Prompt Poetics

There are online websites and apps I’ve noticed which acknowledge April as National Poetry Month 2024. The app on my phone (which I use quite often) displayed an announcement promoting their support. When I opened the app this morning, I noticed they’ve sponsored a poetry challenge to celebrate National Poetry Month.

The challenge looks interesting, specifying only two rules which may be fun, but stringent. If you’re someone who enjoys making up new words, this challenge might get your 2-5 line poem published to their challenge webpage! Looks like an excellent way to awaken oneself to a new experimental format. / Poetry Challenge

When a writer creates a poem, the process varies … depending on the unique nature of any particular poem. There are websites which offer writing prompts to help ignite the thought process of anxious writers going through a dry spell. Normally, I don’t find the writing prompts necessary for myself. I keep a sufficient backlog of works-in-process (WIP) which I sift through (on an almost daily basis).

A week ago, I posted one of my sonnets with the back story of how an ages-old Keats sonnet had inspired me. (I guess you might have called that a prompt.) For me, reading poetry often provides ideas, but I can also become overwhelmed by too many new ideas!

Thinking about my own creative process, the lyrics of an ancient hymn once came to mind. I remembered singing this hymn in church as a child. The song is “When Morning Gilds the Skies,” which (according to my AI-generated search) comes from an old (1773) German hymn, “Beim fruhen Morgenlicht.” Though I don’t read German, the English and German titles are roughly equivalent. (Who am I to doubt the truth of my AI-generated source, right?)

Old hymnbooks can be rich resources for writers seeking inspiration. A look at the English lyrics of this song shows an emphasis of the author’s repeated focus:  May Jesus Christ be praised! Through five verses, this one sentence is sung again and again. It is, in my view, a wonderful reminder to me, as well as a helpful prompt for me many months ago as I composed the Englark sonnet below.

Gilded Skies, an Englark sonnet


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