A Starting Point, A Pathway

We’re just a few days away from the December 2018 session of the 21 Day Poetry Challenge, an end of year ritual that results in many poems, passages and poetic fragments being written.

I create new writing prompts for each round of this generative course, and have been doing so quarterly for the last five years, so I’ve learned a thing or two about what sparks the creative responses in the Challenge participants.

As a starting point, we read a poem that I’ve selected based on a few criteria, including my sense that it belongs to the season we’re entering. In the last two years I’ve also begun to work with a loose theme, and this time we’re thinking about the INTERIOR. Interiority. Inner worlds. Inner life. Inside. Into. Within. The heart of the country. You get the idea.

I also choose poems based on my sense that they offer a starting point or pathway. A template, even. And then I show you what I see and suggest a way (or several) to begin.

As we read, we allow the words of other poets to rearrange our inner atmosphere a little bit. Here are some of the poets we’ll encounter in December:


Sejal Shah

Wislawa Szymborska

Diane Seuss

Rachel Zucker

Linda Gregg

Suzanne Buffam

Lorine Niedecker

Yona Harvey

Cynthia Huntington

Kathy Engel

Robyn Sarah

Nicole Sealey

Ursula K. Le Guin

Julia Hartwig

Matthew Olzmann

Oliver Bendorf

Raymond Carver

Abdul Ali

Ed Bok Lee

Chen Chen

John Freeman

Ilya Kaminsky

Stephan Burt


If you’d like to join us, registration is open until November 30. You can participate from anywhere in the world, as long as you have daily access to email.



poetry matters. join the conversation.

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poetry matters. join the conversation.

join my community