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December 4, 2009

Poetry Friday--Challenges

Being a lazy writer, I need challenges to get me going, so, almost every Thursday I submit a poem in Laura Purdie Salas's "15 Words or Less" challenge. Often, I partake in the Miss Rumphius Effect "Monday Poetry Stretch." David Harrison recently started a "Word of the Month Poem" challenge and contest. I participated the first 2 months and plan on writing something soon using this month's word, "bone."

I found another challenge the other day. It's from the British newspaper, The Guardian, Book Blog. The challenge is called "Poster Poems," and as best as I can tell, the name comes from the idea that people will post poems in the comments section, thus, they are poster poems. I looked in the archives and found that Poster Poems started back in March of 2008 and for the first year it was a weekly challenge, now it appears once-a-month.

This month's Poster Poem challenge is to produce an englyn. An englyn is an old Welsh poetic form, you can read about it here.

The englyn challenge is a tough one. Even the simplest form--three lines, each with 7 syllables and ending with the same rhyme--had me discombobulated. My pathetic first attempt:

Poetic ruination--
complete mortification--
leads to inebriation.
I tried again, but this time I strung a bunch of englynion together. And although there are no rules about it, I tried my best to make it scan within the parameters:


Summer's coming and the crows
comment while the farmer sows--
sows and hoes and weeds and hoes...

Summer passes, crows still wait,
patiently anticipate
ways to tease and aggravate.

Now it's time! The ripened corn
suddenly becomes airborne!
Crows ignoring scarecrow's scorn.

Farmer acts the lunatic
trying ev'ry dirty trick.
Vengeful thoughts are really sick!

Fields and corn he can't defend.
Farmer's now around the bend.
Crows, of course, win in the end.
Give it a try and leave an englyn in the comments below. If you're feeling really brave, post it as a Poster Poem on The Guardian's Book Blog.

Visit Elaine at the Wild Rose Reader for this week's Poetry Friday Round-Up.

©Poems by Diane Mayr, all rights reserved


  1. I often try these prompts, but I found this one unbelievably hard. I like your second attempt very much. You may just have inspired me to keep at this one. Thanks!

  2. Great job, Diane. Loved Farmer vs. Crow!

  3. Cinderella dances fine
    waltzing down the disney line
    backstage writers make her shine.

    This is fun! Thanks for the links.

  4. Wow, D! Love the farmer v crow.

    And, Andromeda -- fun!


  5. Thanks for stopping by everyone!

    I'd love to see what you come up with Tricia--I know you'll keep at it!

    Andromeda, you make it look so easy! A splendid englyn!

  6. FABULOUS! I had a similar war with chipmunks this summer! But I won!!!