Poetry Challenge Week with The Lemons

Ada Limón and Alex Lemon have more in common than a citrus surname.  The Lemons, as we shall henceforth call them, are both writers of great critical acclaim, stunning poets with forthcoming books, AND they are here- with a proposition for you. It’s summer, you’ve got more time for your writerly pursuits, and it’s time to push yourself.

That’s why we’re inviting you to participate in this week’s Poetry Challenge.

Each day we will present a different prompt from one of The Lemons. Whether you’ve never written a poem before or you choose to speak only in iambic pentameter, these prompts are here to kick start you into versification.

Day One: Your Character

Today’s prompt is brought to you by Ada Limón, author of Sharks in the Rivers.

Sometimes I think we get way too caught up in our own stories. I know I do. It’s good to get out of yourself. Write a poem from another person’s point of view. Make the speaker an unreliable narrator. Add a series of questions and answers to this poem as well as a lyric from your favorite song. Add one rhyme toward the end of the poem.

How to enter:

1) Create a new book on Figment.

2) Each day, read the prompt from one of The Lemons.

3) Write a poem inspired by the prompt.

4) Add your poem as a new chapter in your book.

5) Tag your book “lemonsweek”.

Challenge yourself to do at least four prompts. At the end of the week, all books tagged “lemonsweek” containing four or more chapters will be put into a pool. The Mods will randomly select three winners, who will each receive a copy of Sharks in the Rivers and Fancy Beasts, Figment totes, and stickers!

1. One entry per person, please.
2. The promotion of your contest entry is not allowed on Figment. This includes self-promotion and the promotion of other users’ contest entries in the Figment forums, the comments and reviews of stories, and the Figment Facebook page. Independent promotion on sites unrelated to Figment, like personal Facebook or Twitter accounts, is fine.
3. Works must be submitted according to the instructions above between the announcement of the contest and the closure of the contest. This means a new piece must be created for the contest; adapting an old Figment piece published before the start of the contest will make the entry ineligible to win.
4. The rules of the contest are both strict and open to interpretation by a moderator.
5. The creation of multiple accounts to heart or otherwise vote for your contest entry on Figment is prohibited, and may result in the disqualification of that entry, the deletion of your Figment account, and/or the blocking of your IP address permanently from the site, at the moderator’s discretion.

 

 

56 thoughts on “Poetry Challenge Week with The Lemons

  1. I think I’m going to enter, but I have a few questions about this prompt.

    What exactly is an “unreliable narrator”?
    Does the lyric have to be from the song that is linked to in the prompt, or our favorite song?
    Can we rhyme throughout the poem, or just one rhyme towards the end?

    Thanks. 🙂

    • Hi Violet

      1. An “unreliable narrator” is a narrator that lacks credibility. For example, that narrator could make a number of false or contradictory statements, could have an unrealistic view of the world or an event, etc.
      2. The song linked in the prompt is Ada Limon’s favorite song, and was added for fun 🙂 You can use lyrics from any song you like!
      3. Just one rhyme towards the end.

      I hope this helps, and please feel free to email me at Maria@Figment.com if you have any other questions. Best of luck!

  2. I have a few questions:
    1. Is this an international contest?
    2. Can you have more than one rhyme, or are we limited to one?
    Thanks

    • Hi

      1. Yes, international citizens can enter the challenge.
      2. The prompt asks for one rhyme at the end, so you would be limited to that one rhyme.

      Feel free to email me at Maria@Figment.com if you have any other questions. Best of luck!

  3. I’m joining! But I have a few questions.

    1. Does the person we’re writing about have to be someone we know, or can they be made up?
    2. Do we just have to put questions in the poem? And then answers to those questions?
    3. I still don’t understand what an unreliable narrator is. xD

    Thanks!

    • Hi Hannah

      1. Nope, it can be someone made up.
      2. Yes, and yes.
      3. A narrator is the character who tells the story. We, as readers, expect that character to tell us the truth, to tell things the way they are, to give us the real story. An unreliable narrator does the opposite – that narrator doesn’t tell the truth but can claim he/she is doing so, will give unrealistic descriptions of things going on in the story, and will often make things seem one sided. For example, “Teddy” Daniels of Shutter Island. What he sees as reality is nowhere near the truth. His perception is so skewed, that we as readers are only getting a heavily filtered and twisted explanation. Another example would be Gulliver in Gulliver’s Travels.

      I hope this works better!

  4. Hi~

    I’m still a little confused with the “one rhyme towards the end” part, does that mean only the whole last stanza can rhyme or is it just two-three lines?

