August Writing Challenge 4: Helicopter poem

 photo by thelouche

We are challenging you to write your own mini anthology of poems this August! To help you, every two days poet Jon Stone will set a new challenge on the Young Poets Network site to spark off a new poem.


Challenge 4. Helicopter poem.

Each verse consists of two long lines (like helicopter blades!), blurred together by using many of the same, or similar, or rhyming words in each. For added effect, keep returning to words you’ve already used throughout the poem.

Jon’s example of a helicopter poem:



It’s neat the way the wind can dance with so many particles at once
neat the way the particles summon the wind in full swoonish dance

and how it can gather for ages, like someone gathering a bedsheet
from a bed with no edges, gathering, gathering a howl of summer sheet

and how the town turns into a nest of stones, a neat but pebbly beach
beneath this tower-howl, this huge tangled devilly net of shorn stone

but a storm likes to scorch and strip the earth with its fiery belly dance
its strip dance which storms to a scorched stripe the earth’s fired belly.

Submitting your poem

Jon has now chosen his favourite responses to the August challenges, but you can still use his workshop to spark a new poem and send to one of the opportunities on our Poetry Opportunities Page!


Jon Stone

Jon Stone was born in Derby and currently lives in Whitechapel, London. He is co-creator of the multi-format arts journal Fuselit and micro-anthology publishers Sidekick Books. He won a Society of Authors Eric Gregory Award in 2012 and his collection, School of Forgery (Salt, 2012) is a Poetry Book Society Summer Recommendation. He works as a court transcript editor.

Published August, 2012

10 thoughts on “August Writing Challenge 4: Helicopter poem

  1. I love these challenges! I think my poems are getting better because of them. Although can I say that under Stone’s photo there are no spaces between ‘inDerbyand’ 🙂 sorry I’m really weird about punctuation

    1. Hi Angelique, there are no line limits but it’s always a good rule of thumb when redrafting to make sure you go to every word and think “what does this add to the poem?”

  2. I’ve made some but they’re all have varying degree of rule-breaking lines. Can I still submit them?

    1. Forms and challenges are there as a scaffolding to help you write a poem. We’d want the poems sent to us to reflect the challenges, because we want to see that you’ve had a go at trying something new that might be a bit out of your comfort zone rather than sending in a back-catalogue of pre-written poems. But we don’t mind if you’ve bent the rules here and there to make a better poem, we’d love to see what you’ve come up with!

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