The Theme behind November PAD


Image credit: Rebecca Barray

For today’s post I decided to tackle the November Poem-A-Day Chapbook challenge and focus on its prompts. Some time into the challenge in 2010, Robert asked whether or not we have found any particular theme behind it. Then I managed to identify a theme for myself and formed my chapbook around it. Of course, I didn’t follow that theme throughout all my poems. Not only does it need a lot of pre-planning, which I am completely incapable of, but that also means very severe sticking to the theme, another incapability of mine.

In 2010, the theme I saw unfolding behind Robert’s prompts was the cycle of a love affair – starting with opening the new page, all the way to lessons learned.

In 2011 I participated in the challenge again. I do that alongside NaNoWriMo as a way of pumping my creative enthusiasm. My busy daily routine then, however, didn’t allow me the time to sit down and consider whether or not there was a theme behind the prompts. Moreover, I skipped several and that only added up to my frustration.

However, here I am, participating in NovPAD again. A fellow-poet, Maxie Steer, put that theme question across, so I started thinking. This time Robert doesn’t offer the prompts himself, so we can’t suppose he has a hidden theme for the chapbook. This time he picks prompts from participants’ suggestions. The challenge started with my own Matches prompt (which was a great honour). Here is the list, so far:

  • Matches
  • Full Moon
  • Scary
  • Just Beneath…
  • Texting
  • Right /Left
  • Circle
  • Talk Back to a Dead Poet
  • When He’s Gone
  • Foreign Word/Phrase
  • Veteran Poem
  • Non-existing Device (that should exist)
  • Letter/Recipe
  • Stuck
  • Tradeoff
  • Last line becomes First: Thrilled
  • Wheel
  • Glossa-form
  • Gathering/Letting go
  • Song Title: On a Lonely Island
  • Paradise
  • Deep

I started by a love poem, then I wrote a life-asserting poem, some vague scary stuff, a self-irony poem, a love lost poem in the unsuccessful form of a text message, a pun poem and then the Circle prompt came by and I wrote a poem of my Daddy. After that, and after talking to Maxie, I started thinking that perhaps this chapbook may focus on my daddy and my relation with him. I have many poems written about him, but several more won’t hurt. After that the When He’s Gone prompt hit it again. In between, however, I still wrote either love or nature-inspired poems. What can I say? Sometimes I just want to write that, depending on the prompt!

I must state it honestly that I am a bit behind on the prompts and I have been thinking about what to write, or, more precisely, how to write it. I have just vague ideas and feel I am too slow. Luckily, this post is not about NaNoWriMo, because I have had a complete crash over there 🙂


What is your incline with the PAD prompts this year?

Author: soul mary

Writer, poet and reader

10 thoughts on “The Theme behind November PAD”

  1. Hi Mariya:

    You mentioned you needed to plan some things before writing. That is a different approach to writing than I am accustomed to. Would you mind explaining what you mean by that? Also, why do you feel you are behind in your writing challenges? Have you set goals for yourself?

    1. hey Amanda, good questions 🙂
      First of all, I am “behind” because I am used to writing my PAD poems daily and now I have stopped at Day 19. For me, the meaning of Poem-A-Day is exactly that – write at least one poem every day, following the prompt. But I have been so busy and tired recently, that I simply missed the prompts as they came out at the end of my working day, and on the next day, at work, I could simply see them and make a note to follow them. Sadly, so far I have only outlined some ideas for the missing poems.

      Regarding the plans, that is a strange thing for me, too. I usually sit and jot down the poem, as it comes. I never plan it. Right now, as I am a bit behind, one night I woke and started thinking of those poems and was too lazy to get up and start writing, so I just memorised my ideas 🙂 Not very helpful, as I haven’t written the poems, yet.

      I have so much to do that I leave some things to take care of themselves. I still spend time on the social networks, you see 🙂 As you know, that takes time. I should sit down and write my 4 poems instead of that 🙂 After all, new prompts are released every day, so very soon I’ll be hopelessly behind.

