What is Oct[poem]ber: Back in 2019, I grew envious of artists and fiction writers because they got to enjoy monthly challenges like Inktober and NANOWRIMO. So, I decided to create a monthly writing challenge for poets and thus, Oct[poem]ber was born. Throughout the month of October each year, I challenge myself to write one poem per day not only for the fun of it, but to also expand on my content and improve my craft.
How to Participate: Open up a word document or notebook and just start writing! To make it easier for participants, I’ve designed 2 tracks for completing Oct[poem]ber. The first track provides you a daily prompt to follow. The second track is self-guided and expects you to write a poem per day without the assist of prompts. Some writers benefit from having guidelines, whereas others benefit from not having any! So, there’s a track for both schools of thought!
Track #1: Daily Prompts
October 1, 2022 – Nature
Sit outside someplace quiet and using your five senses, write a poem about what you see.
October 2, 2022 – Hustle and Bustle
Visit a public space and using your five senses, write a poem about what you observe.
October 3, 2022 – Color
Write a poem about your favorite color.
October 4, 2022 – Bauble
Research a gemstone or jewel (or observe one you own) and write a poem about its qualities.
October 5, 2022 – Artistic Ekphrasis
Find a piece of art and write a poem about it. Allow your poem to engage in conversation with the art piece, expand on what the art piece is already saying, or change the meaning you think the art piece conveys. (Example: “Ode on a Grecian Urn” by Keats)
October 6, 2022 – Musical Ekphrasis
Listen to your favorite song and write a poem about how it impacts you.
October 7, 2022 – Poetic Letters
Write a poem to a person who’s no longer in your life.
October 8, 2022 – Socio-Political Reflection
Pick an issue or event happening in the world currently and write a poem about how it makes you feel.
October 9, 2022 – Future-Self
Write a poem to your future self about one thing you’d like to learn by the time you reach that point in your life.
October 10, 2022 – Sonnet
Write a sonnet (follow link for sonnet structure directions). (Example: Shakespearean Sonnet)
October 11, 2022 – Nature vs. Industry
Write a poem juxtaposing nature vs. industry imagery.
October 12, 2022 – Past-Self
Write a poem to your past-self with about how far you’ve come or what you’ve learned from your experiences.
October 13, 2022 – Pantoum
Write a pantoum poem (follow link for pantoum structure directions). (Example: Insert)
October 14, 2022 – Alternate Reality
Imagine yourself thriving in an alternate reality and write a poem about what your life would be like in that universe.
October 15, 2022 – Cosmic
Write a poem about something in space or using space-related imagery.
October 16, 2022 – Tumult
Write a poem about a natural disaster (that’s happened) or a poem using natural disaster imagery.
October 17, 2022 – Fictional Fugue
Create a fictional character whose identity has been lost and write a poem about their journey toward self-discovery.
October 18, 2022 – Sisyphean Synergy
Write a poem about a characteristic, aspiration, or struggle you have that’s always been difficult for you to resolve or reach.
October 19, 2022 – Forest Floor
Write a poem about something you might find on the forest floor or something that lives on a forest floor.
October 20, 2022 – Sublime
Think about a feature in nature that fills you with curiosity and fear, then write a poem about your reactions if you were to be in the presence of such feature.
October 21, 2022 – Second Chances
Write a poem about a moment from your past you’d like to change.
October 22, 2022 – Cyberspace
Write a poem about what you think it’d be like to exist in cyberspace or a cyberpunk world.
October 23, 2022 – Haiku
Write a haiku about nature. (These are 3-line poems with 5-7-5 syllable line lengths).
October 24, 2022 – Format Experimentation
Write a poem that experiments with format. Change the line spacing / alignment, blot out words, place in bracketed or parenthetical statements.
October 25, 2022 – Tanka
Write a tanka about life and death. (These are 5-line poems with 5-7-5-7-7 syllable line lengths).
October 26, 2022 – Heroism
Write a poem about a time you felt like a hero in your life.
October 27, 2022 – Villainy
Write a poem about a time you felt like a villain in your life.
October 28, 2022 – Dystopia
Write a poem about a dystopian world, a poem that includes dystopian imagery, or a poem about any dystopian qualities you see taking place in our world.
October 29, 2022 – Time Travel
Pretend you’re traveling in time. Write a poem where you observe the happenings in another time (past or future, though not in your span of living).
October 30, 2022 – Erasure Poetry
Research, then copy and paste an article into a word document, then use the strikethrough (or dark high-lighting feature) to blot out the words until the remaining words create a poem.
October 31, 2022 – Horror
Using grotesque imagery, write a poem about something that induces fear.
Track #2: Independent / Self-Guided
Recommendations & Helpful Hints
- Select whichever writing medium you are most comfortable with: electronic or handwritten.
- Do your best to set aside designated time every day to write – create a routine!
- If you fall behind, you can always catch up!
- Sharing your poems across social media is not required but encouraged. The world deserves to see your work!
When writing about personal topics, always consider your own well-being above all else. Regardless what prompt you follow or self-guided poem you write, only write about what you’re comfortable writing about. If you need to skip a daily prompt, feel free to do a self-guided/independent poem on that respective day.
If you share your poems across social media, please use the hashtag: #octpoember.