Okay, everyone, we made it! Woot woot! Happy Last Day of National Poetry Month.
The final prompts of National Poetry Month 2012 . . . Robert Lee Brewer recommends "a fade away poem"; Maureen Thorson suggests a poem with several statements (at least three) beginning "I remember"; and Andrea Boltwood says: "Write a new-perspective poem. Take something big and make it small, take something ugly and make it pretty, take something happy and make it sad — any new perspective will do."
Thanks to all three of you for providing prompts all month. Many, MANY poems got written across the world because of your suggestions. Brava and bravo!
Below is an "I remember" poem á là Maureen. Not remembrances from everyday life, however, but recollections from the myriad lives we spend behind our closed eyelids.
I Remember Dreams
That's really more like a notebook freewrite than a completed poem. This is a meditation I've wanted to commit to paper for a long time. It's because of being in the daily poem-writing mode that is NaPoWriMo that I've finally been able to get this down. It will surely go through many versions before it's done. At the moment, I still have no idea where it will go. Or what it's about.
To move to the next item on today's agenda, let me give you some background on how Catherine and I know each other. On May 28 of last year, I wrote in the blog about an in-class poetry-writing exercise that had worked particularly well in my Beginning Poetry Writing class. I posted the instructions for the exercise as well as some examples of what my students and I had written during a fifteen-minute period. This exercise was based on borrowing words from a single paragraph from the story "VIVA!" by Erin McReynolds, which appeared in the Winter 2011 issue of the North American Review, where I serve as Editor.
In the comments to that blog post, someone I didn't know responded with this: "I am a graduate student in literature and creative writing. I have been looking for things to pull me out of my comfort zone, so to speak. This is a great exercise. Although I wouldn't hold my effort up against the ones posted above, I thought I would share what your exact exercise and 10 or fifteen minutes yielded for me." The poem she shared from having tried my exercise was very good.
That graduate student was Catherine Pritchard Childress from East Tennessee State University. We came to be facebook friends and in December 2011, I posted a reprise of the writing exercise with several more poems Catherine had written from that same exercise. Eventually, I accepted a later version of one of these poems to publish in the North American Review.
Thinking about doing NaPoWriMo this year, I realized that I had never finished it before because I wasn't accountable to anyone besides myself; so easy to say, "oh well, can't do it." Since I have gained great admiration for Catherine's poetry, I asked her to do the Poem-a-Day Challenge with me. We would keep each other honest and provide motivation to get a poem done each day. As you have seen if you've been keeping up with our work this month, it's been a marvelous buddy system for us.
Anyway, I suggested to Catherine that we take the entire column from Erin McReynolds's story from which the original exercise was mined and see if we could each discover or uncover a visual found poem in it, what people also call an altered-page poem or an erasure poem. Below are our resulting poems.
These poems might easily fit under Andrea's prompt above to find a "new perspective." In this case, this would refer to a new perspective on text that both of us had worked with before. A lot of fun, actually. Especially the making of the visual artifact.
Our featured blog today is The Found Poetry Review. Not actually a NaPoWriMo site though FPR did run a National Poetry Month found-poetry program throughout the US, called The Found Poetry Project, in which "found poetry kits" were seeded in many locations across the country to teach people about found poetry and encourage them to find found poems and submit them to be published on the project's website. Fun. Take a look at the found poems that have been coming in from people who are probably not usually connected to poetry.
Well, friends. That's it for this year's NaPoWriMo and Poem-a-Day Challenge. It's been a tremendous lot of fun. First time I've ever made it all the way through (in the past, I would consider myself lucky if I finished with more than three or four poems); sincerest thanks to Catherine Pritchard Childress for being my writing NaPoWriMo buddy and being someone I would be accountable to if I didn't write a poem a day. I enjoyed your poems very much, especially the ones spoken by and about women from the Bible. Good luck with your poems; you and they will go far.
I hope you enjoyed reading poems here during National Poetry Month. I also hope you will continue to read poems all year. And then write a poem a day next April, 2013. Please leave a comment below, okay? Thanks. Ingat.
#amreading: SKELETON HILL, by Peter Lovesey
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