I can hardly believe I have done it, but I have! 30 poems in 30 days is definitely a record for me. National Poetry Writing Month or 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 become larger every year, and many writers’ organisations, local, national and even international, organise NaPoWriMo activities. Maureen puts daily prompts up on the site if poets need them. As well as the official group a fellow poet, Charlotte Henson set up a group called NaPoWriMo Sharing Group on Facebook. Poets were encourage to post their poems daily and read and comment/give feedback on other people’s poetry. I think without this group many of us would not have reached the final day.
Although Charlotte herself fell by the wayside as did one of two others mainly due to their busy schedules, most of those that started actually completed the project. Writing poetry is not easy and writing a poem a day is positively difficult. For some poets, they were quick to stress that their poems were only first drafts and needed more work. For those like myself who are lucky enough to have the time to devote to their work, their poems were presented as finished.
I do like to edit my poems. A lot of my poems start off in longhand in a notebook. They are then transferred onto the computer where I will check the spelling, punctuation, line lengths, metre and rhyme if neccesary. I will then leave it for a couple of hours while I do something else, longer if I have time and go back to it and read it out aloud, this usually results in minor alterations. I will then go over each word assessing if it is neccessary to the understanding of the poem. I do sometimes use words I like the sound of that have little to do with the rest of the poem and they have to go, the proverbial ‘killing your babies’ process. A final polish and the poem is complete.
I do know of poets who edit their work ten or more times, one even confessed to thirty re-writes but to me if it needs that much re-writing then you should start again from scratch! I have enjoyed writing some of the form prompts in particular the sonnet and the elegy forms. I personally also like the French inspired triolet and villanelle forms which I managed to squeeze in on days 5 and 14. Day 5 I wrote ‘Aids-A Villanelle’ and on day 14, Merlin the Cat – A Triolet. On the last day I managed to incorporate the daily prompt of writing a poem with three things that ‘I remember’ which I wrote as part of the poem, ‘Time to say Goodbye.’
This has been a difficult, but on the whole a stimulating, enjoyable project which was really helped along by Charlotte’s group. I have now added a lot of the poets to my facebook account and am following some of them on their blogs, here at Word Press and also on Twitter. Some of the poets have expressed a desire to meet up and the first meeting arranged is at Charlotte Henson’s poetry open mic night in Bury. It takes place in the Malt Bar from 7.30pm on Sunday, 6th May 2012.
I would definitely recommend any poet to try this and as it is an annual event there is always next year to look forward to. I am going to look into learning how to publish an e-book of my 30 poems, which I believe can be done with perseverance. Tick that one off the list then… I have also taken delivery today (30th April) of the books called, ‘Ten of the Best‘ of which I am one of the poets chosen to have approximately 20 pages of my poetry published by United Press. The book costs £9.99 and I intend donating any profit to our local blind charity of which my mother is a member.