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Sarah-Jane Crowson 04-01-2021 04:07 PM

Does anyone here write a poem a day for, or otherwise celebrate NaPoWriMo?
I wondered if anyone here celebrates National Poetry Month in some way?

There are, of course, hundreds of writing spaces to share/read poetry this month (I'm writing on the weird cousin to this forum which is the Pffa, my alma mater in the world of poetry forums).

But I wondered if other people here were using this month as a generative writing space, and if so, where they're writing (social media? blogs?)


David Anthony 04-01-2021 05:08 PM

Great that you're writing on PFFA. It used to be a savage place, but I think has mellowed now. I'm proud that my poem on Picks of the Litter has had more views than any other.

Gail White 04-01-2021 08:37 PM

Alas, I have never been equal to a poem-a-day challenge of any kind. The most I do for Poetry Month is subscribe to the daily poem from Knopf.

Ann Drysdale 04-02-2021 02:57 AM

I don't. Although I do love a deadline in principle, I find that stuff produced in the frame of mind wherein the "doing" of it is a duty to be ticked off on a to-do list, is often slapdash, ill-considered and, frankly, dire. Form is often the first thing to get chucked in a bucket.

And, I confess, I am embuggered at the outset because I find that coy, twice-bitten acronym peculiarly repellent.

Sarah-Jane Crowson 04-02-2021 06:13 AM

Ann! I know exactly what you mean. Your post reminded me of how much I used to hate it, and how I don't notice it now. I think it's because I've learned to deal with hashtags and the like - it's a way of sorting the world. And I'm not sure that this doesn't dilute things. Thank-you. It's really good to think about that.

I think there's lots of dross produced in it too. I try to get three good poems out of it, usually about a year later. But I work that way anyway, generating like buggery and not much of it good. Where I get stuck is when I've got something with potential and I find it's like wading through treacle to go back and really look at it and revise it.

Gail - that's a good idea. I might do that too - I'll look up Knopf.

David Anthony - I remember reading your poems way back - there was one about a dog, which was really lovely, that's stuck with me through the years (and even though I don't usually like poems about dogs). I wouldn't have been able to say why at the time, either. That's one of the reasons it took me so much time before I posted on here, as the focus on form here requires a level of skill and self-awareness that the PFFA doesn't, certainly in the lower forums of the PFFA, where you can just jump in with whatever drivel you're carrying in your head (although you have to learn quickly if you want to survive). It's a good teaching forum.


David Anthony 04-02-2021 12:47 PM

Thanks, Jane.
If it's the one I think, I've never published it anywhere since I feared the line between sentiment and sentimentality may have become blurred.
It's one of my favourites of my own, though.

Claudia Gary 04-05-2021 11:19 AM

Ann, thank you for saying more or less what I was thinking!

There may have been rare months when Iíve written a poem a day, but that act in itself was never the goal. There have even been times when I turned out a poem within a half hour, but that was only because the poem had been percolating for days or weeks and suddenly a submission deadline was looming....

Although it might be nice to be more prolific in order to submit to more journals, I strongly doubt that a greater quantity would ensure a greater quality of work. Not for me, at least.


Matt Q 04-06-2021 05:55 AM

I've done this over another forum most years since I started writing poetry about 8 years ago. I'm currently five poems deep into my sixth NaPoWriMo.

In large part I see it as practice. I've definitely improved as a poet as a result of taking part in these challenges. Of course, at 8 years in, I'm still a relative newbie, and I still have a lot of improving to do. Still, personally, I would say that a greater quantity does ensure a greater quality of work -- just a bit further down the line.

Incidentally, the goal in NaPo isn't to produce a perfect poem every day. It's a one-day draft. A first stab. You still may end up spending weeks or months on that poem at a later point -- or you may throw it in the bin forever. Seen as practice, though, even if the draft is one that goes nowhere, there's still been a benefit to writing it.

That said, there are usually a number of drafts worth taking forward at the end of it, plus ideas, images, metaphors that will end up in future poems. And I want to say these sometimes come at a higher-than-average rate when I'm focussed on writing a poem a day. It's possible to get in the zone.

It's also a great low-stakes context in which to experiment, try new things and even to have fun. Related to this, having a deadline can force you to take on an idea you normally wouldn't have thought worth pursuing, but because it's the only idea you have that day you have no choice, which can sometimes take you to interesting places. Sometimes not, too, of course :)

Yves S L 04-06-2021 07:03 AM

I did NaPo once just to see what it is like. From the quantity/quality point of view, I think of poetry writing to be a sum of a collection of subskills/subroutines/subpractices, and I think it is useful from a technical perspective to bring up a subskill to a high level of speed and quantity and quality, and what NaPo demonstrates is which subskill/subroutines/subpractices are already at a high enough speed/quantity/quality to be consistently relied upon in a month of frantic deadlines, but then one does not depend upon a particular month to try this out, unless one very much needs a emotional support network to get through the work.

One basic subskill/subroutine/subpractice might center soley on idea generation, another might be finding a form for an initial idea, or a small form like a triolet or the American sentence which allows one to practice various things simultaneously within a small scope (finding an idea, finding images, finding form, finding music, attention to detail, etc. etc)

Roger Slater 04-06-2021 07:29 AM

Unless you're going to post/share your poem-a-day, there's no particular reason that you need to do it during poetry month. If you feel it would be a worthwhile exercise, you can pick whatever month you like. I tried it once in the context of a small private children's poetry group I belong to online, and showing your daily efforts to other people seemed to be an important part of the exercise. I can't remember if anything I wrote during that month was particularly good, but I do believe one or two ultimately turned into keepers. The exercise did serve as a reminder that you can make yourself write when you don't "feel like it," and that sometimes the feeling only kicks in after you have forced yourself to begin.

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