National Poetry Month

2014-04-02 kitchen

Once again, it’s April, National Poetry Month, and I’m beginning the Poem-a-Day Challenge. Some years are more successful than others for me, and I do this best when I know others are doing it or if I have some interior goal. For example, last year’s challenge was an idea gone wrong. I did it even though I was under (looking back) incredible stress caring for my mom in the last months of her life. I wrote anyway, and there were days when that poem draft was the only thing that held me together for the day. Those poems turned out to be highly successful, but as it turns out, no more so than poems developed from past years. I didn’t add it up until now, but out of twelve poems accepted this academic year, six are from 2013’s PAD challenge, five were from previous years’ challenges, and one, a sonnet remix for an upcoming anthology, was written to fit the project.  Granted, I had a large gap before this year when I did not send out poems, but for whatever reason, this push to write poetry in April works for me. I have since added the November chapbook challenge to my schedule, but I can’t say it is wildly successful. It did not produce a chapbook that could hang together thematically, mainly due to the random nature of the prompts. In any case, November has produced some poems I am very happy with, and I will be surprised if none of them get placed in journals.

So, I have manipulated things this semester so that the pressure is off and PAD can actually be a writing priority. Today is day three of the challenge. The first draft was so-so and the second is better. Time to write and see if I can actually put together a cohesive poetry collection.

The photo at the top is there because I liked the angles and because you never know what’s inside cabinets, not really.

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Author of the poetry collection The Tethered Ground and Professor of English at Missouri State University. Contact me for readings or for workshops on writing/publishing and on teaching writing online.

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