Tuesday 30 April 2013

National Poetry Writing Month: Done! (Whew!)

This afternoon I managed to write the draft for a last poem for National Poetry Month, and I'm relieved, pleased and tired. How have others done? 

I enjoyed the process much more when I was on spring break; when I came back to teaching, in the final weeks of term, writing a poem a day felt like more of an assignment than an indulgence. I'm tempted to pass on it next year and do something similar in the summer instead. We'll see. 

I'd be glad to hear what exercises people tried that they found most effective or successful, as I use such exercises in my teaching and try to stick to the ones that prove most useful.

Congratulations, everyone!


  1. Anonymous7:41 pm

    Congratulations to you, Carrie and thank you for suggesting I do this in the first place. The extra poetry focus has done wonders for my self-discipline. Another rally in the summer - I'd be up for that!

  2. Thanks for getting me involved in this valuable exercise Carrie. It did give me a chance to try some experimental OuLiPo poetry using Queneau`s method of writing interchangeable lines, which I might not have tried otherwise. There is an account of this on my Facebook site `Poetry Talk` here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/120724398022460/. Otherwise it was the use of notebooks that were the most important factor for me as I explained in a previous post. I would certainly recommend this exercise perhaps in modified stretches to get you down to the graft of writing that most of us find excuses for avoiding. Thanks again.

  3. Thanks for getting me involved in this very valuable exercise Carrie. I completed thirty poems yesterday. It gave me a chance to try out some experimental poetry along the way using OuLiPo poetry. This involved using Queneau`s system of interchangeable lines to generate an almost infinite set of poems. this is something I would not have tried otherwise. There is an account of it here on my Facebook page `Poetry Talk`, https://www.facebook.com/groups/120724398022460/ Otherwise as I have already said my main resource was using notebooks to generate ideas. I would certainly repeat the exercise perhaps even in a modified form perhaps a week at a a time. It is valuable for discipline to get you down to the graft of writing that we often find excuses to avoid. Thanks again.

  4. Anonymous6:56 pm


    I managed to do 30 draft poems in 30 days too. Personally I found the prompts that were useful were the ones that suggested subjects rather than form, eg 'write an angry, bitter poem using metaphor rather than autobiography', 'a prose poem starting and ending with the same image', 'poem based on a detailed news story', for NaPoWriMo. But this doesn't mean your prompts based on forms or experiments with forms aren't useful: just that when drafting a poem I'm initially concerned with subject and expression, it's only on editing that I start looking at form. I don't use form as a starting point, eg 'I'll write a sonnet' but rather allow the poem to find its own form.

    For me, NaPoWriMo was more about getting a draft on paper rather than a completed poem so it may be that in editing I may find I'm using some of your ideas based on form.

  5. Hi. In the end, I managed 28 poems in 30 days. I was writing one a day for the first couple of weeks, but life, the Universe and other stuff got in the way a bit and I started slipping behind - although I did mostly catch up again, it was the day I did all the 'catch up' work that I didn't manage to produce a poem for that particular day. Or perhaps I did four. Depends how you look at it really! Still, it was a very useful exercise and really drove home the value of writing something - anything - every day. Until NaPoWriMo, most of my work has been in rhyme, but I had to free myself from that constraint in order to get anything done, and unexpectedly enjoyed it. One thing I didn't do was manage to produce anything in a given form. A bit like writing in rhyme I think: to restrictive given the deadline. Certainly for me unitl I get more used to producing work regularly and not just 'as and when the muse takes me'.

    I did use a couple of your prompts and one or two sparked other ideas in my head, so thanks for the help along the way.

  6. I kind of agree with everyone although 'life, the universe and other stuff' prevented me from completing the month. If you have visitors you have no time to yourself. I managed 26 poems eventually, some finished (send offable) some ideas and some hopeful, but I thought that it was a wonderfully useful way of encouraging writing. When you are my age (69 i think) you've got to stop drifting about but must get writing. And many of the prompts were extremely useful. What about a poem a day for April, August and Dec (although Dec is busy - jan?} I really could do with the discipline. thank you everyone for the encouragement.

  7. Hi Carrie. I wrote 26 drafts in 30 days, which I'm pretty pleased about. Some I admit are a bit rubbish, but some others have potential. I used my old free-writes as a source for some of my poems and because they were so useful I've decided to do a free-write each day for 15 minutes from now on. I teamed up with a couple of poets from our poetry group and sharing our experiences and poems each day was invaluable in keeping me going.

  8. Hi I managed 26 drafts in 30 days. Some I admit are a bit rubbish, but others have potential. I used some old free-writes I discovered as inspiration for quite a few, they were so useful I've decided to do a 15 minute free-write every day from now on (well realistically every other day). I joined up with a couple of poets in our poetry group and we exchanged our experiences and poems each day. I found this support invaluable in keeping me going and it was great to get to know them better, so not only do I have the drafts of lots of poems to work on, but two new friends as well :-)