The Read Room does National Poetry Month

Seven Days of Poetry

Last year I slipped poems into books at my favorite bookshop.

Friends, writers, poets and non-poets, lovers of words: April is National Poetry Month!

As someone who didn’t discover the power of poetry until college and a novelist who can never make as much time for poetry as she would like, I am devoting the month of April to celebrating poetry here at The Read Room. I will do this by observing a different practice each week– some of which I will be looking for other bloggers to coordinate with! Warning: the next 30 days will be creative. Side effects may include fun and attraction to poetry!

Here are my plans for National Poetry Month:

  1. Week One (April 1-7): Reading. Just as my poetry courses in university began, I will start off by reading. Poems are short. They go by quickly. I will be reading 10 poems a day out of various anthologies and posting my favorites here, as well as highlighting what I like and what, in terms of technique, makes it good poetry. If you have never been a poetry reader, I recommend this reading practice for you, too– 10 a day is very manageable and will expose you to much quickly.
  2. Week Two (April 8-14): Artistic Transcriptions. I loved what I did last year to celebrate NaPoMo so much that I’m going to do it again. In this week I will transcribe (copy down) one poem a day, by hand, and play around with artistic rendering: adding illustrations, collage, paint, dried flowers, etc. At the end of the month I will visit my favorite bookshop and deposit these into random books for strangers to find. Not before scanning them and sharing them here, of course! 🙂
  3. Week Three (April 15-21): Blackout Poetry. A blackout poem is written by erasure. You start with an existing text (a newspaper article, a movie review, a gossip column, anything) and do the following: 1) circle words you like 2) add/cross out words you like until they read, from start to finish, like a sentence or coherent phrase(s) 3) “black out” the rest of the text by coloring over it with a marker. Or paint. Or nail polish. This is The Read Room. We favor creativity. And I will be writing and uploading one blackout poem a day in this week.
  4. Week Four (April 22-28): Interactive Poetry with Other Bloggers/Twitterers. I’m going to have to work out the details of this and I’ll set it up in advance, but what I’m thinking is that I’ll provide a different prompt each day and those interested in playing (writing) can do so by leaving their line in the comments or in a Twitter conversation.

And those are my plans! How are YOU observing NaPoMo– and do you have any interest in writing poetry with other bloggers the week of April 22? Let us know! 🙂

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10 thoughts on “The Read Room does National Poetry Month

  1. Never done this before. I don’t write much poetry, but I’m inspired to give it a try this year. You may want to check out this blog … http://becausewerepoets.wordpress.com/ … put together by two bloggers who are trying to create excitement surrounding poetry. They are part of the reason I’m giving it a go this year. I like your blackout idea. I also look forward to Week Four … that could be an interesting and challenging way to go about this.

    • Roy, that is very similar to how I felt when I started my first poetry course. As one poem (“Ars Poetica”) says “A poem should not mean /
      But be.” I have gradually come to understand this and I hope that, in the course of this month, some of my posts will adequately illustrate this understanding.

      Thank you, as always, for reading.

  2. Poems are short. They go by quickly.

    I don’t know about that. I’ve always had difficulties reading poetry. I find it requires intense concentration and a high-degree of literacy—to have read a lot—in order to understand the (often obscure) meaning and appreciate a poem’s depth. It’s also too personal for me—each poet is different in revealing various parts of them in each of their poem.

    Maybe it only applies to a select few or the difficult ones such as T. S. Eliot’s poems; maybe I simply haven’t read enough or I’ve been approaching poetry in the wrong way.

    Anyway, have fun and wow— I need to steal some of your ability to organize things and maintain a schedule! 😉

    • Ok, definitely agree that was a generalization (my saying that poems go by quickly), because some definitely do not– in fact, on only my second day I chose “The Emperor of Ice-Cream”– a poem that, only two stanzas, required multiple readings and at least one venture to the dictionary on my part. And you’re right: many poems are dense or make literary references that require patience and additional work. I will try to work that in in one of my posts this week!

      Thanks for your thoughtful counter! 🙂

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