2020 Poetry Challenge Planning

To all my poetry challenge participants and those interested in participating in the challenge in the future:

At the end of 2019, Colleen’s weekly syllabic poetry challenge will have run for three consecutive years. I never thought I would have this much interest in syllabic poetry, and I’ve been overjoyed at the response.

The Poet of the Week & Honorable Mention Poetry PDF for 2019 will be available as a FREE download by the middle of January 2020. I don’t know that I would do this again, but we could discuss it. I spent a lot of time and energy compiling the data.

Do we need a weekly recap of my picks for Poet of the Week, and honorable mentions? Do you read this post? Is it something that is important to you as a poet? Tell me why I should keep doing this post.

I’d like to host a Syllabic Poetry Contest with prizes (donated books from poetry participants) in April for National Poetry Month (and my birth month). I will need 3 judges and prizes. Who’s interested? Let me know! I can’t do this by myself.

If we did a poetry contest, I would take the month of April off and dedicate it just to the contest. There would be no challenge posts that month. By the middle of May, the winners would be released.

2020 is right around the corner, I’d like to take some time and ask a few more questions.

First, are you bored with this challenge? If you are, tell me in the comments how you think I could make this challenge better.

Would you like to have a theme for each week of the month? If so, what are your ideas? Remember we have four or five weeks to plan for, depending on the month. List your ideas in the comments.

Here are some ideas submitted by Jane Dougherty after I begged asked her to share her opinion:

“My first thought was that it might be an idea to have a different theme for each Tuesday. There’s the image prompt one week that gives a very clear direction and I think that’s what’s needed. How about imposing a poetry form rather than word choice one week, another week have a theme like rain or autumn and only have the word choice one week?
You could combine words and images, rework an existing poem, redo a tanka in the form of a shadorma, something like that, keeping the themes but changing the form? Presenting two short poems and asking us to write a third based on the images in the original poems is good too.

I know you already give links to ‘how to write’ the different forms, but it seems to me that we are a bit slapdash about getting it right. Counting the syllables isn’t the end of it after all. How about if you choose a form and give very precise instructions as to how to write it, then give a theme?”

Jane Dougherty

Here are some more ideas:

  • Photo Prompt
  • A “themed” week: nature, holiday, feelings, etc.
  • Select a poetry form and giving precise instructions on how to write it, along with a specific theme
  • Rework an existing poem into another form: like a tanka into a shadorma
  • Word choice/synonyms like we’ve been doing
  • Poet’s Choice
  • Music prompt
  • A Haiku/Senryu a day for a week
  • Archaic Word Week: Pick an archaic word from Lexico.com, make it the title of your poem, and then, write your poem
  • Phrase Week: Pick a phrase (fit as a fiddle, etc) and write a poem
  • The Poetscollective.org has an enormous list of syllabic poetry. Check that out HERE. Are there any forms that you want to learn how to write?
  • HERE are 191 Poetry Prompts to give you some ideas.

If you’d rather email me your ideas send it here: tankatuesdaypoetry@gmail.com.

I look forward to hearing your ideas.


  1. I like it as is except for the free choice. I like working with synonyms to make them work into a syllabic poem. I am loving this and I’ve not been participating much. But what I like most are your comments. For me, a recap is not as important. As a beginner, it has been a great challenge! Thank you for doing this for us. 🥰


  2. I love this challenge, I wish I could contribute more to it! The photo prompt is a must – my favourite! Like Jane’s idea of a themed week and pick a phrase is a could one too! April is my birth month too! A contest will be great!


  3. I LOVE your challenge and would hate to see it go away – I love learning about the various types of poetry and seeing the diverse responses. I especially love this community of poets. With all that said, I’m completely open to changes to the contest. I like the suggestion of a particular poetry form, theme weeks…actually all the ideas. So much opportunity!


    1. I agree! I just don’t want the challenge to be boring. I’d like for you guys to get more interactive. Do you think the poet of the week and the honorable mentions should stay? I hate to be the one always giving my opinion. LOL!


      1. Poet of the week is fun but not necessary – especially if it requires so much of you that you’re neglecting your own work. I certainly think the annual recap could go by the wayside.

        I will say, I for one love to hear your opinion – you are an established author and wonderful teacher of poetry and wisdom…when you share what you love about a poem it gives the rest of us direction and encouragement.

