Monday, April 30, 2007

NaPoWriMo & Thoughts about Writing a Book

I didn't blog *too* much about this, but I wrote 30 poems in thirty days.  Yes, a poem a day.  I saw Deborah Ager did this as well.  Her thoughts about the outcome is similar to my thoughts.

The main thing I learned (though I knew this) is that if I *need* to write a poem, I can. 
I hadn't mentioned this, but one thing I realized at the Field's End Writers Conference was I realized if someone *wants* to write a book (novel, book of poems, memoir, etc), they can.  There is nothing stopping you except you.  I heard stories from ex-lawyers who were now publishing books, Malachy McCourt wrote his first book at 66.  Last year, I remember a Karen Joy Fowler who wrote THE JANE AUSTEN BOOK CLUB said in her own words that of her writing group, she wasn't the best, she wasn't the most educated, she wasn't the one who wrote the fastest, she was just the one who continued to show up and write.  She was persistent and she persevered. 
As for poetry, I thought like Deborah I'd list the titles of my new poems from April 1 - April 30th (If there's 2 stars by it, then it has possibilities and may go on to be a "real poem" -- did you hear that Pinocchio, a real poem!-- if there's only one star then it's a maybe and if there's no star(s) then I it's the bottom of the barrel, the sludge in the coffeepot)
I've said in these next two years I am going to explore new genres and write in new ways.  If I don't write a book it's not for any reason except that I let myself off the hook and didn't want it bad enough. 
1)  Plot Driven**
2)  When it is spring*
3)  In Your Living Room, After a Walk From the Coffeeshop We Wonder About God*
4)  Morning Run at Mount St. Helens*
5)  After Leaving the Water on in the Upstairs Bathroom or Warped Sonnet for a Mermaid** 
6) Reading Poetry at the Beach* 
7)  Poet Dreaming (this ended up as my bus poem) **
8)  The End of Lent * (maybe or maybe 1/2 a star)
9)  Everyone is starting to notice *
10) The Closest Voice to Prayer **
11)  Say Anything * (Needs a lot of editing but gets extra credit for mentioning John Cusack)
12)  Song of the Sixth Sin *
13)  Air & Angels** (one of my favorite poems b/c it was written after Annette Spaulding-Convy's reading on the ride home, how we used a penlight to see how fast we were going because we thought the dash light was broken --it wasn't, just dimmed).
14)  Maybe the Numbers Don't Succeed *
15)  Thoughts on My Lacking Spirituality ** (I'm currently working with and revising this one)
16)  Ode to Everything **
17)  What I Will Tell the Readers *
18)  Still My Life
19)  Goodbye Stranger ** (and yes, I wrote this listening to Supertramp)
20)  Cake *
21)  Submission Guidelines** (I like this one, I stole most of it...)
22)  Large Optimistic Bowl **
23)  After a Life of Eating Dangerously *
Note: these next poems I'm still too close to so I can't really tell if they are genius with a capital G or garbage with a capital G--
24)  Outside the lilacs are blooming,
25)  Longish Prayer for Fall
26)  On Predicting Violence
27)  Untended Garden
28)  A Guitar to Get Lost in
29)  Trying To Rewrite the Ending
30)  The End of Language
Wishing you all future poems...


  1. Congrats on the 30/30! There are some fun titles in here.

  2. Thanks, Valerie. I wonder if I could write a poem with just the titles. ;-)

  3. I attempted the poem-a-day thing this month (I don't like saying NaPoWriMo, because it's such a clunky-sounding acronym, also because I work at a large corporation that uses lots of obscure acronyms in day-to-day business -- but anyway).

    As the month went by, I gradually lagged a little behind, but I managed to write 24 poems in 30 days, and started one more on April 30th that's not finished yet. I'm sure I wouldn't have written any of the two dozen poems if I hadn't been trying to do it for the poem-a-day month.

    All of the 24 poems I finished are "keepers," in a basic sense, though some are tiny and fairly minimal, a few lines, a couple of images. A few are more hefty maybe. (There was one other that I figured out wasn't going anywhere, and I abandoned it unfinished. Needs more time to ripen before it's cookable.)

    Many years ago a poet I knew suggested reading all the titles of a book of poems, in sequence, as a kind of exercise, to see what kind of poem they would make. It works better with the work of some poets than with others. For example, James Wright's poems have a lot of really interesting titles. Bill Knott, on the other hand, titles lots of his short poems "Poem."

  4. Lyle,

    congrats on your basic sense "keepers." ;-)

    I've seen poets who have done that with titles. It's an interesting exercise.



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