Hello, all. It’s Day Four of NaPoWriMo. I hope your writing is going well.
Our featured press for the day is Bloof Books. Bloof’s publisher, Shanna Compton, has been doing NaPoWriMo since the very beginning and each year, she rounds up a group of Bloof authors to participate. You can follow their progress at here. Bloof publishes both chapbooks and full-length poetry collections. Bloof will hold an open reading period for chapbook manuscripts later this year — likely in June or July. Maybe your NaPoWriMo poems will result in just such a manuscript!
Today’s featured participant is Little Learner, whose ekphrastic poem for Day 1 uses parentheticals and indentations to create a sense of dramatic space, in some ways visually reflecting the monument that is the subject of the poem.
Today’s optional prompt is to write a lune. A lune is a sort of English-language variation on the haiku, meant to better render the tone of the Japanese haiku than the standard 5-7-5 format we all learned (and maybe loved) in elementary school. There are a couple of variants on the lune form, but just to keep things simple, let’s try the version developed by Jack Collum. His version of the lune involves a three-line stanza. The first line has three words. The second line has five, and the third line has three. You can write a poem that consists of just one stanza, or link many lune-stanzas together into a unified poem. Happy writing!
Today is the third day of NaPoWriMo. I hope you are having fun so far. I also wanted to remind everyone that you can follow along with NaPoWriMo via twitter and on Facebook – check out@napowrimo2014, and the NaPoWriMo facebook page.
I’m tooting my own horn a bit with today’s featured press – I hope you don’t mind too much! Operating out of the United Kingdom, Shearsman publishes a wealth of poetry books each year, as well as Shearsman magazine. Shearsman’s titles include books by authors throughout the English-speaking world, works in translation, and reprints of classics. And now the horn-tooting: Shearsman recently published my own second book. I couldn’t be happier to see it out from a press that is doing so much to make poems both new and old available to a global audience.
Our featured participant for Day Three is Scant Scintilla, offering found poetry, erasures, and “other attempts.” The poems here are built out of (and both revel in and deplore) the language of business, of news, and of the general internet insanity that is all around us.
And now, the (as always, optional) prompt. In keeping with today’s status as the third day of NaPoWriMo, I challenge you to write a charm – a simple rhyming poem, in the style of a recipe-slash-nursery rhyme. It could be a charm against warts, or against traffic tickets. It could be a charm to bring love, or to bring free pizzas from your local radio station. Here’s a little springtime example of my own concoction, inspired by what I hope turns out just to be hay-fever.
A Charm Against the Common Cold
Petals from a tulip,
Leather from a new whip,
Snow from years ago,
And a tiger’s left-most toe–
In no freezes steep me,
But from all sneezes keep me.
Welcome back for Day Two. I hope your initial day of writing went well.
Our featured journal today is Graze Magazine, which has published NaPoWriMoer Marilyn Rauch Cavicchia. Graze focuses on something near and dear to everyone’s hearts: eating. The magazine is reading for their October 2014 issue, so if you have a poem that fits with the magazine’s theme, you might consider sending it along.
Our featured participant for Day Two is Patrick Horgan’s napowrimo blog. Patrick’s poem for Day 1 pretty much expresses the statements of a little voice that starts piping up in my head every time I sit down to write. But that voice has gotten quieter over time; now it’s barely a whisper! Hopefully NaPoWriMo will help to calm down your inner “oh no, I’m writing poetry” voice, too. (Also, my apologies to Patrick if, by featuring his poem, I’ve turned a klieg-light on all his oh-noes)!
And now for our optional prompt. There are many good poems based on myths. Lots of these use Greek or Roman myths. Consider Tennyson’s Ulysees or this more modern example by A.E. Stallings. But today I challenge you to write a poem based on a non-Greco-Roman myth. You could write a poem inspired by Norse mythology, or perhaps by one of these creatures from Japanese legend. Every time and place and culture has its myths and legends, so there’s plenty to choose from. Happy writing!
Welcome, all, to the first day of NaPoWriMo!
Each day during the month of April, we’ll be featuring a participant’s blog, and a prompt. Something new we’ll also be doing this year is featuring a small press or journal every day, with a focus on those presses/journals that have published NaPoWriMo participants. If you have an idea for a magazine or press that we should feature, please let us know at napowrimonet-AT-gmail-DOT-com.
Our featured press for the day is Ravenna Press. Ravenna recently published Crown, by Joanna Penn Cooper, who has been participating in NaPoWriMo for several years. In addition to publishing books, Ravenna also hosts/publishes three different online magazines, Anemone Sidecar, ALBA: a Journal of Short Poetry, and Snow Monkey. If you’ve got a poetry book manuscript that you are hoping to have published, Ravenna sponsors a yearly contest, the Cathlamet Prize for Poetry, and publishes the winning manuscript. In June, Ravenna will begin accepting entries for the 2014 Cathlamet Prize .
Our featured participant for the day is Veronica Hosking, who has been participating in NaPoWriMo since 2010. Welcome back!
And last, but not least, our prompt. Our prompts are, as always, optional. If you have your own plans for generating poems, or find prompts elsewhere that suit you better, that’s just fine. Our prompts are there just to help those who are having trouble getting inspired – if you’re full up on inspiration, there’s no need to follow them. With that out of the way, I’ve chosen something I hope will be fun and simple, to ease you into your first day. Today, I’d like you to go to Reb Livingston’s Bibliomancy Oracle. Clear your mind, push the button, and then write a poem based on the quotation that the oracle provides. Happy writing!
