Late posting yesterday’s prompts as I was out all day poeting and managed to finally catch Idle Women during the 2nd year of their tour – more on that later.
I took paper out to create poems yesterday but didn’t have a moment spare to do so. I find myself in the inevitable position of falling behind. This is okay, Napo is a marathon in which you are only racing against yourself.
Back to Day 7 then…
Look at that! We’re now a whole week into Na/GloPoWriMo.
Our featured participant for the day is The Great Unknown, where the line-breaking poem for Day 6 starts off in breathless prose before breaking into a series of sharp, descending lines.
Today we have a new interview, this time with Kyle Dargan, whose fifth book of poetry, Anagnorisis, is being published later this year by Triquarterly/Northwestern University Press. The title of the book, a Greek word that refers to “a startling discovery that produces a change from ignorance to knowledge,” is a good lens through which to view Dargan’s poems, which braid extended metaphors and historical and current world events together to make metaphysical and moral claims in verse. You can read some of Dargan’s recent poems here and here, and our interview with him here.
And now for our (optional) prompt. In our interview, Kyle Dargan suggests writing out a list of all of your different layers of identity. For example, you might be a wife, a grandmother, a Philadelphian, a dental assistant, a rabid Phillies fan, a seamstress, retiree, agnostic, cancer survivor, etc.. These are all ways you could be described or lenses you could be viewed through. Now divide all of those things into lists of what makes you feel powerful and what makes you feel vulnerable. Now write a poem in which one of the identities from the first list contends or talks with an identity from the second list. This might turn out to be kind of a “heavy” exercise, emotionally, but I hope you will find the results enlightening.
I have completed a list like this before from a Mindful exercise. Back in 2012 though so I no longer have the list. Looking forward to adding ‘poet’.
The Poetry School Day 7
Day 7: Never Leave a Poem Behind
Anyone who’s been writing poetry for more than a few days and has a healthy amount of self-doubt has i) a notebook’s worth of abandoned first lines that never went anywhere, and ii) a smaller group of poems that they finished, but which are rubbish. We’re going to go back and rescue them.
To repeat: for this activity, you will require 1 x abandoned first line, and 1 x terrible completed poem.
That abandoned first line or phrase? That’s now the last line or phrase of your new poem. It’s something to work towards.
But what about the first line? That’s where the awful finished poem comes in. The last line of that awful poem will be the first line of your new poem. Why?
Well, a lot of awful poems are awful because they finish on a note of certainty and finality — starting with the end will force you to dig deeper, and move beyond obvious answers.
An interesting prompt and one I certainly have enough material to harvest from.
On Day 9 I played catch up and re-visited these prompts. I opted for the Napo one and wrote two incredibly short lists under the headings of Powerful and Vulnerable and knew as soon as I got to my 6th idea where the match between these was. I wrote about my Teacher self and the Poet who was always there but had become neglected, then forgotten.
It is a powerful, personal poem – so not necessarily one that will see the light of day and it is so rough you could tear yourselves on the edges. But as I only leave a line, these thoughts are of no concern really other to show you that writing rough is not the same as writing rubbish and both are acceptable during NaPoWriMo, especially if you are playing catch-up and writing more than one poem a day. This is not to say I am not striving for excellence, of course I am. I dream of writing that poem and occasionally I manage it!
The rose-tinted screen –