        Whichever direction we head in, I’ll be there 💙


  4. I think you should do what you want to do, Colleen! 🙂 I don’t care about a recap or competitions or poet of the week, but perhaps that’s me. It just seems very subjective, and I know it’s a lot of work for you. I think comments are more helpful and interesting. Since everyone puts their link on the the challenge post, you could just include the link to that post on your next challenge. Like others, I also enjoy the photo prompt, and I think Jane gave some very good suggestions.


  5. All the ideas sound good, and i think you can vary them as much or as little as you want. The important thing for me is the prompt as a focus and community. I don’t care about poet of the week, but I do miss having a list of poets in one place instead of going through the comments. I definitely read less of the other poems than I used to. I know someone suggested Mr. Linky and you said it didn’t work for you, but it does make it easy to visit everyone’s work. Is there some other way you could set up a page for everyone to put their links?
    Of course you know I want you to keep the image prompt, but words, forms, or themes are all good. (K)


    1. I’m looking for a plugin of some sort to do this for us. That’s one reason I moved to the business plan. If you know of something let me know. I agree with ending the poet of the week. It was fun for a year but it’s run it’s course. ❤️


  6. A lot of good ideas here, Colleen. I always read, but haven’t participated…yet. I’m all for anything that promotes poetry.


  7. Although I don’t participate every week, Colleen, I do enjoy this challenge and I read a lot of the poems by others. I have learned a lot from your challenges. Poet of the week is nice but not necessary if it is creating a lot of work for you. I am happy to help you judge the poetry, if my input is useful. I am also happy to donate any one of my books to this challenge.


  8. I have been busy with personal, family, health, and car issues one after another, haven’t done too much blogging lately. I see that quite a few think that poet of the week is not necessary. I can see it takes a lot of work in choosing. A couple challenges I participated also did away with it after a while. Counting syllables are fine with me. I learned many other people forms such as some of Jane’s suggestions. Perhaps one week with photo prompt, one week with theme (ask members to suggest theme and you pick 12 for the year or list them then vote for 12?). I like to learn now poem form from Jane’s suggestions.


  9. I know how much work it takes to read and judge a poet of the week Colleen,especially when you have your own work to consider. Is there any reason that people cannot put their poetry in the comments rather than just the link. All they need to do is put the (alt 0169) © and their name then all of them could be read

    Haiku by Sally Cronin.

    The blood red poppy
    Natures gift to remind us
    Of all those who fell

    ©Sally Cronin

    As to themes I love the synonyms and the photo prompt but I also enjoy the poet’s choice and using my imagination to surprise you!

    You know whatever you choose I will support wholeheartedly and delighted to provide an ebook version of my next poetry and short story book coming out (hopefully) before Christmas….♥♥


    1. I really enjoy the poet of the week feature, but if it takes too much time away from your own writing, then Sally’s suggestion for poets to share the entire poem in the comments would be a good alternative.


  10. I love this challenge the way it is, including the free choice. I don’t think you necessarily need to do a poet of the week, considering how much work that is. In any case, I hope the challenge continues.


  11. Hi Colleen- As you know, I’ve been pretty steady here for the last two years that I have been blogging. I do enjoy the prompts, whatever they are, and most times I get inspired. That said, I don’t think you need to do the end of year e-book any longer, because I know that is a lot of work. Poet of the week, is a nice touch, but it’s not why I participate. I participate to learn and stretch my wings as a poet. And I, like most of us, appreciate the feedback we get. Maybe we consider doing new syllabic forms as well.As always, thank you for all that you do!


  12. Hi Colleen , thinking cap has been on for days and here is what I have come up with.
    I do love the idea of us putting our poems in the comments such a clever idea so simple and effective…was that Sally’s idea…very clever.
    I like the format we have already, the ‘choose your own prompt’, photo prompt, then the two words to be used synonymously, how about for the last one in the month being done synonymously as well but it could also be a named disapline from those we already use. Perhaps we could add Acrostic poems to our list too, and they can also be mixed with nonets, haiku, tanka, etheree well most forms if you try😜 a prompt could be : an Acrostic Nonet on kindness’s like the one below

    Kindred spirits spread their loving wings
    In beautiful friendship and love
    Never a selfish thought they
    Doing good things gently
    Not impatient or
    Ever harshly
    Softly they

    Okay I chose an eight lettered word and added an apostrophe but you get my meaning.🥴

    So below is an Acrostic Haiku subject God.

    Gifted golden sunsets
    Omnipotent creater
    Do we exist without you.

    I hope these suggestions help, I really love this challenge and appreciate all the hard work you put in to it. 💜💜💜💜


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