Tuesday 5 April 2011

NaPoWriMo Day 5

It's day 5, folks--how are you doing? I've written four poems so far (I haven't tried my one for today yet) and am already feeling good with the pleasures of creation and revision. Others?


  1. Hi, Carrie,
    Thanks to your poem-a-day challenge, I seem to have got my pojo (is that a word?) back, producing six poems - you didn't say they had to be GOOD poems, did you? - in five days.

    Not long ones, so I'm copying them here [from my new blogspot http://charlesjohnsonswriting.blogspot.com/]

    (never take my advice – that’s my advice)

    I‘ll say one thing
    about the old police cars
    (I mean the ones - you know -
    before the ones
    you can still get
    the parts for) –
    they used to go

    I got a brass tap.
    I did. I sent for – you know –
    an ordinary iron fan one
    like everybody has,
    and that’s what they sent.
    It’s to go in the ground,
    so it’s perfect.


    A lattice of eggs
    because I took out alternate ones
    so the fifteen box
    would not fall over

    An explanation is not a reason


    Swill grit out of bucket

    (last month I used
    the houseplant sprayer: today
    I need more wetter quicker)
    Splosh bucket of water all over

    Swill grit out of bucket

    Tesco’s best wash ‘n’ wax with
    the old black-edged sponge

    Swill grit out of bucket

    Rinse before you drink your tea.
    Don’t leather dry

    Swill grit out of bucket

    Mix up the treatment.
    Splish all over with
    the big new sponge
    that came with it

    Swill grit out of bucket

    Rinse. Leather dry.
    Admire. Drink your tea.

    Swill grit out of bucket


    I remember that other life
    in the house in the jewish district
    that was carpeted with dusty stripes
    where the bakery opened on Sunday mornings
    for poppy-seed rolls and cream cheese

    And another life where I think
    I stalked all night
    Birmingham city streets
    on a blood-red night
    with my daughter in my arms


    Morning is the best time: is the worst time.
    Mornings are quiet: are noisy.

    Mornings are lonely, but you can’t get away from your wife.
    In the morning you can think, but you can’t think of anything.

    In the morning it’s sunny & bright,
    overcast & pouring with rain

    The bedroom is full of space and air; it’s crowded
    with dolls & soft toys & statuettes of fairies,
    a strange angel with a dragon and a crystal ball;
    pictures and two drums.

    When you shut the window
    I miss the sound of tyres in the wet.

    (nicked from Natalie)

    You might want to start
    a small separate notebook
    where you note your writing practice:
    how you didn’t produce a poem today
    [or how you didn’t produce
    a good poem this week]

    ~ Charles Johnson

  2. I've been editing a collection I'm working on for university - every day I must add, since the beginning of April. Hand in is at the end of April, so I guess I'm still writing/rewriting poems each day. It's a sequence of six poems. Struggling a little with the last one right now - writing and crossing out, but I'll get there I'm sure!

  3. Hi Carrie, seeing as I have a mountain of work to do, I've surprised myself! I've managed to put up five poems so far each day but I feel it may start to dwindle soon. But I'm still feeling positive, let's see if we can do it!

    Good luck for the next few days.

    Maybe post some inspiration so others don't lose faith!

  4. Managed three days out of five (busy being a journo the other two - sports headlines and poetry may be two sides of the same coin, but they don't seem to show up together). Going to try to make today (day 6) a real poetry-writing day after an excellent Shearsman reading last night (Isobel Armstrong, Amy Evans, John Mateer, Lee Harwood). Must try to attach some good words to the title A Clergyman's Guide to Quantum Entanglement, which kind-of arose from handling Science For Hairdressers at the Oxfam bookshop...

  5. Before I read your poems, Charles, I'll say no, they don't have to be good. Indeed, I don't think anyone expects that 30 poems written in 30 days are going to be all good; I know that won't be true for me. But I found the poems I wrote on the third and fourth days palpably better than the opening days--I think as the momentum increases, and poetry making is in your consciousness more actively, more of the time, the good poems are better than usual. In my first ever spree, of six weeks' duration, in those last two weeks I wrote three poems later published by TLS--not to say everything published by TLS...but you get the point.

    Val, well done and good luck!

    Zara, when you say five poems each day, you don't mean you've written 25, do you? When you say inspiration, do you mean encouragement, direction to writing exercises, or ?

    Aidan, I was so disappointed to miss last night's reading. Such a lively, varied line up! I know when I'm marking I can't write, so I'm really relieved this April doesn't have any marking in it. Good luck with that title--I'm intrigued.

    This is most promising. Hurrah!

  6. Aisling Tempany12:40 pm

    I seem to have gotten only two so far :(

  7. I am enjoying the challenge. Haiku are great, because they give me a clear focus.
    Here's my one for April 1st -

    Thing about haiku,
    after the five,seven,five,
    they are never fin.....

  8. I've had a similar experience, Carrie - the first couple are perhaps shakier than the third and fourth. I've done six so far - I like to get a bit ahead because I know I'll flag later. As usual, it's a liberating process. Having to come up with something makes me try new ways.

  9. Nothing today - so far - but numbers 7 and 8 appeared yesterday (and are posted on my blog), so I'm still ahead of the game. Like Tony, I need to be, as I'm bound to have blank days before long.

  10. I think I've maybe crafted one thing that might be permanent so far, but a lot of bleh elsewhere. At the least I can come back to it in a few months' time and hopefully mine something from it.
    I am trying to note something every day, even if it's just notes/research for something later.

  11. I meant to say that I've managed to post up one poem per day for the first five days, not 5 per day, that would be crazy! I am struggling now though...it feels like days are getting shorter!

    For inspiration, I did mean encouragement, writing exercises etc. I thought it might help us further along the line?

  12. I've got five so far that I'm quite pleased with but are probably far from finished. I've been going back to them everyday and adding bits and trying to keep each one to no more than one or two pages which has been quite interesting for me as normally they tend to be longer.The five poems are.

    When I Grow Old I'll Give My Gold Medallions To Cancer Research.

    The Badgers Of East Ogwell And West Park.

    A Letter To Mister Habib.


    That Day In The Park.

  13. Linda Black10:25 pm

    Have written something every day so far - they're not poems but the makings of -it's great for generating ideas. Last year I had a notebook full, many of which have become poems. I like this way of working - trusting the process - it's the same way I used to work as a visual artist. Must go and write no 7 before the day is out ...

  14. Anonymous9:40 am

    Hi its Hazel I cant seem to post as me so - I love Lindas comment thats how it works for me to0. 8 very short , half finished piecesand better on days 4 and 5 ... now to the shaping up.