Join me for the Weekly Parenting Poetry Workshop in April!

Weekly Parenting Poetry Workshop

April is National Poetry Month (for the purposes of this challenge, let's just call it "Global Poetry Month," ok?), and I want to celebrate poems and parenting in one beautiful span of five poetry-drenched weeks.

Come along with me on this challenge with one simple mission in mind:
Write some parenting poetry.

That's it. It doesn't have to be amazing (though you'll find that a lot of it is!). You just have to write, and then share — inspire, and be inspired.

The minimal goal is to write at least one poem a week on the overarching theme for that week, which I'll post on Mondays.

You can use the optional daily prompts to inspire more specific poems or to write more frequently in case you're in the mood.

On Fridays, I'll host a linky for participants to share their poem(s) of the week. (Each linky will stay open for the entire challenge, so you can add to it later if you haven't posted your poems by then.) If you don't have your own blog, you can post your poem directly into the comments.

We'll comment on each other's poems throughout the challenge and embrace the creativity of the group.

At the end of the challenge, there will be some prizes and sweet celebration — as well as the knowledge that you have at least five more parenting poems in your portfolio!

FAQ & rules, rules, rules

Do I have to be a parent to participate? Do all my poems have to be parenting-centric?
I welcome anyone who wants to write more poetry this month to participate! That said, this challenge will emphasize the parenting perspective. If you're not a parent (or not one yet), you can still write along in whatever fashion you see fit. Even if you are a parent, not every poem has to reflect a parenting bent. However, prizes will be awarded to qualified participants who showed a parenting slant in at least 80% (give or take) of the poems shared. That's because I want to celebrate the highs and lows, the joys and challenges, of parenting — along with poetry — in this challenge.

There is a much more open-ended Poem-a-Day Challenge hosted every April by Robert Lee Brewer at Poetic Asides, a fine challenge and the inspiration for mine. Regardless of whether you feel like you fit in here, I encourage you to check that one out.

Talk prizes! Who wins, and what do we win?
I will award an autographed hard copy of my book, Poetry of a Hobo Mama, to the following poetic inspirations:

  • Anyone who writes and shares a poem a day for the entire challenge! The 35 poems must be based on the daily prompts, and you have to post your works at least weekly (on your own blog and in the linky, or in the comments on mine).
  • A poet laureate whose poem(s) inspire and touch me
  • A lucky ducky drawn at random from everyone who posts weekly based on any of that week's prompts for all 5 weeks

And there might be other surprises! We'll just have to see.

Do I have to write based on the themes? What about the daily topics?
Each week will have an overarching theme, based on the sections in Poetry of a Hobo Mama, which are in turn based on the stages in my parenting journey so far:

As you can see, the themes are quite broad, so it should be possible for everyone to think of a topic to write about that fits under those umbrellas.

Each Monday starting on April 1, I'll also post seven prompts for the week. The prompts will fit the theme of that week. The daily prompts can be used (or not) in different ways: If you want to write a lot of poems during the challenge, use them to inspire you to write a different poem each day (or on many days). If you want to focus on just one poem a week, which will perhaps lend you some time for reflections and revisions, you can use the prompts to give you more specific ideas of the theme's direction. However, you're not required to use the daily prompts if you're writing only one poem (or a few) per week. It's up to you to use the daily prompts in whatever way is helpful.

If you're inspired to write a poem that fits none of the themes or prompts, follow that muse! Just be aware that the only people eligible to win are participants who post poems that fit the themes or prompts. (But writing a poem can be a prize in itself, right?)

I'll post the prompts and linky on both Hobo Mama and LaurenWayne.com, but you can add your poems to either. The linky will auto-update on both.

Do the poems have to be perfect?
Not at all! You can start revising in May. Go ahead and get out some drafts. You can always discard the rejects at the end of the month, but you'll likely find nuggets of gold to hang onto and polish. Remember: You can't edit what you haven't written!

Do the poems have to be new?
That's the idea. This is the honor system, obviously! We'll all be sharing our newly hatched poems as they are in process, and in draft form.

Do I have to be a poet?
Of course not! Even if you don't self-identify with being a poet or writer, even if poetry's completely new to you, I invite you to come along and use this as a journaling experiment. Writing a poem can be such a freeing and artistic way to process your thoughts and feelings, and you might find you have a new skill to love!

Along the same lines, there's no limit to what form or style of poetry you write. Go wild!

How do I post my poetry?
If you have a blog, you can choose how you want to share your poems. You could do a weekly wrap-up post with that week's poem(s), or you could post each one you write as you go. Be sure to link up any and all posts in the linky for that week on either of my blogs, Hobo Mama or LaurenWayne.com.

If you don't have a blog or if you don't want to post your poems there, just post the entire text of each poem into the comments on my weekly linky post on either blog. To make it easier for everyone to read, use a separate comment for each poem.

Do I have to post my poems? What about copyright or publishing concerns?
You don't have to do anything… But anyone who wants to win one of the prizes must post the poems on a blog or in the comments (and link up if it's on a blog).

Your copyright is confirmed, so no one is legally allowed to lift your poems without your permission. If you're planning to submit these exact poems to a magazine or book for professional publication, some publishers might have concerns with poems having been previously published; you'll have to work through whether it's worth that downside for you.

What about community?
I'm glad you asked! I want this challenge to be inspiring for all of us and give us all a chance to enjoy each other's poems. Every week, I'll ask you to comment on the person above you in the linky or comments as well as one other random poet of your choosing. I encourage you to offer positive critiques of each other's poems (critique meaning compliments as well as helpful and constructive ideas for improvement if applicable). Let's keep it all kind and enjoy reading each other's works-in-progress.

I'd also love to see us sharing each other's poems on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter (#parentingpoetry). Everyone could use a little dose of poetry in their lives, so let's spread the joy around!

Grab a button!
If you want some blog bling, take your pick.

I can't wait to see what poetry we all create!


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