Monday 18 April 2011

NaPoWriMo, day 18

It's the eighteenth day. Some days I haven't even tried to write poetry (I just moved house), but always tried to make up for it on days I have more time, and with the help of some haiku, I'm more or less on top of it.

But tonight something interesting happened, the kind of thing I only knew I was waiting for after it occurred. An opening line arose in my mind, I said, "Oh, no, that won't work," and it became a challenge then, to make it work, to follow this very strange line. It's turned out to be quite a short poem, but the thrill of departure, of invention, excites me and makes me hope for more tomorrow.

How are others getting on? Please share your experiences, whether you've been successful at a poem a day or not. After all, the last three years I've never made it to 30 poems in 30 days.


  1. Ah, I had such good intentions and I realise I've managed (eek) 3!

    I can't believe it's the 18th already. This confirms something worrying I have suspected as of late - that work is eating into my time for writing. I have told myself it is all about discipline and whatever else I am doing I just have to find a few minutes a day at least to write something, but it is harder than I expected. Hmmm... I might try for two a day to catch up. I have been working on an exciting poetry and music (melopoesie) project with James for an upcoming performance so at least that's poetic energy being expended if not as much actual writing coming into existence as I had hoped.

  2. Lucy Sixsmith9:25 pm

    After a very busy week last week, in which almost no writing happened at all, I've got from 9 poems to 14 poems in the course of today. I'm counting short poems, bits of sequences, poems that are reincarnations of stuff I wrote before and scrapped, and poetry stubs, which is what (following Wikipedia) I've decided to call things that might become poems on a second drafting...

  3. My commitment is to write a poem every day, as good as I can make it in the circumstances. I've kept to that. Good ones arrive more often than I expect, and I get to work on my poetic technique daily, so am always building towards better poems. Last year I got so much out of it that I vowed I'd continue for the rest of my life. I managed until October. Now I'm writing a poem every day again, I want to renew my vow. It's the best practice I've found for developing my poetry.

    Thanks for the prompt, Carrie. Everyone, I wish you a poem a day.

    John Wheway

  4. Eyya. I've finished 30 - :P. *Basks in the hatred*. Comes of having too much time on my hands. If I had to move house I'd definitely struggle. Some are really horrible as is, so I'm not sure how many I'd have if it was only ones I'm happy with, maybe 18-22? And I suspect I have lower standards than you.

    A lot of them seem to be centred around travel, purely because that's when I've really got enough time to sit and think and scribble first drafts and ideas down - trains and roads and stuff. I wonder if that's a NaPoWriMo cliche?

    But anyway I'm going to continue writing a poem a day, because it's amazing to see what you do when your mind is desperately scrabbling for poetry.

    I'm glad to hear that 'tricky' poem worked out - the ones I've forced myself to work on have been the worst ones for me. This encourages me to think I should just be trying harder, and go back and work on the crap ones until they do work.

  5. Aisling Tempany10:26 pm

    I also had good intentions, but I think I've only managed 4.

    I think I've forgotten how to write a poem. :(

  6. Hard work, to keep going with such a short timescale. I did the Your Messages project a couple of years ago. Writing in response to a prompt for 30 days of November. This year I'm working on the postaweek with my wordpress blog. I sympathise, we are moving house at the end of the month, I am still building the kitchen! How is it in Bath? Keep going with the writing and I hope you get some stuff from it that you feel good about.


  7. So far (day eighteen) I have produced 20 pieces - some actually quite respectable poems, I think.

  8. Anonymous11:12 pm

    Sadly, I have to echo much of the substance and sentiment of JLW... firstly, rather a serendipitous offer to write something to be set by an Irish composer for a special project, but then very much downhill with the onset of an horrendous 'flu and other domestic chaos.

    Enough of the excuses, I have tried to assuage my guilt by making do with quirky little 3-or-4 liners, such as:

    In socks and sandals
    fresh from the sea,
    lobster-like and bloated:

    Even at this rate, 8 is so far my top score! Not my best of years, it has to be said...

    Still, best foot forward!

    Helen Pizzey

  9. Yes good intentions, and things got in the way almost from the beginning of the month. I've been busy with poetry things (judging poems for the Moor Poets next anthology, and a new collaborative project for a dance group/performance at Dartington just before I finish off the month with a trip up to Wenlock Poetry Festival. I have been writing though - rather more than earlier in the year, so I'm okay with it.

  10. Frank Dullaghan6:30 am

    I've managed to get 18 pieces in 18 days - I've had the odd blank day which I've then made up for later. Not all of it is poetry. One day was just 3 haiku. I've not really gone back over anything, wanting to go back at the end of the month and see what I've achieved. But I know that there are at least 3 or 4 pieces I was very excited about. If they continue to stand up when I re-read, then that will be a good hit rate for 18 days.

