Category Archives: Poetry

NaPoWriMo Update #3: Important News!

I was hoping someone would step up and say it isn’t so. But it didn’t happen. Read Write Poem soon will be nothing more than a fine repository of fine writing and writer links. You see it’s closing after April 30, 2010.

The forum was started on Read Write Poem’s site to discuss the closing, the sentiment, the next steps.

What comes after Read Write Poem closes was anyone’s guess. In this information post at his blog, Bearly Audible, Neil Reid has links that really need to be explored.

And he’s gone much further! Neil has done this awesome thing of opening a new community site, We Write Poems, as an option for Read Write Poem members to join. If you’re familiar with the writers at Read Write Poem, or become familiar by reading the postings there, you’ll be happy to know that several of the talents from RWP are participating in Neil’s new site. That is pretty cool!

So are many others stepping up with ways to continue doing what brings them joy. Among them, Rob Kistner returning to his Writer’s Island for regular weekly prompts. And, he presents links to other prompt sites for our participation.

No Longer Active, Still Vital

This is all quite new to me. Once I decided to post more of my writing and engage poetry more fully, it quickly became clear that it wasn’t something I wanted to do alone. I may have mentioned how thrilled I was to have finally gotten up the nerve to tap into some great poetry communities.

When I went for it, Read Write Poem was one of the first ones I found that I braved. I will always be glad I started there. Having the opportunity to continue with this community of poem writers is just a big ol’ gift I eagerly accept.

I’m keeping the Read Write Poem badge in my sidebar as long as it remains online for exploration. And I’ll add other badges for sites I participate in, first up We Write Poems, coming soon.

Everything related to RWP’s NaPoWriMo event is in place. You can visit this link to read about the plans for the online anthology of some poems from this month’s submissions.

Write 30 Poems in 30 Days

With two days left before NaPoWriMo begins, I’ve been thinking about what goes into writing a prompted poem daily for a month. One key is to use routines wherever you can. You know what you have to do and you get used to going through the steps. Breaking down my strategy, I found that a routine surfaced, and I want to share it.

Eight Steps to a Poem a Day

  1. Read the prompt as early as possible. Give it time to marinate. Let your subconscious have first crack at it, while you go through your day.
  2. Consciously dismiss all concerns and distractions at writing time. You may even try saying aloud, “Time to write a poem.” Focus on the prompt and how you interpret it.
  3. When a prompt takes you to a particular place, that’s where you start writing. If that doesn’t happen, write whatever thoughts come to mind. In this stage of associative writing (I call it that) you’re stirring your personal knowledge from the bottom up, and things can surface that may have been dormant for many years. It happens and it is quite useful.
  4. Eventually something will strike you. That’s the theme you wan to give your attention to and develop.
  5. Find the sense of what you’re hearing in the words. Write words that are fully expressive of what you’re thinking, in colors, smells, emotions. Write to reflect the rhythm you feel, breaking lines however you like. Just get the words down to flesh out your message.
  6. Shape your poem. You’ll read your poems several times before it’s over. First reading: Listen to the flow and revise your line breaks and punctuation to convey the rhythm and breaths you use.
  7. Read aloud with affect. Does it sound like you want. Read with different rhythms that play from your shape. Listen for what readers may hear. Make changes as you see fit.
  8. Take a break from the poem. If you’re like me you may not have a lot of time for this. But it helps. When you can, move off your poem, to something else. Return later to repeat the process of reading and editing  until your comfortable, (or run out of time), and post.

A Word about Speeding

These steps are from my experiences with daily poem writing on my own, and with prompts in November 2009. The writing goes fast, and so does the editing. In fact you can do it in a day or in an hour as time permits.

My point is that your goal isn’t to perfect your poem. That comes later. What you’re doing is making it work so that 1. your message is understood, and 2. you’re willing to let it go live. Easy, right?

Writing without prompts

Although this is written toward prompted poems, there’s really very little difference between prompted and unprompted poem writing. Really, the only difference is that someone other than you provides the prompts.

Think about it: Unprompted poems are really poems that you prompt for yourself. Rummaging through your thoughts, you pick up things that interest you and get working on it. So, skipping number 1, you can move through the same steps as above—I do.

Be sure to visit the links on the NPM 2010 page for links to participate in National Poetry Month. Links for this event are in the sidebar for easy access.

Let me know your thoughts. What did I miss? What routines do you have to write your poems?

3 Rules to Haiku

  1. 17 syllables
  2. 5-7-5 syllables is a popular American format
  3. A season must be involved

This are the three rules I picked up on while researching Haiku. I started my research as a result of joining the Haiku group at Read Write Poem. The group moderator, Allen Summers, has a great site, With Words, which is a great place to get started writing in the form.

The moderator told me about a book called Baseball Haiku, something I might not otherwise have picked up. I got it from the library and got a lot out of it.

Continue reading 3 Rules to Haiku

Reading and Responding to Poetry

Reading Poetry

Do you smile when you have to read a poem, or does the idea of reading a poem make your eyes bleed?

If you’re a member of the latter group, and really want to partake in a rich poetry experience, I have a few things that you can try. Before you ask, this is not for poetry majors. It’s for people like you and me who just want enjoy the genre.

Continue reading Reading and Responding to Poetry