WIN! Enter Today! The Random Word CONTEST!

National Poetry Month is very special at YARN, and it would not be complete without a little friendly literary competition that encourages you to write, write, write!

YARN’s Random Word Challenge (RWC) is inspired by a poetry project John Corey Whaley and Randi Anderson shared with us back in 2012 in which they provided one another with words that needed to be used in a poem. You can read their results, and see for yourself what a uniquely inspirational and yet easy to accomplish project it was.

His new book, hot off the presses! Have you ordered it yet?

His new book, hot off the presses! Have you ordered it yet?

And now, YARN wants to challenge you! And none other than John Corey Whaley is going to JUDGE!

Your words and poetry will come from four poems written by four wonderful poets we featured during last year’s National Poetry Month.

Here are the rules and guidelines:

  1. Pick one of the following poems for each poem you write and choose ten words excluding articles like “the” and conjunctions like “and” to appear in your poem/s. (All the words must appear so choose carefully.) Please note which poem you pick in your submission and highlight in bold the words you chose or list them after your poem/s.  Choose from:  old photo albums by Mo Fowler; Perfect You by Nisha Sharma; I Could Drown You by Cameron MacDonald; the white witch’s heart by Shirley Kuo
  2.  Share your poem/s on our Facebook wall, @ us on Twitter with a link to your submission, or post your poem on Tumblr by @ing our page in your submission, or post your poem/s in the Comments section below. All entries must be tagged #NPMRWC14, and be sure to include your name and contact info!!!
  3. Your poem/s can be videos, photography – from handwritten to magnetic poetry – GIFS, typography, and so much more. The creative frontier is endless, so blow us away. Each participant can submit up to three poems.
  4.  Submissions will be open from April 1st and will close on April 20th 5pm EST.
  5. We will compile all the entries and have our guest judge, the mastermind himself, John Corey Whaley – author of the Printz and Morris award-winning novel “Where Things Come Back” and the forthcoming  “Noggin” out April 8 – choose a winner.
  6. The winner will receive an editors’ bundle composed of our Fiction Editor Diana Renn’s upcoming YA mystery “Latitude Zero,” our Editor Kerri Majors’s writing memoir “This Is Not a Writing Manual,” and John Corey Whaley’s “Noggin“! Plus s/he’ll be given the opportunity to have MORE of his/her fiction/nonfiction/poetry published on YARN!

So there you have it. You know you want it.

Now, go forth and remember e.e. cummings’s words: “Well, write poetry, for God’s sake, it’s the only thing that matters.” 

IMage courtesy of MinimalistPhotography101.com (flickr.com)

IMage courtesy of MinimalistPhotography101.com (flickr.com)

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  1. […] my literary journal YARN is hosting this super cool contest during National Poetry Month.  In brief: Pick 10 words from one of four poems we published last year during NPM, and write your […]

  2. Rachel says:

    Mayonnaise, olive oil, beer, pickle juice
    Become a veritable feast for our hair,
    Chapped by the afternoon heat.

    An unacknowledged preview
    Of the future wrinkles.
    Etchings of our sun worshipping past
    We would bemoan in ten, twenty, thirty years.

    In the uniform of terra cotta soldiers –
    (And the same shade of earthy brown) –
    We sunbathe in the garden

    Head tipped back in the basement bathroom,
    Washing the mixture into the drain,
    It shimmies through the pipes below the house.

    And standing guard by the leaky pipe,
    The dog will lap up the diluted solution
    Wag his way upstairs
    And assault us with kisses.

  3. Rachel says:

    Words from “I Could Drown You” (http://yareview.net/2013/04/i-could-drown-you/): pickle, chapped, afternoon, wrinkles, garden, basement, bathroom,drain, pipes, leaky

    Ambrosio for Dry Hair
    Mayonnaise, olive oil, beer, pickle juice
    Become a veritable feast for our hair,
    Chapped by the afternoon heat.

