NAPOWRIMO 2020 – Prompt 16

By on Apr 15, 2020 in Poetry

Dragon lantern by Alyce Wilson

April is National Poetry Writing Month, and many poets like to challenge themselves to write a poem a day. With that in mind, Wild Violet will be sharing poetry prompts each day: one geared towards adults and one for kids. 

If you write a poem based on this prompt, feel free to share a link to your poem, or the poem itself, in the comments. Poems appearing in the comments are not considered published in Wild Violet, and you retain all rights to your work. 


Twenty Questions

For adults:

Often, the most powerful part of a poem are the questions left in the mind of the reader. As one of my poetry instructors used to say, it’s important to leave a little space in your poem for interpretation. Some poems take that to the extreme, asking overt questions that may or may not be answered in the poem. In “Twenty Questions” by David Lehman and “Twenty Questions” by Jim Moore, the poets pile up a series of seemingly impossible questions that add up to something greater.


For children:

On a day when you don’t know what to write, try this exercise. Think of it like a game, where your goal is to tell a story, or to reveal something about yourself, simply by asking questions. You can write a series of twenty questions, or you can try fewer. They can be as serious or as funny as you’d like.

Twenty Questions

Why does a dragon breathe fire?
Does it hurt their tongues?
If you slept on a pile of gold, would it make you cranky?
And knights, how do they taste?
Are their suits of armor crunchy?
If you oversleep does it matter, when you’re a dragon?
How do you know what time it is?
Why do dragons live alone?
Is it because they don’t want to share their gold?
Do dragons melt their treasure when they sneeze?
If you could fly like that, wouldn’t you do it all day long?
Why hide in a cave anyway?
Who’s afraid of a wimpy knight?
Or is it the dragons who are wimpy?
Do they pretend to be fierce to be left alone?
Do they like to meditate?
Do they sing?
Do they roar because it’s in the story?
And how do they get out of it?
Can they sometimes, every once in a while, get a happy ending?



Alyce Wilson is the editor of Wild Violet and in her copious spare time writes humor, non-fiction, fiction and poetry and infrequently keeps an online journal. Her first chapbook, Picturebook of the Martyrs; her e-book/pamphlet, Stay Out of the Bin! An Editor's Tips on Getting Published in Lit Mags ; her book of essays and columns, The Art of Life; her humorous nonfiction ebook, Dedicated Idiocy: How Monty Python Fandom Changed My Life, and her newest poetry collection, Owning the Ghosts, can all be ordered from her Web site, In late 2019, she published a volume of poetry by her third great-grandfather, Reading's Physician Poet: Poems by Dr. James Meredith Mathews, which also contains genealogical information about the Mathews family. She lives with her husband and son in the Philadelphia area and takes far too many photos of her handsome, creative son, nicknamed Kung Fu Panda.