  11. Frank Dullaghan6:32 am

    Have written 18 pieces in 18 days (though not a piece every day). Very happy with at least 3 or 4 pieces. Not really looking back at them until exercise is over.

  12. I've done !8 in 18 days, mainly one a day but sometimes a gap and then two. Some OK ones in there, I think. They need time to bed down, though. I find it a bit of a rollercoaster - some days it feels like I've absorbed this commitment into my daily routine and it's, if not easy, then wonderful - other days I hate it. I'm moving house in a week or so too – not confident about keeping it up then!

  13. I'm doing OK, Carrie. I have knocked off 18 poems in 18 days, at least. A few wobbles in the last couple of days in that I've resorted to a cento and a cat poem. There have been a few duffers earlier, but also some I'm pleased with on the theme of autism. This week, I'm going to be very busy with work, so there may be some 'found poems' and trivial nonsense, but I will try to write one or two proper poems as well. Next week I'm travelling from Edinburgh to read in Cambridge, Norwich and London over two days, which might make writing difficult. But I've quite enjoyed NaPoWriMo this year and have felt quite relaxed about writing quick drafts.

  14. I'm on 14, and that's including really bad poems, really short poems, fractions of poems, and "poetry stubs" where I've jotted something down and wanted to add the remark, following Wikipedia, 'This poem is a stub. You can help Lucy by expanding it'...

  15. I've been concentrating on gendai haiku which is an interesting challenge in itself.

    Some I've posted at Area 17, but I was away for a week leading a residential course called Purely Haiku and treating the place as a White Area due to the sensitivity by a student.

    Intend to get back onto horse and continue with the gendai challenge.


  16. Jenny Martin9:37 am

    Hi Carrie.

    Poem a Day April has been going very well for me. I haven't written today's poem yet, but as of 20th April I have 27 or 28 poems I think. I was lucky to naturally be in a good writing phase at the start of April. Also, if I felt I'd written a bad poem, I'd try to better it straight away - usually with decent results. Lately it's been one a day, though. I'm sure the majority of my poems aren't very good, but there are definitely a fair few I like and will definitely redraft and polish in mind of sending them to magazines. Now it's getting towards the end of the month, I've noticed my writing has started to become pretty weird, though I like to think that's a good thing in some ways...

  17. Linda Black9:25 pm

    Haven't written today's yet (and have to admit to missing a couple ) but I have a word though - 'simulacra' which comes from the book I'm reading ( AS Byatt's The Childrens Room). Seems as good a beginning as any.
    Here's a sample of what's been happening - unworked on and believe it or not more coherent than most. Still, it's all material for a rainy day...

    Trails behind

    Not offering grams – or seeds – or melons

    ripe and gleaming tired trails

    alongside couching

    our wounded selves –in –en cumbered

    meek & soft of spine lately

    lowered – in swathes

    of second best reused miscast

    derivated derived

    from fragments patches little bits

    here and there – ends

    fallen off shredded fades shreds

    weft & drift bereft

    & calling themselves to heel

    to flower

  18. Linda Black11:37 am

    just to add, the book I'm reading - very intricately woven - is The Children's Book (not Room) - and, there are lots of white spaces in the poem above which didn't translate - I like to be exact - or pedantic

  19. after two or three really 'dry' days , revising and with, such an effort, writing two or three lines... I am celebrating waking up this morning with TWO ideas for poems and have done the first draft of one already ! the effort of writing something every day works !! it works!!

  20. Karen Hoy6:58 pm

    Was writing away last night so that I could check in and let you know Carrie that I've done poems - as in plural. I'm not sure how many since one particularly long poem might be a sequence. That would help with the count though the final decision on that will be made with total artistic integrity ... unless I haven't written enough by the end of this week!

  21. I've caught up with my gendai haiku project, and doing both 3 line and 1 line versions.

    Gendai haiku started getting popular in Japan around WWII but the New Rising Haiku poets were imprisoned, tortured, or sent to the front.

    Despite these setbacks gendai haiku in Japan was constantly on the increase yet R.H. Blyth barely touched on them. What a shame, because it would have been the perfect vehicle for Jack Kerouac as an antidote to media pressure to keep talking about his On The Road novel and ingnoring his other marvellous novels.

    Alan’s Area 17 blog

  22. I've been writing a haiku plus one other poem every day, but I've been forgetting to check back on this blog to see what others are up to! Sorry...