Saturday, March 30, 2013

April is National Poetry Writing Month

Here is another writing exercise that some of you may like to give a whirl.  April is National Poetry Writing Month or, NaPoWriMo.  While I don’t believe it is sponsored by the Office of Letters & Light (the brain trust behind, National Novel Writing Month), I do believe that it has their blessing.  The goal is to write a poem, every day during the month of April.  Here is where you can find all the details:

As the, ‘About’ section explains that, “NaPoWriMo, or National Poetry Writing Month, is an annual project in which participating poets attempt to write a poem a day for the month of April.  NaPoWriMo was founded in 2003, when poet Maureen Thorson decided to take up the challenge (modeled after NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month), and challenged other poets to join her. Since then, the number of participants has gotten larger every year, and many writers’ organizations, local, national and even international, organize NaPoWriMo activities.”

A wise carpenter once told me that, “You have to have the right tool for the job.”  This is true with any job – including writing poetry.  I am not going to boor you with a review of iambic pentameter or the difference between a Haiku and an Ode; you can review that for yourself here:  It will help you choose the right tool for the job.  That said, beware.  Poetry is a dangerous thing.  For me it is best when it uses the least amount of words to convey the greatest amount of meaning.  It is raw.  Like the emotions that it represents.  Stark naked and quivering finding its strength by putting one word in front of the next.  Poetry looks into the corners and shins a light.  It helps us to explore these dark places to nurture or to kill whatever may be living there.  It does not have to rhyme nor does it have to have meter – but it must be honest.  It must tell the truth.  Illustrate.  Illuminate.  Poetry; however, can mean different things to different people.  It becomes truly dangerous when it means something to you. 

Case in point, Charles Bukowski, in his collection of poems, “Love is a Dog From Hell”, could have told you about a woman that he is in love with.  He could have said that her behavior is just this side of normal at times but that he is captivated by her.  He could say that her passion, her soul is honest and true but instead he wrote…

…she’s mad but she’s magic, there is no lie in her fire.

That’s dangerous.  That’s real.  In those two sentences from, “An Almost Made Up Poem”, Bukowski illustrates not only the truth about her but also a truth about himself.  He is in love with this woman and he says so in these two beautifully crafted lines.  It illustrates the raw truth & emotion that a well-crafted line can evoke.

So, am I in?  I’m thinking seriously about it.  If I decide to press onward then I will only do so for myself.  As I have already established, poetry is dangerous and while I am pretty much an open book there is some writing that is just for me.  Poems are like that.  It’s just less hazardous that way.

April, it appears, is shaping up to be a dangerous month.  As always, misery loves company, if you’re in welcome to the madness.  If not, I understand.  It is dangerous work.

“Danger’s my middle name.” – Austin Powers

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