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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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#100: Serious About Poetry

I have just now reached my personal goal of writing 100 poems in a year!  I know poets who have written a poem every day for a year, so this may not be the most amaze-balls news of the world, but it’s amazing for me.  I think it’s a personal best, a personal record.  I’ve had times in my life when poetry sprouted forth in spontaneous and voluminous spurts, but never sustained over such a long period, never 100 in a year.  So, I’m pleased with myself despite misgivings I have about the quality of my verse, which, I’m pretty open about, and which, often, has become the subject matter for poetry, and which, is pretty much the subject matter for my one hundredth poem.  I’d like to thank the academy, my readers, all my lovely and brave followers, and in particular, National Poetry Writing Month–which got the whole ball rolling for me in the first place one year ago April 1st.     

 

Serious About Poetry

What would happen
if I became serious about poetry?
For one, I might stop
simply breaking my tiny
essays into lines and
calling them poems.
For another, I might do
things like this:

Rain comes down in torrents,
beats like mad against the windows,
and I shout over the top of it to be heard:
what’s for dinner, darling?

Something like that would be
good for a poem.
It seems to have all the requisite
poetry things: rain for example,
and an unexpected turn at the end,
the pairing of the mundane
with a totally different kind of mundane.

On second thought,
I think I’ll keep writing tiny essays
and breaking them into lines.
I’m calling that poetry, for now.

 

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100 Poems by April

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The title of this little blog post, I realize, is deceptive.  Please know that you will not find included herein 100 poems by a person named April.  Rather, it is my hope and goal (hence, this public announcement) to write my 100th blog poem by April 1. My rationale is, initially, silly. In April of 2013 I participated in the National Poetry Writing Month by writing a poem a day every day in the month of April. For some reason, I think, maybe to distinguish the poetry from other things decidedly NOT poetry, I decided to number these poems. 1 through 30. But then I kept writing poems. And I kept numbering them. I just posted #73. And my secret (now public) fear is that if I participate again in NaPoWriMo (which is my plan) I will find myself in the unenviable position of writing poem number 93 on the 17th day of April. That’s just not good. So the silly reason for writing 100 poems by April 1 is so that on April 1 I can post poem #101 and on the 3oth of April I can post poem #130.

The second reason for writing 100 poems by April 1 is simply to have written 100 poems in a year’s time.  I’ve said this before.  I don’t know if they’re good poems.  Because mostly they’re written quickly, they may read kind of like Anne Lamott’s concept of the shitty rough draft. And because they’re public, they may not “delve” in the way some of the best poetry delves.  In other words, there may be subjects I’ve avoided, or incidents of self-censorship I’ve allowed. There may be artful risks I’ve side-stepped.  All of this may be true, but it’s still a pretty cool thing to say you’ve written 100 poems in a year, and if I’m able to do this, I’ll be able to say it.  I’ll say, hey, I’ve written 100 poems in a year.  Cool.

So, if I just posted #73, I will need to write 27 new poems in February and March. Over two months, it’s about half of what I will do in April. It will be good exercise, I think.  And maybe you can help.  Do you have any suggestions?  Are there kinds of poems or subjects that would amuse you in a Michael Jarmer composition? Let me know. Seriously. Really.  Please.  I have my work cut out for me anyway, but without your help, I may have even more work cut out for me.

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