Praise for Spring & NaPoWriMo
In reading the insightful discourse on online intimacies, I found myself thinking deeply about the importance of the online community for poetry. Mainly I was thinking about the odd and blossoming event that has happened every April for the past five years: National Poetry Writing Month. Now, we all know it’s National Poetry Month, but to some poet/bloggers, it is also the month where they challenge themselves to write one poem for each day of the month. And post their journey online. Founded by Maureen Thorson and inspired by National Novel Writing Month, the participants are now upwards of fifty and the fevered attempt to write everyday is celebrated, sometimes embarrassingly (as when I participated), in full view of the public eye.
Going against the need most writers’ have to hold their poems close to their chest until the poem is revised, revised, and revised again, this lovely movement allows seasoned writers and new writers to flex both their writing muscle and their humility. When I participated (this April presented too many time commitments), I found that although it was difficult and at times excruciating, I actually wrote many poems that I later revised and published. AND, I started to look forward to writing everyday, a habit that I still do, even if it’s just a line or a thought here and there. The other part of this project that made me so thrilled was that I started to look forward to reading everyone else’s daily poems with eagerness. Some wrote on one theme, some even tried to do two a day. And yes, these poems weren’t perfect. They needed the attention that only time and reflection can add to a poem, but they were honest and raw and wonderfully wild first drafts. Buzzing fits of poetic mania.
And it continues. More poets every year. If you go to Maureen’s blog Squash Blossom! she lists the participating poets in her blogroll. To quote Maureen, “I just sort of started doing it in 2003, while I was still in law school. I had read about a NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) movement that was held in the prior November, and thought that, as long as April was National Poetry Month, I might as well start doing something similar.” Okay. Let’s stop there. Did she just say that she started writing a poem a day while in LAW SCHOOL?! Wow.
(Let's insert this here: I can barely write a poem when I get devastated by the news, or feel too busy with the bully business of life.)
So, today's shout out is to those brave enough to write a poem a day and stick out National Poetry Writing Month. There are many people participating and now that the drunken tizzy of weather has begun and it truly feels like spring, maybe I might try my hand at it too. (A bit late, but fully enthusiastic.) Tonight, I got home late from work, bought some ridiculous, have-no-shame daffodils, turned off the news, and now I am going to write a poem. Maybe you should too?
Ada Limón is the author of Lucky Wreck (2006), This Big Fake World (2006), Sharks in the Rivers (2010), and Bright Dead Things (2015), a finalist for the National Book Award and the National Books Critics Circle Award. She earned an MFA from New York University, and is the recipient of...