Happy Na/GloPoWriMo Eve, everyone! I hope you have brought the traditional accoutrements of the holiday, including sharpened pencils, new notebooks, freshly opened Word documents, and a readiness to versify.
Our craft resource today is a short article featuring fifteen poets’ thoughts on revision. While our focus during Na/GloPoWriMo is on first drafts, revision is a big part of the poetic process, and one that everyone struggles with. Hopefully, this will give you food for thought and inspiration as you tackle editing your work.
And now for a bit about timing! As in prior years, each day’s post and (optional) prompt will go live at midnight eastern standard time. However, because April 1 comes earlier to some parts of the globe than others, we also have an early bird prompt for those of you for whom the day is well-advanced before we even get to the witching hour here on the east coast.
Today’s prompt is one we’ve used before, but it gets great results, and who can argue with results? So today I’d like to challenge you to write a poem in the form of a love letter . . . to an object. Ideally, the poem will be a kind of riddle, where it’s not totally obvious that the addressee is your beloved childhood pogo stick, or a dish of pad thai from your favorite restaurant, until near the end. This is a great opportunity to play with some of the clichés and tropes of love poetry. But while this kind of poem can be a great way to explore humor in verse, you might also surprise yourself with just how deep and true your feelings toward an object can be. Happy writing!
For those of you who would like to use them, we have developed some “blog buttons.” See below!
Hello, all. We have just two days to go until Na/GloPoWriMo. Can you smell it in the air? Sort of like fresh ink and old paperbacks…
We’re now up to hundreds of participants with websites where they’ll be posting their work. I always enjoy peeking at other people’s progress, and finding inspiration there. Once April gets started, perhaps you’ll do the same?
In the meantime, here is another craft resource for your perusal. In his essay, Got Poetry?, Jim Holt discusses the practice of memorizing poetry. I memorized a lot of poetry as a child, and have found it wonderful not just for entertaining myself at bus stops (we didn’t always have iPhones), but because it creates a sort of mental index of the sounds of poetry — rhythms and beats and ways of expression that I can consult when writing without having to stop and go look something up.
Hello, everybody. There are just three days left until National/Global Poetry Writing Month begins! There are lots of programs out there for training people to run races – I wonder what a training program for writing 30 poems would look like? Probably lots of time spent reviewing your favorite books of poetry, tossing off practice rhymes, and listening to “Eye of the Tiger” repeatedly. That last one seems to work for training for anything!
New participants’ sites are being added to our list every day, and we’ll keep those submissions open throughout the month of April. But I’d also like to give a shoutout to all of those who will be writing, but who won’t be posting your poems online. You are also part of Na/GloPoWriMo!
Our craft resource for the day is an essay by the poet Mark Strand (scroll down to “from ‘Notes on the Craft of Poetry’”). Strand is skeptical of the idea of “craft,” resisting the idea that you can build a poem like a car, just by having the right parts and the right know-how. Strand advocates for a bit of the mystical and the personal in poetry. While he doesn’t deny that there is a “way of doing” poetry, he believes that the way is unique to each poet, and must be discovered through practice. And we’re all about practice here!
Hello, all. There’s less than ten days to go until the start of this year’s Na/GloPoWriMo. I hope you’re revving your creative engines!
New sites are being posted daily, and we’re happy to see so many people signing up to post their work online. But if you’d prefer to keep your participation analog, that’s fine too – the only thing you need to participate in Na/GloPoWriMo is a willingness to write poems.
Our craft resource for the week is an oldie-but-a-goodie, Wallace Stevens’s The Necessary Angel. I first picked up this book, with a garish purple cover enlivened by an incongruous blue Cupid, in the “overstock” section of a used bookstore. Stevens, who trained as a lawyer and as journalist, is known for his intellectual, persnickety, exacting poems. His essays are no different, but if you are game to seriously nerd out about poetry, you should give it a try!
We’ll be back in a week for a three-day countdown to Na/GloPoWriMo. Can you feel the excitement building? We can, but then, we live for this stuff! At any rate, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at napowrimonet AT gmail DOT com.