    An unacknowledged preview
    Of the future wrinkles.
    Etchings of our sun worshipping past
    We would bemoan in ten, twenty, thirty years.

    In the uniform of terra cotta soldiers –
    (And the same shade of earthy brown) –
    We sunbathe in the garden

    Head tipped back in the basement bathroom,
    Washing the mixture into the drain,
    It shimmies through the pipes below the house.

    And standing guard by the leaky pipe,
    The dog will lap up the diluted solution
    Wag his way upstairs
    And assault us with kisses.

  4. H.H. says:

    words taken from “I Could Drown You”
    dribbling, lost, stories, wrinkles, yawning,
    cracks, midnight, teeth, glass, words.

    “somniloquy”

    stars dribbling lost stories
    across superstitious skies—
    we study the wrinkles
    in yawning constellations.
    c r a c k s in our life where secrets
    are smoked into midnight air—
    our innocent teeth ache
    as we silently taste
    these glass words.

  5. Janelle says:

    Words from Old Photo Album:
    graveyards, ribbons, tongues, god, avoid, searching, horrible, hate, pain, end

    Daughter, I Miss You

    I visit the graveyards in my heart
    miles of unused ribbons, clothes that never fit
    and birthday candles
    never lit
    Never blown out.
    Tongues of shoes crack, brittle from the start.
    Mary Jane’s and ballet slippers and spit shined penny loafers
    sparkling in the dark recess of my heart.
    God will avoid me now because I am searching
    for answers that explain the horrible hitch in my breath,
    the swelling in my brain, the leaking behind my eyes
    that spreads
    with the decaying stench of hate.
    I clutch my chest as I drop down
    the electric currents of pain shooting up my knees
    Waiting, praying, begging
    Please
    Let me come to the same end
    so I may see her once again.

  6. Janelle says:

    Words from I Could Drown You:
    drown, dribbling, rainwater, underneath, wormy, pantry, brass, salt, leaky, drain

    Meditation
    Close your Eyes
    Count to ten
    Drown in the forgotten memories
    dribbling past your outstretched fingertips
    like the trickle of rainwater against a fogged up
    pane of glass.
    Underneath the layers of self-loathing and shame
    are the wormy contents of your dying heart
    Locked on the topmost shelf of an unused pantry
    the brass key rusty and forgotten in a drawer full of
    old batteries, used twist ties, and spilt salt.
    Focus on the cadence of your breath
    In
    and Out
    like the rhythm of the consistent drips
    of a leaky faucet
    swirling down the drain of life.

  7. Janelle says:

    Words from Perfect You:
    wish, walk, belly, dark, tight, indenting, skin, swollen, eyes, perfect

    American

    I wish you weren’t Czech or Chechnyan or
    Irish with your drunken walk
    that slams your beer-bloated belly
    into the dark corner of the bed
    that is waiting
    Empty
    for you every night.

    I wish you weren’t Australian
    Holding that damn koala so tight,
    Indenting the palms of your hands
    with fingertips
    that glide over my cold and lonely skin
    Your nostrils swollen from the stink of the rancid koala.

    I wish you weren’t German or Canadian or Japanese
    Your misshaped eyes downcast with a love
    too strong to share.
    Almost perfect
    if you were only American.

  8. H.H. says:

    words taken from “old photo albums”
    sadness, scribbled, graveyards, memories,
    photographs, pain, pen, tongues, ribbons, bubblegum

    “dead tattooed trees”

    our sadness is scribbled
    across our palms,
    we take turns
    reading the future.
    lines like minefields
    and graveyards–
    memories buried
    in war-torn skin.

    we burn timeworn
    photographs–
    fresh ash coating the air,
    our breath a blank page.
    we dig out the pain
    with a pen.

    our tongues
    are ribbons–
    wrapped around
    bubblegum words.
    we chomp and chew
    our thoughts until
    poetry pops
    into an endless mess.

