Thursday, March 18, 2010

NaPoWriMo: A Poem a Day in April

After much internal back and forth, I decided to join in on this year's NaPoWriMo, or National Poetry Writing Month in April.  My poetry writing goes in wild ebbs and flows anyway, so if I'm in the groove, a poem a day will work out just fine.  If I'm not in the groove, well, I'll end up with two or three rather mangled pieces of work that resemble confused shopping lists for the hardware store.

There's a poem idea in there somewhere ...

Anyway, NaPoWriMo seems to be rather less structured than the kindred NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month which happens in November.  During NaNoWriMo, there is a nice, neat, online portal to join and track one's novel writing.  For NaPoWriMo, there seem to be many different outlets and places for daily inspiration, so a writer needs to choose which they will follow for the month.  Or not, since nothing says you have to follow anyone's prompts to be involved.

After even more internal back and forth, I chose to go with Poetic Asides over at Writer's Digest.  This is a site/blog I follow on a semi-regular basis, anyway, and I like the idea of writing towards the goal of possible publication on the site (the format for this year can be found under the 2010 April Poem a Day Challenge).

I believe my own personal challenge is how (or if) I will be able to stay within my genre and still follow the prompts.  I'm willing to call all of science fiction, fantasy, and horror as in bounds for this exercise, but I'd much rather find a strong theme for all the poems, and try to stick with that.  This is probably because I've been educated to think of collections of poems as possible chapbooks.  Having a chapbook to point to (after editing, of course) would be a wonderful outcome for all the work of pushing through the month.  But in reality, I'll be very happy if the month produces one really good, solid poem.

So why write poetry?  That is probably the fodder for another post entirely, but the short version for me is that I wrote poetry before I wrote fiction.  Poetry has always intrigued me, and the power of a single word in the hands of a skilled poet is an amazing thing to behold.  It uses a different part of the brain than my fiction writing, but hones the kind of attention to detail and appreciation for words as art that makes text interesting for anyone.  I am a member of the Science Fiction Poetry Association, and have had a poem or two published there in the past.  But I've let the form languish recently as I've been concentrating on writing my novels.  I think some poem writing could blow some much needed fresh air into my current fiction projects.

And who knows, maybe a great poem will demand to be written in the process.


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