Category Archives: Agenda

National Poetry Month

My Late Start is Right on Time for Me

If you didn’t know, April is National Poetry Month. My life is such that I forgot again, for the second year in a row. Or, I should day, I remembered late again. But I’m back on track — mostly.

I won’t find any of my old poetry groups to join this year. I’m not back to that level yet. But I will post until the end of the month, a poem daily. It will be easy, when I compare it with all the crazy art things I’ve gotten into these days, with art and life.

Things are pretty heavy for me personally, right now. And this poetry will help me to write through some things that are bogging me down in my brain. Hopefully, (I’m smiling now), I will come out the other side with a clearer perspective of what should be my next move in life.

My first poem will be posted later today. It’s from earlier this year but not posted anywhere. I read it in church.

Come see me soon!

It’s been a While

It’s been a while since I’ve posted here, with good reason. Been real busy. I’m excited, though, about April! I’ve got great plans for National Poetry Month in 2011! I’m not signing up to follow any NaPoWriMo prompt activities.

That’s the ‘great’ plan? Yes! Yes it is.

There is so much going on in my life right now until it’s all I can do really to keep up with myself. Daily adventures in work search have me greatly distracted, to say the least. That doesn’t mean I won’t be poeming. Quite the contrary. I’ve decided to try it with a relaxed feel again. No pressure to get a poem written daily to a published prompt.

I signed Up

As for sharing somewhere other than on my site, I’m again signed up with By the way, the site has a whole new look, which is also exciting.

As well, I’ll be tooling around the web to read the poetry of my cyber friends that I follow and new ones I learn of, through and other places I happen upon. I hope to see you guys around.

Writing Through

In one long inhale
since last I wrote here,
I breathed in
the girth of my more
uncomfortable trials.
Now, facing the madness of April,
poetry and other activities,
will I pilfer the marrow
for all fodder
in the delight and challenge
I anticipate encountering,
to exhale here
throughout National Poetry Month.

© 2011 Shari Lynne Smothers

December Cool Down

It’s December and everything seems to be in high gear. It’s all rather exciting. I’ve not given up on posting poems—yet, as I’m still writing them. But the November frenzy of posting at least one poem daily is over. And I’m glad to let that go.

Don’t get me wrong, it was a great deal of fun. I really enjoy the challenge, and I think April and November is a pretty fair and workable spread. So, I’ll likely do it again. But, between those months, I’ll take my time to write better. And I’ll tell you what brought me to this realization.

Painful Observation

As you may already know, the second part of the November PAD Chapbook challenges requires that you submit a small selection of poems to be reviewed. The first step is what sobered me up quickly on the heals of the daily posting schedule: picking the poems to include in my submission set. Reading the poems was enough to let ooze out all my excitement.

Really I was thinking, It’s really amazing what a frenzied state of mind will accept for publishing! Some I read and just let it go that they were really bad; I just blamed it on the frenzy. Some I really liked. And there were others that just stunned me and made me doubt that I’d really clicked the publish button for them.

It will take me longer to publish, now through 31 March, but it’s what must be done. This way, I don’t look back and scare myself so badly.

Selecting the Right Poems

This month, I’m trying to work closer to a theme, which adds more stringent guidelines to the selection criteria. So, I have to pick related ones I like, that are salvageable with the least work.

Editing and Revising

Thankfully I have found several that made me really happy. Not all of them were part of the PAD poems. Still, it did motivate me to continue in hopes that I can carve a few others into an acceptable poem.

To make the editing go more smoothly, I’ve pulled out my favorite poetry mechanics books for review and inspiration. Flipping through my reference books makes me feel confident that I know what I’m doing.

Submitting My Set

If I’m lucky, I’ll be finished well ahead of time so that I can submit and relax for Christmas. I won’t make that promise to myself, just keep working toward it. This way, if it happens that I finish early, it’ll just be a pleasant surprise.

And, the early finish will not be wasted. It’ll give me time to finish tweaking my new look for this site. I want to settle on the look I want before the first of January. We’ll see what happens.

Related Article

Poetic Asides 2010 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Next Steps

Operation Catch Up is Under Way

November’s more than half over and so is my poetry writing for the month. I’m three days behind but that will change in the next day or so.

Reading and Writing Poetry

I feel the need to read, and chat about poetry. So, this afternoon, I’m on my mad dash to write to catch up some. My plan is to split the time with reading and writing until I’m back on track.

There are some really excellent poems being shared at various sites. If you’re not writing but want to read them, be sure to visit the prompt sites that are posted in my sidebar. They really do attract an amazing collection of talent!

Wishing Us Success

I won’t wish us luck. That’s not at all what get’s me through. It’s fun and otherwise extreme perseverance. I mean, there are times when I think about giving up. No—not that really. At times, I let things get in the way, which is very much not a good thing. Especially when you consider the fact that all we need is drafts and not competition for Lucille Clifton or Billy Collins.

I met a lady on twitter who’s writing non-fiction for this month. There’s a lot of writing frenzy this month, which means a lot of energy is generated in all the stress. So I wish us all success, including me for the catching up I’m inflicting on myself. I’ll come up for air, soon as I’m done. Quite likely I’ll tweet it from my highest perch. Get it?