      Thanks again for reading this, Amanda and wishing you the best!

  2. Hi, Mariya!

    How has the daily prompt / NaNoWriMo timing impacted your writing style? As you said, you can’t really wait for inspiration, just gotta get words down. Has it upset your creativity? Or just challenged you to write differently?

    I’m doing a decent job at NaNo but I wouldn’t even consider PAD. Not a poet. Glad to see you, read you, know you.


    1. Hey Kasie,

      uhm the daily poetry prompts for a month really do wonders to me. So does the NaNoWriMo timing. If I didn’t have them, I’d probably not write that often (in the case of poetry) or that much (in the case of novel-writing). The prompts and the deadlines help me a lot. I am not doing well on this year’s Nano, because originally I didn’t plan to sign up. I only did so, because I had an academic paper to write and I hoped that maybe the deadlines and the general “commotion” of NaNo would push me to progress with it. Yet, my paper is not due before April, or something, and I still have a lot of other academic assignments to complete, so… you see, this NaNoRebelling has been a failure. I had definite progress, of course. At least now I have a plan, I selected the papers and sources I’d use for reference and started the writing itself.

      Apart from this year’s experience, and to your question regarding my creativity – No, it hasn’t upset it.

      Glad to hear you are doing well at NaNo 🙂 All the best of inspiration and luck in finishing on time.

  3. I’ve done 4 of these PAD challenges, and I’ve never been able to fix a theme to one. Well done to you for managing it! The poems that your wrote to your father are beautiful, and a chapbook in his honour is a very worthwhile goal. xx

    ~ Misky

    1. Thank you, Misky 🙂
      In fact, I have never had it as a purpose to “make” a chapbook and focus it around a topic. So, this is quite new for me, as well. Thank you for liking the poems to my father. I’m glad I manage to move readers and convey what I feel. Sometimes I worry that my poems are not good enough, of course.

      Thanks again!

  4. What a great post! I’m still writing poems every day and I haven’t got any idea of any themes, because like you say, the different prompts from different poets don’t make the PAD challenge especially chapbook focussed.
    Anyway, do remember that you only need 20 poems.
    And it’s so irritating that I can hardly post anything on Poetic Asides so what could have been a wonderful community wasn’t. I’m so sorry that we couldn’t have supported each other in a better way.
    Still, you already wrote so many great poems. So, yes, I can’t wait to see your collection.

    1. Andrea, thank you for this comment. You are so right about the PA website – commenting there is a nightmare that I try to evade. And, of course, I miss my chance to post comments the way they come to my head. Sometimes an idea comes to me, or a small joke, or a simple: “go, go…” but the neferious glitch over there takes the edge away. Of course, I can go to the person’s blog and comment, but the feeling is already different, because the sense of community is not there. On blogs, I feel, I can make only relevant comments, while in the Poetic Asides thread it’s more informal and immediate 🙂

      Thank you for liking my poems, I really appreciate that.
      Best, M.

  5. I am delighted that a theme has emerged for you – and now my dear poetic friend – I find that I have a few days catching up to do – let’s catch up together. See you over at Poeming Friends and let’s cross the finish line together. You are enormously gifted – you have your theme (which I think is wonderful and of course touches this “daughter’s heart” as well) … let us both get going…. As far as commenting… one of the rationales for the Poeming Friends page was to comment on each other’s poetry (absolutely not as much fun as commenting over at Poetic Asides!!! especially the “original” Poetic Asides where we commented on each others ‘willy-nilly’ but in so doing found that if we were looking for a response to a poem of ours (let’s be frank who doesn’t?) we wound up reading through others, commenting, and building the community we now all enjoy. At any rate – enough procrastination – need to catch up a bit – Goodnight 🙂

  6. Hey Pearl, thank you for visiting! I am so glad we have the Poeming Friends at FB. That is really a comfort 🙂 It keeps the sense of community and brings us together.
    OK, just as you say – enough procrastination and let’s go to… well, whatever there is in schedule for today 🙂

Comments are closed.