The soothsayer told Caesar to beware the ides of March, but hopefully, the only thing you need to be aware of today is that there’s just half a month left until April 1, and the start of Na/GloPoWriMo.
Thanks to everyone who has submitted links to the sites where they’ll be posting work this year – keep ‘em coming! And if you aren’t planning to post work online this year, that’s no problem! Our (optional) prompts, resources, etcetera work just as well offline as on.
And without further ado, here’s our craft resource for the week! Over the past few years, Graywolf has published a series of writing guides/books entitled The Art of the . . . . So far the series has books on The Art of the Line, The Art of Syntax, etc. Last summer, while wandering the aisles of a bookstore, I happened upon one of the entries in the series, Mark Doty’s The Art of Description. The book consists of a series of close readings of the descriptive word choices in poems, and I found it extremely illuminating and helpful in re-orienting me away from some lazy habits I’d fallen into in writing. One of the essays from the book, a close reading of Elizabeth Bishop’s The Fish, is available online here. I hope you enjoy it!
When we come back next week, there will only be a little over a week left until April 1. Time to start sharpening your pencils and, er, keyboards. In the meantime, if you have any questions, please let us know at napowrimonet AT gmail DOT com.
Hello, everyone! We’re another week closer to the beginning of April, and the challenge of writing a poem every day for that most cruel and creative of months.
Our site submission form is up and working, and many of you have already begun to submit links to websites where you’ll be posting work. And remember – if you aren’t planning to post your work online, that’s okay, too!
And now for a new craft resource. If you’ve ever taken a poetry class, there’s a good chance that you were assigned Richard Hugo’s book, The Triggering Town. Hugo’s essays on writing poetry have helped students and non-students alike figure out one of the hardest things about poetry – what do you write about, and how do you do it genuinely and authentically? The Poetry Society of America has the title essay of his book online. You can find it here. If you’ve never read it before, I hope you find it helpful. And if you have read it, you may enjoy revisiting it, as I did.
We’ll be back next week with another resource! In the meantime, if you have any questions, please contact us at napowrimonet AT gmail DOT com.
Hello, all. It’s March 1, and that means that April is right around the corner, bringing lilacs, spring rains, and National/Global Poetry Writing Month! What is NaPoWriMo/GloPoWriMo? It’s your chance to stretch your poetry muscles by writing a poem a day for the month of April.
We’ve cleared out our list of participating websites for 2017, so if you’ll be posting your efforts to a blog or other internet space this year, you can go ahead and start submitting those links through our handy “Submit Your Site” form. We’ve also updated our search features, so you’ll be able to search for sites by name. [UPDATE: Thanks to those of you who pointed out bug in the Captcha plug-in in the submission form. We’ve fixed that issue, so let the submissions begin!]
And if you’re not planning to post your work online? No worries! Na/GloPoWriMo doesn’t require that at all. All you have to day is write a poem a day for April.
In previous years, we’ve featured a daily prompt, a participant, and provided you with some poetry-related information of general interest, such as links to new journals, etc. This year is no different. In addition to our (optional, as always) prompts and links to participants’ work, we’re going to be featuring brief interviews with poets who have new books out or forthcoming, interspersed with links to poetry craft resources.
And here’s our first craft resource, to whet your appetite. When I was a wee baby poet, my parents took notice of my interest with some bemusement, but as supportive parents do, they took themselves to a local bookstore and asked its proprietor what kind of book would be good for someone trying to write. That long-lost peddler of tomes pointed them toward Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones. The book is pep-talky, accessible, and a little bit southwestern zen – it was quite the oddity for a teenager in a military town in the early 90s. But the book’s ethos of getting stuff down on paper without worrying, at least at first, about whether it or you are “good enough” really resonated with me, and is definitely something that informs our attitude here! Interested in learning more? Here’s an interview with Goldberg on the occasion of her book’s thirtieth anniversary, and appreciations of the book by Jennifer Ellis and Yvonne Spence.
We’ll be back next week with another resource for you, as we build up to our count-down to April 1! And if you have questions in the meantime, please contact us at napowrimonet AT gmail DOT com.