NPM: Playing Along

It’s been an intense week or so for me. I’ve been immersed in life stuff rather than writing stuff and that has directly impacted how much I’ve written. Ah, well. At any rate, I’m dipping my toes into the NPM water again with another response to Laura Purdie Salas’s NPM project. Today she posted her five possible topics: East, West, South, North, Compass Directions and a pool of words to work with.

Two very different poems emerged from my notebook scribbling. For both poems I took liberties by not requiring all words in the title to be in topic or in the word pool. A very short poem first:

In all directions

delirious blue sky
crushes finite

©Molly Hogan

And then a poem in which I took the license of repeating one of the word choices, though I’m not sure that’s “allowed”. I’m quickly realizing that the beauty of playing someone else’s “game” is that the rules feel more flexible! :

It’s all heading South

Go away, frantic fears–
hot mist monkeys
playing in my mind!
Go! Go! Go!

©Molly Hogan

I am totally fascinated by the idea of hot mist monkeys, but please remember, not all poems are autobiographical. 😉

National Poetry Month Begins!

Today marks the beginning of National Poetry Month. Each year I toy with the idea of participating, but I’ve always found it hard to commit after the demands of daily writing in March with the TWT Slice of Life Challenge. This year Margaret Simon and I came up with a very flexible plan for the month. We created a grid of 30 blocks and wrote a poetry form or choice in each one. I’m trying to view it not so much as a plan as a planlette. My focus is on being flexible, low stakes and fun. We used a calendar grid, but there are no dates (although I will admit, the ultimate goal is to check each box at some point during the month). Still, there’s no order and no expectation. I’m trying to think of it as a playground of possibility, not an overwhelming to-do list. You are invited to play along if you’d like. Here it is, all prettified by Margaret.

For my first choice I decided to go over to Laura Purdie Salas’s NPM project. Since I already mentioned playgrounds, this feels like a fitting place to begin. In a nutshell, Laura’s providing 5 topic choices and an array of magnetic words to work with. She’s aptly named it “Digging for Poems.” When I first read about her project, I commented, “I feel like you just opened a new playground and invited everyone in to play with you!”

Again, that’s my lens for the month. Play. Low stakes. Fun. We’ll see if I can keep that lens in place…

Here are two quick responses to Laura’s prompt for today:


Soft chick.


behind cover of smoke
soft pink glow
break on through

Wishing you a month filled with noticing and wondering about the poetry hidden in your everyday moments. As Naomi Shahib Nye writes so eloquently in “A Valentine for Ernest Mann”,

“So I’ll tell a secret instead:
poems hide. In the bottoms of our shoes,
they are sleeping. They are the shadows
drifting across our ceilings the moment 
before we wake up. What we have to do
is live in a way that lets us find them.”

PF: To Prepare for Winter…

downloadIt’s that time of the year when finding time for writing is harder than ever. The demands of school leak into other parts of the day, and my reserved writing time can easily slip slide away before I even notice. These days I am especially grateful when a prompt or challenge sparks a response. I wrote this one to Laura Purdie Salas’s prompt for her “Snack, Snooze, Skedaddle!” give-away. I didn’t win the give-away, but having written something was a welcome consolation prize. 🙂

To prepare for winter…

I snap some photos
of blazing maples,
then sweep the leaves
from my mind,
wipe away dew-laden webs,
prepare to focus on lacy frost,
misty clouds of breath,
the glory of the first

©Molly Hogan, 2019

The Poetry Friday Roundup this week is hosted by the ever-gracious Linda B. at her blog, Teacher Dance. She’s revealing the cover of a new book by Irene Latham and Charles Waters that will be coming out in February. Take a peek! It looks wonderful!