    • Hi M

      An “unreliable narrator” is a narrator that lacks credibility. For example, that narrator could make a number of false or contradictory statements, could have an unrealistic view of the world or an event, etc. As for the questions, they can take any direction you like – they can be asked of the narrator, of the audience, or can be general. I hope this helps, and please feel free to contact me at Maria@Figment.com if you have any other questions.

    • Hi Barry

      When you click on “create something new,” you’ll be taken to the “details” section of your book. On the top right-hand side will be a “tags” box. Type in “lemonsweek” and click on “save details” on the bottom left of the page. Your entry will now be included in the entries list, as long as it’s published before the deadline. Your title can be anything you like; it doesn’t have to be lemonsweek 🙂

      I hope this helps and please feel free to email me at Maria@Figment.com if you have any other questions. Best of luck!

    • Hi Jane

      There’s no restriction to the type of rhyme, so you have some creative license with this. I hope this helps, and please feel free to email me at Maria@Figment.com if you have any other questions.

    • Hi Barry

      You can ask as many questions as you like 🙂 And yes, the book must be published and tagged “lemonsweek” by the deadline, or it will not be included.

  5. Can we create the poem for today’s prompt tomorrow, or do we have to do each day’s prompt on that day? (sorry for the dumb question.)

    • Hi Violet

      We ask that they be written when announced, but as long as at least four prompts are addressed by the deadline, it’s okay.

  6. Hi, I’m kind of confused about the unreliable narrator thing. How would the reader know if the narrator is unreliable or not?

    • Hi Ann

      An unreliable narrator is someone you can’t trust – the story he/she is telling is usually not true or warped, and can have many inconsistencies and holes. Think of Don Quixote, Gulliver from Gulliver’s Travels, or Holden Caulfield. Often times, there is no obvious distinction between reliable and unreliable narrators – the twist is hidden or saved for a later point. A good example of this is Teddy Daniels from Shutter Island (specifically the movie). It’s not extremely clear how unreliable he is until the very end. How obviously unreliable your narrator is is left to you, though, so you have some freedom with it. I hope this helps and please feel free to email me at Maria@Figment.com if you have any other questions.

  7. Also, because it says to write from another person’s point of view, does that mean it can’t be in first person?
    Thank you!!!

  8. My Q-and-A ended up being both conducted by the narrator… Which makes sense considering he reads minds… Even so, I did like how he talked in the poem… If I was the reporter, I would be sitting there with utter confusion…

  9. oh also, is the deadline for whatever part due at the end of that day, or at the end of the week when the entire contest is over?

    • Hi Hannah

      We ask that each prompt be completed by the announcement of the next prompt, but as long as at least 4 prompts are addressed by the end of the week, it’s okay. Feel free to email me at Maria@Figment.com if you have any other questions.

  10. I have a question: Does the unreliable narrator have to be in third person, or can it be in first, but not about you? Because I seriously have no idea how to pull off a proper third person unreliable narrator.

  11. Hi, I was just wondering, out of sheer curiosity, what the prize for this contest would be? Also does the poem have to be a certain length?

  12. Hi!
    This seems like an interesting contest, and I want to enter, but I have a question.

    Can the narrator be unreliable because they have a disability? For example, maybe they’re blind or deaf and think of the world differently.

  13. Not that I really believe that this is the point of this contest, but I was just hoping for a little clarification: when the books are put into the pool, will it be pulling out of a hat to determine winners? It says random, so that’s how I understand it. I know it’s so difficult to judge the quality of artistic endeavors, but will following the prompts or seriously deviating from them affect who is chosen as ‘winner’ ? Just wondering, and thanks 🙂

    • Hi Lily

      It will be similar to pulling a name out of a hat, yes. Also, each contestant is given creative freedom with his/her entry. As long as at least four of the prompts are addressed by the deadline, it really shouldn’t be a problem. I hope this helps, and please feel free to email me at Maria@Figment.com if you have any other questions.

  14. Pingback: Poetry Challenge Week: Day Two | Figment Blog

  15. Ok if we don’t put this poem in first is that ok. Like todays promt is already posted so do the entries to this contest have to be in order of the day like this one is called Your Character(Monday)Ekphrastic Poem(Tuesday)Do they have to be in order like I only have an hour left on the computer so I don’t have time to do Monday’s so would I be able to add it 2nd in my book for the contest? I hope im making sense.

    • Hi Krystal

      We ask that the poems be added to your book on the day the prompt is posted, but as long as at least four of the prompts are in your book by midnight Friday, your entry will be accepted. I hope this helps and best of luck!

  16. Can i enter today all of the four prompts, will it be acceptable? i mean i did not knowof this contest before so…?

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