I did it! I wrote a poem every day during the month of September!
You’ll notice I didn’t post a poem for each day; in fact, I stopped posting after September 10. This was another success in that it led directly to the above-mentioned success. By letting go of posting, I freed myself from the double tyrannies of time and quality. More than once I crawled into bed and realized I hadn’t written that day, so I took a few moments to scrawl something in the back of my crossword book. This worked surprisingly well, because I found myself revising when I later transcribed those notes into my writing journal.
I didn’t produce much of great merit, but I learned valuable things about process. Many end-of-the-day scribbles captured poems that had formed in mind earlier and might otherwise have been lost. And because I periodically comb through my writing journal for inspiration, some of those phrases or ideas might yield something better down the road.
All in all, it was a good experience and one I plan to leverage come November, when I’ll piggy-back on the energy of NaNoWriMo to propel my own writing.
We’re a third of the way through September and I’ve managed to compose a poem every day so far. Those short poems have done a good job of keeping my head in the game when I don’t have much time to write.
Willow is the emo child of the Deciduous family, bangs forever hanging across her face.
While walking on my street – a street that goes nowhere and leads to nothing, just circles around the neighborhood and back on itself – I saw a pair of crew socks in the road like they’d fallen off the roof of a car or been dropped.
Separated, slumped, bedraggled, abandoned – I felt as lost as they appeared and as full of unanswered questions.
Yesterday’s poem deserves a post all its own. It was inspired by greeting designs printed by Egg Press, including one from a young woman I first met when she was a baby. To no one’s surprise, she continues to do amazing things. (Nia is also featured in a video on the press web site.)
Hear, now:/Here. Now. (after Sonya Montenegro and Nia Musiba)
Listen. The sun is speaking and we are dancing, hands curved above us, swimming in the star-washed air.
August wasn’t a total bust, writing-wise, but I didn’t set any records. I’ve decided it was a fallow period in which my brain rested from writing, though I did a fair amount of reading and tending to domestic matters.
September doesn’t belong to any special writing category that I know of, probably because it’s when a lot of people go back to school. But it is a 30-day month, and thus ripe for some kind of writing challenge. Indeed, a quick search turned up a boatload of September writing challenge prompts, as well as a number of generic 30-day writing challenges that fit.
In the spirit of those challenges, I’ve decided I want to write something each day this month, just to keep myself going. Work and family have demanded a lot of time of late, so I am composing in my head during small, stolen moments and trying to commit the results to memory until I can record them.
Here are the first three days’ efforts, followed by a photo from the garden.
This day has been too many weeks long; this morning I thought of a poem, but now it’s gone.
Of time and timing
I have lost five poems for every poem I’ve written because they came to me at inopportune moments.
Tired and frustrated, I pen short poems that feel like haiku but aren’t: a new American form?
Today C/2020 F3 (a.k.a. NEOWISE) is a mere 64 million miles from Earth on its way through the solar system. It can be seen (weather and light conditions permitting) in the northern hemisphere, though I haven’t been so fortunate. Photo courtesy of Susanna Barricklow-Arvin. (Thanks, cuz!)
I found this poem in a post by Jason Thayer on Brevity’s non-fiction blog. I wasn’t looking for a poem; I read the post intent on trying out the single-sentence prose form it describes. But the poem wouldn’t let me write anything else until I found it, like a toddler determined to play hide-and-seek regardless of the circumstances.
Bereaved (after Jason Thayer)
in the morning I see our neighbor
swim her sadness, isolation
knowing hers alone
with loss comes communication
I could not stop wondering
what, how long, whether
there were days she didn’t look
across ill-defined property
the big dark house
walk past my window
if I linger too long
my eyes well
We’ve reached the final day of Lexington Poetry Month, and it feels bittersweet. I’m going to miss posting at the LexPoMo site, but it will also be nice not to feel so pressed to write and post. Since I only found time to read a handful of the more than 2,000 poems posted there this month, I plan to go back during July and give them the attention they deserve. That’s the truly sweet part about LexPoMo being over, now that I think about it.
Today’s poem was drawn from Stanley Kuntz’ “Halley’s Comet” and Stephen Burt’s discussion of it in The Poem is You, pp. 169-73.