government. It brings the traditional concept of power to its knees. I have always believed poetry to be an eternal conversation in which the ancient poets remain contemporary, a conversation inviting us into other languages and cultures even as poetry transcends language and culture, returning us again and again to primal rhythms and sounds.” ― Sam Hamill

If you haven’t heard, we lost Sam Hamill April 14th.  He was born of unknown parents in Utah in 1942 or 1943 probably September 5th.  Quite the early life but ‘poetry and Ken Rexroth saved him’.   Poet, Translator, Copper Canyon Press founder, poets against the war and much much more. Do read about him. Poetry Foundation Biography here   I was fortunate enough to have interviewed him, and hosted a few events that he was involved in.   R.I.P. Sam!    Hayden Carruth wrote: “No one — I mean no one — has done the momentous work of presenting poetry better than Sam Hamill. His editing and publishing, his criticism and translations, his own very strong and beautiful poems have been making a difference in American culture for many years.”

“I believe the poem is a sacramental act, pure devotion to whatever may be revealed only through the music of intuition. The dance of the intellect, the dance of wild imagination, illuminates what cannot otherwise be known.”Sam Hamill

NaPoWriMo – 30/30 –  Poem-a-Day prompt for April 16, 2018

Write a poem that evokes or is about Sam Hamill.

Poetry is a very large house with many rooms, closets, attics, basements, bedrooms and kitchens. For me, the practice of poetry is a way of life–as it was for many of the ancient Chinese and Japanese poets I have translated. For me, poetry is for re-reading, a world to be explored and revisited, a world that enriches the quality of one’s life.  — Sam Hamill

Keep Writing!

“I write in my notebook with the intention of stimulating good conversation, hoping that it will also be of use to some fellow traveler. But perhaps my notes are mere drunken chatter, the incoherent babbling of a dreamer. If so, read them as such.” ― Sam Hamill, The Poetry of Zen

Septolet Prompt 14  Write an informal and formal septolet.  I wrote 2 of each.

Formal syllable Septolet 1

Syria Septolet

By Christopher J. Jarmick




without long

term strategy.






Formal syllable Septolet 2

Bookstore Blue Septolet

By Christopher J. Jarmick



truly love

indie bookstores

so many great books


Wish there was

time to



Informal Word Septolet 1


In under three, Septolet

By Christopher J. Jarmick


I really

only need

three words

make that two.


Simple, direct


love you


Informal Word Septolet 2

Scribbled Septolet

By Christopher J. Jarmick


Another NaPoWriMo

Septolet scribbled quickly

to meet daily



can’t use

too many



NaPoWriMo 30/30 April 14, 2018

April 13, 2018


“I was a late bloomer. But anyone who blooms at all, ever, is very lucky. ”― Sharon Olds

NaPoWriMo Writing Prompt for April 14, 2018

“Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.” ― Pablo Picasso

Write two different types of Septolets today.  (Sep-toe-lay) 1- 14 words – 7 lines 2- 7 lines 16 syllables.


Septolet 1: Total of 14 words in 7 lines, no line should have more than three words. The poem should relate to one subject, object, thought or feeling. The first four lines create a coherent picture or thought, the last three lines create another. Each could stand separately, but both are related.


Septolet 2: Line 1 has one syllable, Line 2 has two, Line 3 has 3, Line 4 has 4 syllables, space, Line 5 has 3, Line 6 has 2, Line 7 has one syllable. Poem should relate to one thought, feeling, object, place.




Formal Syllable Septolet                                          Informal Word Septolet


One                           1 syllable                                          “This


Second                      2 syllables                                       is easy


Or perhaps               3 syllables                                 anyone can do


Four ticking bombs     4 syllables                                  it,”


   Blank space


Reminder                  3 syllables                                said


That you’re               2 syllables                                tightrope walker.


Late                              1 syllable                                 “but don’t look down!”


The example on the left side is the more formal syllable Septolet.  The one on the right is made up of 14 words. You don’t count syllables.  4 word maximum on one line.


Keep Writing!

“The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.”― Thomas Jefferson

Prompt Poem 12 –  (from Brendan’s suggestion:) Pick a scene from said movie. switch the genders of the involved characters and write a poem.

Animal Crackers  –  Groucho and Margaret Dumont have switched personalities

by Christopher J. Jarmick


I’m glad you dropped by Margaret

It’s good to see you.

What color is that garnet?



Hello Mr. Rittenhouse

I believe its scarlet



Goes with the blouse

I hope you can stay for a while.



Well Hello… hello

that makes me smile

I’ll stay the whole night through

Perhaps I’ll stay a week or two

But I must be going.



Oh no, Stay please

don’t go.



I may.

I like the way you look

I can picture you in the kitchen ,

burning the Ham,

you can’t cook,

but it’s the thought that counts.



What’s that you say?



I can picture you bent over the hot stove

I can’t see the stove anyway, but I’m thinking

what’s the plumber doing looking at the stove?



I don’t understand, your confusing me.



Easy to confuse a man.



Oh you shouldn’t say that

I’ll try to understand


You’re right.


I am.



Well it’s possible…not looking for a fight,

I was looking at your face

Wondering if it could really stop a clock

And then I realized the clock would still be right

twice a day, and I thought, that’s something nice

I could say to you.

You’re right at least twice a day!

And then I think

your rich and I sort of like

younger men



Would you holler

If I loosened my collar?

It’s suddenly a little hot in here



Please get comfortable

I’ll try not to leer.



I could get used to

Having you near.



Well I wish I could stay,

But now I must go away.

I’ll think of you every month.



Not every day?



Maybe but not unless

I stay.



You may

You know



You really don’t want

me to go?



I have been saying so



Then that settles it,

I refuse to stay

if you won’t tell me to go away.

Then I fear

I must certainly disappear.



Oh dear.

This is so sad



No tears young boy, don’t cry

I would quickly tire of you being my toy

Be glad, be happy, you amused,

I must fly,

you weren’t abused,

Time to run along,  Goodbye.


Some Groucho and Dumont scenes to enjoy here!