Tomorrow is the first day of NaPoWrimo. I hope you are feeling excited and inspired.
Today’s poetry resource is the Big Poetry Giveaway. Now in its fifth year, the Giveaway celebrates National Poetry Month by giving participants the opportunity to get books of poetry, for free!
I know that by the time I post the first “official” prompt, it will already have been April 1 for a while in some parts of the world, so here is an extra little prompt (totally optional — as all our prompts are) for those of you who are experiencing NaPoWriMo earlier than me.
The prompt for all you early birds is an ekphrastic poem – a poem inspired by or about a work of art. There’s no rules on the form for an ekphrastic poem, so you could write a sonnet or a haiku or free verse. Some well-known ekphrastic poems include Rilke’s Archaic Torso of Apollo and Keats’ Ode on a Grecian Urn. But ekphrastic poetry is alive and well today, too, as your efforts today will reflect.
NaPoWriMo begins in only two more days. You can follow along with the prompts here, but also via twitter and on Facebook – check out @napowrimo2014, and the NaPoWriMo facebook page. Here are two NaPoWriMo blog buttons, for those that are interested:
Continuing with our pre-April review of poetry resources, today I’d like to draw your attention to some of the many poetry-related podcasts out there. The Poetry Foundation has a whole page devoted to audio/podcasts. You can download recordings of readings, discussions between poets, and lectures on poetry. Another great resource is PennSound, where you’ll find many recordings of readings, interviews, and more.
NaPoWriMo is right around the corner. We’ve got more than 300 different sites in our participants’ list already, and we usually see a big spike in the last few days before April begins. I wonder how many we’ll get up to this year?
As you continue your preparations, why not take a look at some of the many poetry groups and movements that have existed? Perhaps you’ll be interested in the Poets Maudits of late 19th-century and early 20th-century France, or the Fugitive and Agragrian movements of the American south. Good general places to start exploring include the American Academy of Poets’ list of schools/movements, or Wikipedia’s list.
Poetry movements or schools are usually defined by their members’ similar aesthetic concerns, and often their significant personal interaction, as members help each other to draft and edit their poems, publish each other, and generally provide each other with moral support — and sometimes some mutually-inspiring interpersonal drama, too. But movements have often had a geographic element — the poets knew each other because they all lived, at one time or another, in the same place. But the internet has decreased the importance of geographic proximity, bringing together poets who otherwise might never have met, allowing them to argue, collaborate, and share ideas. Who knows — maybe a movement or two will be started by people who meet through NaPoWriMo. Only time will tell.
It’s the Friday before NaPoWriMo begins. Soon it will be the weekend, time to plan, and plot, and hatch complicated schemes for making it through a month of poetry. Just kidding! We’ll have optional prompts to help you each day, and the point of NaPoWriMo is really just to get something down on the page, not to have perfectly edited poems spring forth from your pens like Athena from the head of Zeus.
But speaking of classical things, there’s nothing like a classical education. And with poetry, that means forms and devices. If you don’t know your villanelle from your anapest, or your renga from your synecdoche, there are a number of sources that can help you. Online, you’ll find glossaries of forms/devices available from both the Poetry Foundation and the Academy of American Poets. Offline, I’d recommend Babette Deutsch’s Poetry Handbook: A Dictionary of Terms. I picked up mine in a used book-store for a song, but you can also buy it from Amazon and other online retailers.
Not that you need to be up-to-snuff on your devices and forms to write a poem. Nosirree! But this type of information can be very helpful when you’re trying to describe a poem to others, and to explain how it does what it does. And who knows? Maybe you’ll fall in love with alexandrines or double dactyls, and wind up with a whole new batch of poems.
Five days until NaPoWriMo; I hope you are sharpening your pencils, dusting off your keyboards, and thumbing through your rhyming dictionaries.
It used to be that, in order to read new poetry, you’d need to go find a magazine that dealt in poetry, or perhaps a newspaper with an editor with a fondness for verse. Now, however, there are so many online poetry journals that you could spend weeks poring through them. There’s no excuse for not reading new poetry — it’s as easy as pushing “enter” on your keyboard.
During April, we’ll be featuring some presses and journals, including online journals, that have published NaPoets. But for now let me whet your appetite by pointing out a couple of places to regularly find new poetry on the web. First, the Pen Poetry Series brings us a new poem every week. But maybe once a week isn’t enough? For the technologically inclined, the Poem Flow App will send a new poem every day to your phone or tablet (you can also read online). And Poetry Daily, as its name implies, posts a new poem every day, generally from a freshly-released book of poetry.
All of these sources are great places to get a taste of poets you might not yet have heard of, and keep your finger on the pulse of what’s happening in contemporary poetry. Happy reading!
Hello, all. We’ve less than a week to go until NaPoWriMo. If you’re hungry for poetry news in the meantime (or at any time, really), you could do worse than visit Harriet, the blog of the Poetry Foundation. You’ll find short posts on new magazines, poetry in the headlines (yes, sometimes mainstream news outlets write about poetry), and longer posts by guest bloggers.
If you’d like to check out something a bit more NaPoWriMo-specific, NaPoet and blogger Judy Kleinberg graciously invited me to contribute a guest post for her blog, which covers poetry news, mainly in the Pacific Northwest. It’s up today! Many thanks to Judy for asking me to contribute.