Tag Archives: April

Gearing Up for NaPoWriMo 2018

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In six days I will embark once again (for the fifth year in a row!) on the endeavor to write a poem a day each day for the entire month of April. Won’t you join me? I will post every single one of these things, the good, the bad, and the ugly, right here up in this blog site.

What might you expect? For starters, a poem a day for 30 days. In four years I have never once failed to produce one. On one or two occasions, I may have missed a single day and then produced two on the following day, but that was rare. But you never know what life will throw you in the middle of a forced creativity event. To date, life’s been good to me so far–for writing poetry in April.

What might these poems be about? The subject matter will likely vary widely, but I have noticed, in years past, that my subject matter often comes from whatever the cruel month of April brings, and typically includes the stuff I am most consumed with during these 30 days. Last year I wrote poems about the Whole 30 diet because I was on it. The year before last, performing as Lord Capulet in a community theater production of Romeo and Juliet, I found myself writing poems about acting, about Shakespeare, about the characters in the play. And in previous years, the subject matter came from my classroom and was often bubbling around what I was teaching and what was happening with my charges. I’ve got a few Gatsby poems. Some poems about the ancient Chinese masters. At least one poem about Toni Morrison’s Beloved. This April, my students are reading Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, Death of a Salesman, and Frankenstein. So it would be highly irregular if those works did not show up somewhere in the poems, and, given those titles, it would be odd if the poems were not likewise on the morbid side. Don’t worry. I’m really not a morbid writer by nature. Not really. What’s morbid in my work might be backed with a healthy dose of humor. Unless I’m being serious about something, which often happens. Given the year we’ve had, socially, politically, culturally, I could see some seriousness seeping through.

But sometimes I am desperate for material, and thus desperate, I will depend on the daily prompts from www.napowrimo.net. A fantastic website, by the way. I go there every day to see the prompt, even if I don’t use it. And if not for subject matter ideas, I’ll go there to learn about new types of poems. The website often prompts us to use a formal structure of some kind–which, for me, is super cool–because I am not a formalist. I find it challenging and good for me sometimes to follow the confines of a formal structure, so you’ll see those crop up from time to time.

Will these poems be any good? That remains to be seen. I don’t find myself to be a very good judge of my own poems, but I can tell you that, as a result of my first four years of participating in National Poetry Writing Month, I have found enough material to compile a book-length manuscript with which I am pretty darn pleased. Maybe I’m doing something right. I hope to revise and finish that manuscript this summer and perhaps a book will come of it.

To close here, I’d like to ask of you, dear reader, a favor. I would invite you to feel at liberty to send requests. Sure, send me a request. You want a poem about bumble bees? Send me a request. You want a sonnet about blueberry muffins? Send me a request. You want a political poem about our Orange guy? I’ll give it a try. No guarantees, but I think it might ad a little fun to the proceedings if readers could participate in some way. What do you think? Let me know. Send requests through the comments and we’ll give it a whirl. That’s the best we can do. Otherwise, see you on April Fool’s Day!  Seriously.

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#245: The First Poem Written at the End of Spring Break

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Here we go, full steam ahead, into my fourth consecutive year of celebrating National Poetry Month by writing a poem on every single day of April. If you are new to these parts, you might be wondering about the number in the title, in this particular case, #245. I’ve participated so far in three years of napowrimo in a row, but I’ve been known on many occasions to write a poem outside of April, and early on I decided to number all my poems, mostly, to distinguish them on the blogsite from other kinds of writing, but at first, initially, to indicate a number for each day of my first month. In three years time, yup, I have written 245 poems. Are they any good? Who knows. I do what I do and napowrimo provides the yearly inspiration to do more of what I do. That’s all.

I have a great fondness for the organizational hub of the National Poetry Writing Month website, curated by Maureen Thorson. During the month of April I visit it religiously every day. I find there wonderful links to poets and their poems, interviews with poets about their poems, cool international poems or poems in translation, but most instructively, I find there a prompt for every day’s writing. Sometimes I follow the prompt, sometimes I don’t. I always feel free to do whatever I want; there is no rule that prompts must be followed. They are there just in case I need assistance, and sometimes I need assistance.

Today, for example. Assistance, please. Our very first prompt is to write a poem in the manner or style of Kay Ryan, former poet laureate of the United States of America, known for her tight, skinny lines, a penchant for humor, malapropism, a touch of surrealism, philosophy, and a curious use of internal rhyme, that is, a rhyme that doesn’t fall at the end of a line where one might expect to find it. If you’d like to see an example, here’s the link that Maureen provided on the napowrimo website: “All Your Horses” by Kay Ryan.

As I write this sentence, I haven’t even begun to write my first poem, so I don’t have a clue about what will follow.

The First Poem Written at the End of Spring Break

Say you hate
the phone
but brought
the phone home
or you found
good reason
to buy a new
truck. You worry
about desire,
a fire that’s
difficult to douse,
never seems
to go out. All
right, put the dogs
in the yard
and hope
they come back.
The fact: you burned
through a tank
of gas but didn’t
go anywhere.

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