Sunday, April 06, 2008
Some thoughts on NaPoWriMo
So, we're on day 6 of writing a poem a day for National Poetry Month.
Here are some thoughts on the process --
1) First, I have to be honest, I've been writing a poem a day since St. Patty's day with about 6 other poets, so by the time April 1st rolled around, I actually felt a little "warmed up" to the process. If I do this again next year (which I'm guessing I will), I will probably start on St. Patrick's day again as I like the extra time to get me moving (this is similar to me starting a New Year's Resolution a few days before New Year's just to get a head start. I know, I'm such a Capricorn).
2) It's not easy for me to post these poems on my blog. They are new and fresh and pretty much unrevised. In a way it's like posting my arteries on my blog and hoping no one points out the plaquey build-up.
3) The revision process-- I am a huge believer and fan of revision. I've never been from the Allen Ginsberg school of "First thought, best thought" (though those of you who are quite familiar with Ginsberg's work will know that he was always revising especially with "HOWL" (which he spent at least a year revising). However, there is a certain energy that first drafts of poems have the trick is to revise without losing that spark.
4) The poems I've posted on my blog have been revised slightly, but not enough for me to consider them ready to send out to the world. For that to happen, I need to sit with the poems awhile, continue revising them and make sure they are smart and pretty babies on their own because many times I just love them because I'm their mother.
5) What I've been learning-- Since it's baseball season again, let's talk poetry as a sport. I've learned the more I warm up and practice at writing, the better I am. I learn that the more I sit down dedicatedly (my word) to write a poem, the easier they come and the better prepared I am for the moment. Just as a baseball player practices and doesn't just show up on the field expecting a homerun, I've noticed that writing each day can produce a similar effect--there are more home runs and less strike outs when I show up. Of course, some of this comes back to quantity, if I write more, the more I have to choose from when I revise.
6) I've learned sometimes when I think there isn't a poem anywhere near me, there is. I've learned that poems sometimes come from thin air. Like The Midnight Disease, as I look back on that poem, I have no idea where it came from. Where was I pulling these images from? How did I move from line to line? I have no idea. It was written from the place of "flow," that timeless place where you're writing and clocks stop.
7) Of all the poems I've written (all 6), I like The Midnight Disease best.
8) I appreciate your notes and good words on my poems when I post them. It keeps me going. So thank you for the energy to write another one and keep posting.
Written by Kelli Russell Agodon