Many years ago, “didactic” poetry was very common – in other words, poetry that explicitly sought to instruct the reader in some kind of skill or knowledge, whether moral, philosophical, or practical. Today, I’d like to challenge you to write the latter kind of “how to” poem – a didactic poem that focuses on a practical skill. Hopefully, you’ll be able to weave the concrete details of the action into a compelling verse. Also, your “practical” skill could be somewhat mythological, imaginary, or funny, like “How to Capture a Mermaid” or “How to Get Your Teenager to Take Out the Garbage When He Is Supposed To.”

My mind went round in circles on this one, then I decided on how to complete the NaPoWriMo challenge. This one will appeal particularly to those who have hung on in there and done all the poems.

How to complete the NaPoWriMo challenge

All you do is find a spark!
To write a lune is quite a lark.
A tritina or a san san form
both need a fairly big brainstorm.
Or how about a fanmail letter?
Or heirloom plants?  Now, are they better?
Which month do you find most cruel?
A poem with a theme that’s dual!
Your favourite flower, your favourite food,
a fortune cookie rhyme is good.
Or how about this questionnaire?
The sound of home is in the air.
A family portrait’s worth a look,
or how about the spines of books?
Just take an index as your prompt
or dictionary terms – you won’t be swamped!
A big surprise just at the finish
your poem’s success will not diminish.
That’s the way to write each day
take a spark and write away!