NaPoWriMo #12 – Index Poem

Welcome to Writing Prompt Pit Stop! We’re on Day 12 of National Poetry Month, and the NaPoWriMo prompts are the only ones that I’ve been doing…they’ve worked really well, even if I’ve dragged my feet on a few. Today is no different as far as being a challenging one, and there are many ways to do it. We were to write a poem using the index of a book as inspiration, or we could “make up” our own. I thumbed through about five book indexes before I settled on one that I thought I could make something work. What I did was use at least one word from every entry of the alphabet. If there were a lot of entries for a certain letter, for example “B,” then I allowed myself to use at least two of the entries if it “helped” the poem. I only added 10 words of my own that weren’t in the index entries…and those were just to transition. It’s another odd one, but it is what it is! Posted below is my poem, “Wooing the Tourists,” the citation of the book I used, and the day’s original prompt. Enjoy!

Wooing the Tourists

Audiences, in
Black Masks,
“Breakup…the Soviet Union.”
Cab drivers,
celebrities, as supporters, seen
dancing in the streets –

Exit art/the First World,
family programs,
Garfield the cat,
humor, and the
Indianapolis Opera.

Johnny Walker is
Key to the World Travel Service,
Lusty Lois, boasts
Mad Dogs and Englishmen,
“named” gifts for
only the lonely.

Playboy of the Western World,
Pretty Woman,
“Surrealism and Music?”
tickets at
Trader Joe’s.

USA Today,
volunteers many
young adults for exhibit at local

Reiss, Alvin H. Don’t Just Applaud – Send Money! New York: TCG, 1995. Print.

The Day 12 prompt from NaPoWriMo:

Have you ever flipped to the index of a book and found it super interesting? Well, I have (yes, I live an exciting life!) For example, the other day I pulled from my shelf a copy of on old book that excerpts parts of Ralph Waldo Emerson’s journals. I took a look at the index, and found the following entry under “Man”:

fails to attain perfection, 46; can take advantage of any quality within him, 46; his plot of ground, 46; his use, 52, 56; not to be trusted with too much power, 55; should not be too conscientious, 58; occult relationship between animals and, 75; God in, 79, 86; not looked upon as an animal, 80; gains courage by going much alone, 81; the finished, 89; and woman, distinctive marks of, 109; reliance in the moral constitution of, 124; the infinitude of the private, 151; and men, 217; should compare advantageously with a river, 258.

That’s a poem, right there!

Today, I challenge you to write your own index poem. You could start with found language from an actual index, or you could invent an index, somewhat in the style of this poem by Thomas Brendler.

If you get anything that you would like to share, post it in the comments below!

Keep writing,


1 thought on “NaPoWriMo #12 – Index Poem

  1. Pingback: NaPoWriMo – Day 12 – “Hate, A List Of Things I Really” by David Ellis | toofulltowrite (I've started so I'll finish)

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