Okay, that joke is either a good sign or a bad one. I can’t say just yet. So, cheers all around! I’ll be visiting blogs soon as I come up for air today and hopefully things are going well for you. Enjoy!

Fun, Frenzied Writing Time

Demons and Saints

Today is Halloween! Yes, there will be masquerades and mayhem and treats and tricks, fun scary times indeed. But nothing will compare to what comes up if we are blessed to wake up tomorrow.

Tomorrow is All Saints Day. It’s the designated day to remember the souls of those gone before us. There are variations on the day but the underpinning theme is similar. Basically, for me it’s the day we remember people who are no longer with us. But that’s just part of what is special about tomorrow.

Heading into the Fray

Today, football, ghosts, goblins, witches, warlocks, miniature football players, batman and superman characters, werewolves, angels, tiny teachers, Frankensteins, ballerinas, a hippie I met this morning; all will celebrate and amp up our imaginations. They are our excuses for increasing our stores of caffeinated sugar, chocolates and some healthy treats too.

Tomorrow, All Saints day, puts a different spin on my contemplations. Remembering spirits of those missed recently and long ago, invokes more sober thoughts. The sentimental tempers the raucous devil-may-care ideations spawned by the replica of Spawn walking down the street.

All Saints day inevitably brings me from memories of people, to thoughts of death in general. Bringing contemplation of what things would be like if they were still here, what they’re doing over there. Wondering if there is a way to find out before I have to go there.

It’s all for good. For tomorrow, November 1st, we dive in to 30 days of writing.

Writing Time

November 1 marks the start of NaNoWriMo for the novelist just aching to get out. The challenge is 50,000 words, (1667 daily) in thirty days.

November 1 marks the start of November PAD Chapbook Challenge. The ambitious poet summons his whit to churn out verses in accord with a prompt a day, for 30 days.

There’s always something going on in the writing realm. I mention these two because I have participated in these and will again this year. Check them out. Find one that interests you. Or do your own thing. But, join the writing time of November.

Get Ready! Get Ready! Get Ready!

For me, like many others, today is a big day. I’m not a trick-or-treater. I won’t be dressing up or handing out candy. I will be thinking about what could possibly come to me tomorrow that will see me write what reads like the inspired writing I’d like it to be.

Today, I’ll be polishing up the last poems for this month, studying my lessons extra long, completing the last tasks on my to-do lists. I’m making room for tomorrow to write, whenever I start, without the expectation of any interruptions. My plan is to eliminate all the known distractions. My goal is to be able to write freely.

Estimating Good Stuff

Work goes on. Life goes on. Shutting out everything is not an option for me. But, clearing up dangling tasks is a good plan since I can be such a procrastinator with my creative writing. I will give my ruminations, and machinations all the room I can create for them. And just go with the flow that issues forth from writing in communion.

Have a great Halloween today. Bless us, here and gone, for All Saints Day on tomorrow. And, I wish you fulfilling writing throughout the month of November.

NaPoWriMo 2010 Update #4: Closing & After

I made it writing a poem daily for National Poetry Month 2010! Whew! I wipe my brow in completing this undertaking. And I salute all the participants for their stick-to-it-iveness. (I did write that out.) You can check them out as many are in my poet blog links.

Writing a poem daily is fun. But, don’t think it’s not a strain. And, writing in public to prompts does not lessen the pressure at all. Still, I’m glad I went the distance.

Now, if you take the time to read my poetry and the prompts, you will see that I came pretty close most of the time. In fact, any deviance from the prompt would be due to misinterpreting the meaning of the prompt. What can I say? It happens. You may also notice that some of the titles leave much to be desired. These are the markings of drafts in the true sense of its meaning.

What’s Next

Now comes the time to review, to edit and revise what I tried to say through my poems this month. I’ll have to see if I can remember how to fit my titles to the poems, like some of the great poetry I read this month. My plan is to revise the poems while keeping them really close to the original poem. It’s the most authentic, and it’s the rules too.

Submitting: If you participated in writing a poem daily and are hoping to be included in the anthology, the submission instructions are up at Read Write Poem. The deadline is May 7, so don’t delay in selecting and preparing your poems according to the guidelines set forth.

And after That

As of today, Read Write Poem is no longer a live site. It’s shut down to new members, to comments, to group activities, to everything except the repository of poems posted there. And what a collection it is, for your reading pleasure! Now’s my chance to go back and read the poems I missed during the month.

I’ve visited several of the community sites that are springing up and being revitalized as a result of the closing of Read Write Poem. They are community sites that offer poem prompts. I find I enjoy using prompts and seeing where they take me. The ones that have my attention so far, are linked in my sidebar by way of their respective banners. They’re worth checking out.

They don’t offer poems daily. For example, Writer’s Island has Saturday prompts with the first one today, already posted.

Time for Review

Posting about poets I enjoy: For my next one, it’s down to two from my bookshelves. Either way, I’ll be reading and exploring someone that I enjoy a great deal. Getting to know the writing of others is big schooling for me.

Poetry books on tap: Frances Mayes’ The Discovery of Poetry and John Drury’s Creating Poetry. I do this because 30 day poem sprints always make me want to go back to school.

What’s on your poetry agenda? What poetry communities have captured your attention? Leave a comment about what’s next for you, or link to your blog post.