ESCAPRIL 2022 (Plus a Pinch of NaPoWriMo)

TW: Mentions of suicidal thoughts. 

A new month, a new challenge! It was actually two challenges but I’ll come back to that. As much as I love writing poetry, I always feel like it slips down my to do list – because there’s always something that has to fall away, isn’t there – but with April came the ESCAPRIL poetry challenge. The challenge actually involves posting what you’ve written to social media but I don’t tend to do that; the challenge is more for me and my writing practice than anything else. I have enjoyed posting a handful of my favourites from each challenge over the last few years though so here I am again, sharing some of my favourites from this year. I didn’t manage to write every day – and given the month I had, I’m kind of amazed I wrote anything at all – but I really like some of the pieces I did write.

Here are this year’s prompts:

Here are some of my favourites from the month. They’re not all comfortable, but they all feel real and raw and that’s what is most important to me in poetry…

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April also hosts National Poetry Writing Month and I was inspired by a few prompts from that too.

When prompted to write about something big…

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And then, of course, prompted to write about something small…

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I really struggled to write this month, which was frustrating but there wasn’t much I could do about it – beyond what I was already doing anyway. I tried my best. I always find it harder to create when my mental health isn’t great and I have been struggling recently. I tried my various tricks to get the words flowing but it’s just been hard. Having said that, I do like some of the poems I wrote and I wrote more that I’d like to come back to and rework when my brain is functioning a bit faster, a bit better. If nothing else, doing the challenge meant I learned that some stars can just disappear – my new favourite fact – so I’m not complaining.

World Poetry Day 2018

I admit it: I forgot that today was World Poetry Day. My brain seems to be very limited at the moment, like it can only hold so many items and adding one just pushes another out. That’s my excuse at least. But, in case you didn’t know, I freaking love poetry. I love writing it and I love reading it. It’s especially great when my concentration has all but deserted me but I still want to read and be inspired and learn; one of the things I love about poetry is how it can come in almost any form. Hopefully there’s something for anyone.

I’m a bit wary around posting other people’s work and of breaching copyright stuff so, rather than share some of my favourite poems, I thought I’d share some of my favourite poets. I first found most of my favourites of Tumblr, including Trista Mateer, Nayyirah Waheed, Angelea Lowes, Michelle K, and Noor Shirazie. Oh, and Caitlyn Siehl. And Schuyler Peck. I know that’s a lot. But hopefully you’ll all find something you like somewhere in that list. They’re all incredible writers and their poetry never fails to inspire me to write. I’ve also found several amazing poets through their performance work such as Raymond Antrobus and Cecilia Knapp (who I’ve written about before). And then there is, of course, one of my best friends, Maya, who has been writing my favourite poems since the moment I met her more than ten years ago.

I also want to share a few of my own poems. As I said, I love writing poetry but it often comes lower on the list of priorities than I’d like it to. But events like World Poetry Day and National Poetry Month always bring it back to the forefront of my brain and reinspires me. So, while I go and dive into my notebook to do some writing, I hope you enjoy some of these pieces that I’ve written over the years.

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I actually wrote this during National Poetry Month a few years ago now and although I’m not sure why, it’s still one of my favourites.

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Of course, a lot of my poetry is about living with anxiety and depression and so on.

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And the last one I want to share is one that always makes me laugh. Of all my poems (or mini poems like this one), this is the one that seems to have ‘caught on.’ Not many weeks go by without someone tagging me in an Instagram post featuring it. When I wrote it, I remember being so infuriated that everything – every book, every film, what felt like every single thing – was geared towards love and romantic relationships and how alienated I felt by that. It’s just something that’s never really been a priority for me. And that frustration turned into this mini poem which apparently spoke to a lot of people.

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If you’d like to read more of my poetry, some of it is posted here. See you in the next post!