  9. Darla says:

    Words taken from: the white witch’s heart by Shirley Kuo
    pale, listen, restless, empty, moon, touch, stars, dance, circles, know

    Her face has become
    A pale and restless moon
    That listens to the gossip of stars
    As their empty chatter
    Drones glitter on the evening

    Absentmindedly she circles me
    Edgeless, hard and yet yielding
    I wish there was a way to let her know
    None other would compare
    We are locked in this endless dance
    We will never touch

    She cannot see
    While I am a slave to the sun
    It is only her I look upon for comfort

  10. Crystal says:

    “Combatant”

    I’ve knelt in baser conditions,
    thigh-deep in wormy garbage piles,
    scouring under faucet rain.
    Still, desert salt invades
    my boots,
    my teeth.
    Chapped skin and trigger finger,
    the days are scored on
    my calendar, scarred deep into paper.
    Monday, Sunday, Wednesday, Friday,
    all the same and all are hot,
    sweltering under the vindictive sun.
    My mirage comes in the form of
    a glass of water.
    Gourmet dinner.
    Bouquet of peonies.
    I tell myself,
    I’ve knelt in baser conditions.
    I’ve knelt in baser conditions.

    Words taken from Cameron MacDonald’s “I Could Drown You”: Peonies, wormy, soils, creaky, faucet, chapped, salt, teeth, Sunday, glass

  11. Crystal says:

    “She Has Her Whole Life Ahead of Her”

    The carpet is circles and stars
    and I can’t stop staring at
    patterns woven into the fibers.
    Restless music plays low,
    background noise wrapping
    around the mundane dance of
    nurses and doctors and receptionists.

    Across from me,
    a ghostly girl,
    spine curving under the weight of
    a growing belly.
    Microscopic heart and brain,
    foot and fist.

    The antiseptic smell follows me
    to the bowels of the small office building.

    There’s touch and feel and numbness.
    Wallpaper peeling away at the corner
    where the wall meets the ceiling.

    Words taken from Shirley Kuo’s “the white witch’s heart”: music, restless, spine, ghostly, touch, fist, peeling, dance, circles, stars

  12. I chose ten words from “Perfect You,” then wrote my poem on postcards. This was probably the most fun I’ve ever had writing a poem!

    Link with pictures: http://deborahrocheleau.wordpress.com/2014/04/19/yarn-poetry-contest/

    Contact Info: rocheleaudgr@aol.com

    Bottle Rockets

    I got a postcard once that said
    Live your life like a disposable camera
    strapped to a homemade bottle rocket
    bound for the stars and slapped together
    with double bubble gum and a hundred and fifty dollars.

    I’d like to see a hundred grand get a view like that
    Earth’s rounded curve the straightedge
    By which to measure the universe
    Larger-than-life
    Breath-taking
    Amazing!
    And other billboard adjectives.

    It changes you
    a road trip with no itinerary
    and a healthy dose of Discovery!
    How far can a tank of gas take you
    and which way do you turn at the international space station?
    I hear the cell reception’s great out there.

    Until the truck runs out of gas
    the sparkler refuses to ignite
    highway lines and mile marks
    fading on the fuel station map
    like the uncropped edges of amateur photography.

    I’d send occasional postcards
    with snapshots of the stratosphere
    and Wish You Were Here
    scrawled under the stamps of Greek astronomers.

    You’d complain about the graininess
    the jiggle of the camera upon reentry
    sun flares and solar eclipses blotting the image
    film blackening, low on juice or atmosphere.

    I’d leave nothing but moon-dusty footprints
    Nothing to show for my travels
    but saggy tires and lousy pictures
    What’d you expect for a hundred and fifty bucks?

