Friday, April 29, 2011

April Challenge Winner

It is never easy to select the monthly winner. The poem selected this month is a very short, evocative poem one. The poet chose the first of the options listed for this month - a poem about a spring bulb flower.


A palm-folded tulip am I

under the moonlight on my knees,

quietly and sweetly facing afar,

praying for a secret dream.

~ Kongyin

Copyright of the poem is retained by the poet.

Kongyin's books, Gooby and the Dream-Walker and Sun Grass (both in English) have just been published by Kima Global in South Africa, and are sold on Her bilingual poetry collection, The Lantern Carrier, will be published this month by a Chinese press in USA.

Consulting judge this month was Caroline Johnson, Workshop Chair of Poets and Patrons of Chicago.

The next poetry challenge will be posted on May 1.

© Wilda Morris

Friday, April 1, 2011

April Poetry Challenge

For those of us in the US Midwest (as well as most people at approximately the same degrees of latitude around the globe), April is the month when spring makes itself manifest.

I know I’m not the only person who eagerly awaits the appearance of the crocus and other early bulbs (which sometimes bloom in late March here in the Chicago area). Then we look forward to tulips and other bulbs. My very favorite spring flower is the daffodil, which is one reason I have always loved this poem by William Wordsworth.

The Daffodils

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the Milky Way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced, but they
Out-did the sparkling leaves in glee:
A Poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

~ William Wordsworth

Any poem can be used as a prompt for more poems. In fact, the trouble with poetry, as former poet laureate Billy Collins, wrote “is that it encourages the writing of more poetry.” (

You can read a poem like that of Wordsworth and say to yourself, “Maybe I should write a poem about daffodils.” But this poem could also send you in other directions.

Exercise: Use this poem as your inspiration. You have several options:
1- The most obvious, is to write about daffodils or other spring bulb flowers.
2- Write about something you have come upon unexpectedly, and the effect it had on you.
3- In the last stanza, Wordsworth says that often he sees the daffodils with his “inward eye.” What have you seen that reappears to your “inward eye?”
4- Write about something else that is bound to gladden the heart of a poet.
5- Borrow a line from this poem and use the borrowed line in your poem – but make your poem original, not just a paraphrase of Wordsworth’s.
6- Use this poem as a structural model. Write at least three stanzas in which you have a rhymed and metered quatrain followed by a rhymed and metered couplet. Use Wordsworth’s meter.

Or perhaps Wordsworth’s poem inspires you in a different way. If so, submit your poem and explain it’s connection with the prompt poem.

Your poem can be rhymed and metered, as is “The Daffodils.” It could be as formal as a sonnet. Or, if you prefer, it could be well-crafted free verse. Submit your poem by April 15.

Poems published in books or on the Internet (including Facebook and other on-line social networks) are not eligible. If your poem has been published in a periodical, please include publication data.

How to Submit Your Poem:

Send your poem to wildamorris [at] ameritech [dot] net (substitute the @ sign for “at” and a . for [dot], and don’t leave any spaces). Be sure include your name and e-mail address. Submission of a poem gives permission for the poem to be posted on the blog, if it is a winner. The deadline is April 15. Copyright on poems is retained by their authors.

National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month in the US. I hope that, wherever you live, you will immerse yourself in poetry this month. If you would like to receive one, two or three poems a day, sign up with and/or and/or The American Academy of Poets at

Knopf only sends poems out this way during National Poetry Month. Your Daily Poem gives you the option of receiving a poem every day, every Monday or once a month for as long as you wish. You can unsubscribe at any time. The Academy of American Poets will leave you on their list as long as you wish. They have April-only subscribers and year-round subscribers. None charges for this service, though The Academy of American Poets and Your Daily Poem happily accept on-line contributions. The Academy website has many other resources you may wish to explore.

© 2011 Wilda Morris