April Showers Bring… New Poems

When it comes to weather, April (at least in New England, maybe the whole northeast United States) is hit-or-miss. One day you may get 70-degree weather; the next, a foot of snow (fortunately, there haven’t been too many April snowstorms during my lifetime). And of course, as the old adage about April showers reminds us, it may rain a lot.

But April is also National Poetry Writing Month, which can help some of us to forget that crazy weather.

This year, I originally had not planned to participate in NaPoWriMo; however, after being inspired by some excellent poetry in various online journals, I decided to jump into it. I only wrote 28—not as many as last year, but considering it had been a while since I had composed a poem, it’s not a bad number.

Over the coming months, I’ll be revising some of the ones I wrote and possibly sending them out for publication. In the meantime, though, I would like to share a few with you.

The first was inspired by a prompt where I had to use at least seven metaphors and a simile in the title.

 

Like a Sunrise

You climb the mountain of sky,

stretch your arms through the leaves,

nudge the birds awake

so they can gather in their holy place,

a church of bark and branches.

Their song fills the air, carried

by the light breeze, poured

into the window. You grab hold

of another rock, closer and closer

to the top, music tickles your ears

but you’re not there yet

‘cause hours separate you

and the dawn.

 

The second is a double gogyohka where each stanza is about something different, yet they’re connected by the title.

 

Stargazing

Tiny white

dots in black

sky magnified into

flickering deep

blue suns.

 

Without moving,

painted yellow spots

emit broken rings, never

giving heat in

the cold gallery.

 

And it wouldn’t be NaPoWriMo without at least one attempt at a sonnet. This one was inspired by a line from Romeo and Juliet:

 

My only love, sprung from my only hate,

now we are destined for this world no more,

leave it to families to celebrate

our lives wiped away from the earthly shore.

 

My love, raised by parents swept up by war.

Perhaps they once understood love’s power,

but marriage caused them to shut the back door

and turn away from withering flowers.

 

My love, who sacrificed his life for me,

when he thought I’d thrown ev’rything away.

Perhaps he dreaded days of marriage strife,

of skies without sun, with blankets of gray.

 

My only love, sprung from my only hate,

I thought we could last, but now it’s too late.

 

Okay, that one needs some work—the last couplet is a bit of a cliche. Why did I include it then? Other than the one I wrote about fishing years ago, this is the first sonnet I’ve written that (almost) didn’t cause me to cringe afterwards.

I hope you enjoyed those. Did you participate in NaPoWriMo this year? Tell me about it in the comments.

Advertisements

Life, the Universe, and Poetry

In last month’s post, I mentioned I was going to participate in this year’s National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo). My goal was to write 30 poems in 30 days.

Well, I exceeded that goal: I wrote 41 poems in 23 days! This was quite a surprise, considering that last year, I only wrote about 16 poems during the month of April.

I was going to stop at 41, but then my friend Corrie Haldane suggested that I write one more, which would bring me up to 42. She also suggested doing a “meaning of life” poem. (For those who’ve never read Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy books and don’t know the connection between the number 42 and “life, the universe, and everything,” watch the video below.)

I loved the idea, but what kind of “meaning of life” poem should I write? A sonnet? A haiku? An elevenie?

Then while I was spending too much time on Facebook, playing too many “I’ve seen 10 artists but one of them is a lie” games, I decided to have a little fun. I composed a found poem using text from various memes that showed up in my Facebook news feed over a few days.

So without further adieu, here is my poem about life, the universe, and everything. It’s not exactly a prize-winner, but it’s always fun to put something like this together.

 

Wanted:

a personal idyll,

a special place

free from the

surplus of evil

we have already.

 

A place where one day

the sadness will end

and you don’t wake up

fighting a battle

you know nothing about.

 

When happiness

is just a thought away,

you bring a smile

to your face and say,

This is my life now.

 

Source: Various memes found on Facebook, April 25-28, 2017.

 

National Poetry Writing Month

As some of you may know, April is National Poetry Writing Month (or NaPoWriMo). For the next thirty days, writers (including myself) will try to write one poem a day (or at least, they will try to write a total of thirty for the month).

Last year, I only managed to write sixteen poems. In the middle of the month, my family and I went to Walt Disney World. (Even though Disney World is the happiest place on Earth, it’s not the best place to write poetry.)

Also, April tends to be a busy time of year at my day job, and this year is no exception. Oh yes, and my son’s birthday is also during that month.

Still, some of the poems I wrote during NaPoWriMo ended up getting published, including “First Love,” “Tomatoes and Radio Wires,” and one of my personal favorites, “The Price Tower.” And heavily revised version of my Prince tribute, “TPOTCB,” ended up in a print anthology.

So even though I’m gearing up for another busy April, I’m going to really try to write thirty poems this year. My family and I did this year’s Disney trip in February, so that won’t get in the way of my goal.

Although I’m hoping to write thirty poems this year, I don’t expect many of them to be ready to submit for publication. (If I’m lucky and have a few good days, maybe I’ll be able to submit two or three. Maybe.) But I am hoping that about five or six of them have enough potential to workshop them on Scribophile.

I don’t really have a strategy this year. I was originally going to use a series of architectural photos as prompts, but I decided to nix that idea. (Even though “The Price Tower” and “Iconic” were both inspired by architectural photos, I realized that using them for a whole month might get boring.)

Fortunately, there are plenty of places to find ideas. There’s the official NaPoWriMo website, which offers prompts each month. Using the #napowrimo on social media will also help poets find prompts. (Speaking of social media, lately I’ve been inspired by the Brooklyn-based Yes, Poetry’s prompts on Twitter. You can follow them at @yespoetry.)

Are you participating in NaPoWriMo? What are you using for prompts? Tell me about them in the comments.