Thursday, April 02, 2009

So...how's it going?




I find that doing a poem a day shows me that I can write more than I do.


I think it's so interesting putting a little pressure on the muse, many times s/he comes through. So what does that say about me when it's not April? It says I can try a little harder, push a little more and write a little longer.


To me, writing a poem a day is like being a magician that constantly pulls a rabbit out of a hat. Sometimes that rabbit might be a rock or a fingernail though, or a wet sponge, but something is coming out of that hat. You may get a diamond ring or you may get an empty can, but that's kind of the beauty of this exercise, the surprise of what you find in that hat each day.


If you chose not to do a poem a day, how come?
If you chose to do a poem a day, how come?


It's kind of embarrassing posting poems after such little revision. But there is something satisfying to it as well. You can see a poem from stage one.


And I like the energy of these newer poems. I have sucked the energy out of a poem by over-revising it. I have done this many times. It's nice for me to see these new poems with all their flaws and frumpled clothing and love them for who they are. Not the perfect, but the just born. For me, the perfectionist, it reminds me that sometimes I take a poem too far, revise more than I should.

But how to find that point? I wish I had the answer. I think if I hear my poem crying like painful e-string of a violin, I've gone too far. But sometimes poems don't scream, but whimper. I need to listen for them a little more, it's less about what I want and more about what they need.


So...how's it going?

8 comments:

Nic Sebastian said...

NaPo reminds me of Lent, in that you have to gear up to be disciplined about one particular thing for a whole month, and pretty much keep it front and center all day long, all month long.

I couldn't do it all year long but NaPo does make me wish I were one of those disciplined writers who write something - anything, not necessarily a whole poem -- every day. They establish the habit and their writing being becomes used to being there - all there - at a set time every day. I'm going to start training myself. Soon.

Erin said...

Well, two days down, two poems penned (or perhaps typed is more accurate). I'm trying this, but I can assure you that it is testing my ability to hang in there and we're still so early in it.

Why? Well, I'm just not up to creative brilliance on a daily basis. I'm going to have to consider accomplishment if I can comply at all. Be interesting to see what constant tilling turns up.

Kells said...

Nic--

RE: They establish the habit and their writing being becomes used to being there - all there - at a set time every day.

***The older I get, the more I believe this. It's kind of like training to hit a home run, the more you practice, the more chances you have to knock the ball out of the park.

I'm going to start training myself. Soon.
****How about April 3...I'm sure there will be another prompt (with your name on it?) ;-)

Thanks for the note.

*********

Well, I'm just not up to creative brilliance on a daily basis. I'm going to have to consider accomplishment if I can comply at all. Be interesting to see what constant tilling turns up.

***I think the fact that someone gets something on a piece of paper that they can call a poem each day = success. They do not need to be perfect or brilliant, just written.

It's a month where William Stafford comes to mind and if you can't write a poem, lower your standards! I know I will as the month goes on...esp. if I have some place to be!

Happy Poetry month!

Radish King said...

MY E-STRING IS NOT PAINFUL!!!

That said, I'm not poem-a-daying this year. Last year it danged near did me in as I was obsessing every day about THE POEM and writing quickly which goes completely against my established writing rhythms. I stuck with it, I didn't cheat (for instance writing one line poems) and at the end I only had the satisfaction of sticking with it. The rest was crap.

I am a great believer in writing crap and of writing every day, which I do, but not entire poems. I think we all have to write crap to move forward. I guess write through to the next poem. This just wasn't the way for me. The poem that needed to be written got lost in all the hurry. It takes me from 6 weeks to 6 months to write a rough draft.

I'm glad I tried it once, though. Maybe. But never again!

Rebecca

Nancy said...

Thanks, Kelli, for your great blog and encouragement! I'm already behind, but I'm aboard for the month. Like Rebecca, my usual rhythm is much slower, but I think this push is healthy for me. I don't expect good poems to flow out or even appear. It helps to think about it as a workout for me as a poet. If any words or lines or poems are keepers -- that's a bonus.

Dorla Moorehouse said...

I wrote my 3rd poem a few hours ago, and I'll be posting it at my blog soon.

Last year I made it almost all the way and gave up due to grad school responsibilities.

Yesterday, I quit my full-time job and will be working part-time at a bookstore. I think I will manage to finish this year.

Kells said...

Rebecca-- I think Jeannine feels as you do about it. There is a weirdness about forcing out a poem every day that seems to be at odds with the creative process. I struggle with it. Like today, I think today's poem will suck. I'm already annoyed w/it.

By the way, your e-string is always incredible. ;-)

*
Nancy, yes, the workout and finding "keepers" in our writing practice.

For me, I find I may have a great line and then it never gets used because it never finds a place to fit back into another poem. I know a lot of poets who work by writing and using fragments (and I love their work) I wish I was more skilled at this process. Thx for your note!

* *

Dorla--

RE: Yesterday, I quit my full-time job and will be working part-time at a bookstore. I think I will manage to finish this year

***Now that's NaPoWriMo dedication! ;-)

Good luck to you this month (and with your new job, sounds great!) I'll check out your blog for your poems.


Thanks for everyone chiming in... it's an interesting little experiment this NaPoWriMo. I'm the rat running through maze hoping for cheese.

Linda Rodriguez said...

Kelli,

I'm coming to your blog late (April 4th). I'd already decided not to do NaPoWriMO. But I am doing the challenge my friend Denise Low has set up as poet laureate of Kansas--writing a poem on a set topic and sending them to her as part of a contest every week. Four a month fits better with my schedule this year than every day. I've done the first one and sent it to Denise. Will post it on my blog later.

I'll just watch you in amazement as you meet your own challenge.

Linda

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