    The ten words: Double, Rounded, Measure, Amazing, Wish, You, Jiggle, Lines, Marks, Saggy

  13. […] In honor of National Poetry Month, YARN review is hosting a Random Words Poetry Contest. […]

  14. Crystal says:

    Oops! Edit to “Combatant” because I have a five month old and am sleep deprived. I only used nine words in the last one and forgot to update the list. OK, here is the revision with the correct list of words used, please ignore the previous post! Sorry!! 🙂

    “Combatant”

    I’ve knelt in baser conditions,
    thigh-deep in wormy garbage piles,
    scouring under faucet rain.
    Still, desert salt invades
    my boots,
    my teeth.
    Chapped skin and trigger finger,
    the days are scored on
    my calendar, scarred deep into paper.
    Monday, Sunday, Wednesday, Friday,
    all the same and all are dry,
    sweltering under the vindictive sun.
    My mirage comes in the form of
    a glass of water.
    Gourmet dinner.
    Bouquet of peonies.
    I tell myself,
    I’ve knelt in baser conditions.
    I’ve knelt in baser conditions.

    Words taken from Cameron MacDonald’s “I Could Drown You”: Peonies, wormy, dinner, dry, faucet, chapped, salt, teeth, Sunday, glass

  15. Alex Naylor-Johnson says:

    Fair (words from “Old Photo Albums” bubblegum (x2) , tongue, graveyard, faces, tribal, scribbled, fair, flip, cry, ribbons).

    Bubblegum, bubblegum
    tongue on my shoe
    walking in the graveyard
    tattered ribbons
    the stone cold faces
    felt damp and dry.

    Why doesn’t nature cry?

    The tribal people who came before me
    scribbled on the changes
    It doesn’t seem fair.

    I flip out on the table and almost throw a chair
    then they scream,
    “It’s not fair.”

  16. Gabrielle Miehle says:

    Small Town (words from “Old Photo Albums” fair, photo, albums, tribal, pain, fit, bubblegum, flip, tongues, I)
    I am most fond of the fair photo,
    My albums hold nothing like it.
    The tribal man’s fit body,
    pain of bubblegum and stilettos
    walking over a teenage heart.
    A hair flip and tongues mashing.
    Simple preservation is why I love it.

  17. Wormy (” I Could Drown You” jar, wormy, ceramic , basement, garden, moon, blanket, afternoon, rainwater, told, furniture)

    In the jar,
    the wormy ceramic furniture
    wiggled in the basement.
    The garden is on the moon,
    surrounded by a blanket.
    In the afternoon, the rainwater came.
    I know it did,
    the worms told me.
    They tell me secrets

  18. Takira Chiles says:

    (accidentally posted above before I was finished)

    Wormy (” I Could Drown You” jar, wormy, ceramic , basement, garden, moon, blanket, afternoon, rainwater, told, furniture)

    In the jar,
    the wormy ceramic furniture
    wiggled in the basement.
    The garden is on the moon,
    surrounded by a blanket.
    In the afternoon, the rainwater came.
    I know it did,
    the worms told me.
    They tell me secrets.
    ALL secrets.
    They travel to the garden and listen.
    They sit on the blanket and tell me things.
    The secrets.

  19. Sierrah Revels says:

    Albums (from “Old Photo Albums” photo, albums, fair, bubblegum, tongues, pain, tribal, fit, I, flip)
    Photo albums
    are the best storytellers
    they recall tales of long ago
    a time spent at a fair,
    bubblegum rolling on tongues.
    Times of pain, a tragic loss,
    a tribal celebration, fit and fun
    I flip through, observing.

  20. Amari McDonald says:

    No Hot Tea (from “I Could Drown You” furniture, basement, moon, afternoon, wormy, jar, ceramic, rainwater, garden, blanket)
    Upon itchy mesh furniture
    I see the moon in the afternoon sky
    before me is a garden
    and the rest be gestured by Vanna White.
    Keeping me warm?
    A plaid blanket.
    The jar I’m drinking from?
    The fiery ceramic torments my finger
    worms crawling through the rainwater
    drenched in dirt?
    Wormy.
    Everything I see?
    Two different views
    In one eye I miss colors
    In the other; high definition.
    I sip scorching tea in the winter afternoon
    I spit take and look at the moon.

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