Happy National Poetry Month! Beginning on Wednesday, April 1 (this is no April Fool’s joke), I will attempt for the third year in a row to participate in the NaPoWriMo challenge of writing a poem a day for the entire month and publishing each poem here on the blog site. I promise, once again, not to cheat; I will not be publishing poems I have written earlier, but only those poems I write on each day of April, 2015–the good, the mediocre, the bad, and the mostly ugly.
I remember the last two years the challenge of squeezing out a poem every day, and squeezing out the time somewhere to get it done, and the rewards and pitfalls of writing fast, off the cuff, without time for revision, sometimes from prompts, sometimes from the mundane events of the day or the news, and often inspired by what I was doing in my classroom. Writing about the classroom was a challenge last year; in both of the classes I taught we were studying the same material as the year before, but with a different group of students: the Chinese poets of the T’ang Dynasty, and American Romanticism. So, I already had a whole series of poems about these things! Luckily, this year at this time I’m teaching different classes. My freshmen, I’m sure, will provide lots of inspiration, as will my seniors, but for the opposite reasons, and my IB Juniors are studying Pablo Neruda this year, not the Chinese Ancients. It is a cool coincidence (I swear I didn’t plan it this way) that in my IB English class for Juniors we are studying poetry during National Poetry Month. Last year I challenged my students to play along by writing their own 30 poems. I think I had exactly zero takers. They want extra credit, but all I’m willing to offer them is the kind of credit that is infinitely more rewarding, but for which they always laugh at me: Extra Soul Credit.
If you would like to help with the cause, you can. Feel free to send me suggestions for poems–subject matter, specific prompts, stylistic guidance, particular forms, special challenges, over-arching themes. I’m up for almost anything, provided it’s not ridiculously hard, e.g. write an epic in 300 numbered quatrains about the Higgs boson particle entirely in iambic pentameter. You could also help by reading, commenting, and following, which I appreciate immensely. Otherwise, wish me luck. I hope you can check it out, if not every day, every once in a while.
Meanwhile, here’s a couple of cool related items of interest:
A great resource for poetry: http://www.poets.org
Another great resource for poetry: http://www.loc.gov/poetry/180
A place to play for free books of poetry: http://ofkells.blogspot.com
A place to learn about and play the poem a day for a month game: http://www.napowrimo.net