How was yesterday?
- Make sure you keep your writing, even if it feels little more than a draft or an idea.
- Try not to re-read it with a critical eye just yet.
- If you are working straight onto a keyboard save all your NaPo poems in one place/file.
- If you usually work straight onto a PC or in a notebook, try swapping your method.
- Remember the prompts are optional, write whatever you want.
Here from the official website is our second prompt. Click Day Two to read in full.
Today’s featured participant is Not Enough Poetry, where the instructional prompt for Day 1 yielded an evocative poem about riding a train in the Andes.
Featured video poetry music video, involving a highly dramatic reading, in German, of a Shakespearean sonnet set to the music of Rufus Wainwright.
As one of the commenters on the video stated, “I didn’t understand anything but I love it with all my heart.” Poetry can be like that, sometimes!
Today’s prompt is based on this poem by Claire Wahmanholm, which transforms the natural world into an unsettled dream-place. One way it does this is by asking questions – literally. The poem not only contains questions, but ends on a question. Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that similarly resists closure by ending on a question, inviting the reader to continue the process of reading (and, in some ways, writing) the poem even after the poem ends.
NaPo Process Notes
I started with reading the featured poem ‘How to Ride a Train in the Andes’ by Lupita Eyde-Tucker. The first stanzas are beautiful and I found myself re-reading them. Lupita definitely delivers us into the Andes, or transports us there (if you want a train joke). She also adds a note about her experience/ memory/ family history. I had a quick look at her blog.
The featured video was fun, I know the sonnet and Shakespeare (a few years of study), but have never watched it in German, a language I only studied for a year and one in which I have retained just a few phrases so I found myself really entering the performance as a physical piece. Before I was a poet or teacher I was an actor and so I LOVED the drama of this performance.
The original Sonnet 66 can be read here, including study notes. http://www.shakespeare-online.com/sonnets/66.html
Then I read today’s featured poem ‘The Meadow, The River’ by Claire Wahmanholm. I panicked when I saw today’s prompt because personally I tend to avoid writing questions in poems. It is something I dislike, although I don’t baulk as much when I read poems which contain questions. So I take an extra deep breath before I begin writing and remind myself that this is what NaPoWriMo is all about. Writing new. Tackling things you avoid. Attacking from a different angle and being open to new resources/poets and changing opinions.
I remembered a previous NaPo prompt (2018) where the starting point was a poem in a unfamiliar foreign language and you had to write your poem from it. I immediately wanted to do this with the video resource, so I replayed it faced with a blank screen and completed a free write.
I wrote a poem called Tired which explores locked parts of someone else in 7 stanzas. It definitely matched the melancholy of this theatrical scene.
You walk each step with care as if you are unpeeling
your very soul. Even your shuffle carries whispers,
I often find that I produce more than 30 poems in April and have done NaPoWriMo/ GloPoWriMo since I started writing again in 2013 – which was before I returned to poetry (Sept. 2013). The first year I ran it alongside NaNoWriMo Camp too. Madness!
Next came the real challenge… Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that similarly resists closure by ending on a question, inviting the reader to continue the process of reading (and, in some ways, writing) the poem even after the poem ends.
So, as predicted that was hard in conception. My starting point was conversation starter questions, I chose 6 and actually by the time I came to write the poem was able to incorporate my own.
From my question list I decided to write about Australia. I have started to write a sequence of poems around my trip. Fitting NaPo into current projects is a great idea, although not always possible.
My good friend, Amy, emigrated out there a while back and is now a full citizen, we hadn’t seen each other since she was last in the UK (about 6 yrs ago). I wrote about part of the evening we shared in the middle of my trip. It was my birthday and as I was out there as an International Guest Poet for Perth Poetry Festival most of my time was actively on the festival circuit. My birthday was a day/night away and it was wonderful way to spend it reuniting with my friend. Plus we got to retrace our steps through Fremantle from the first time I visited her back in 2006.
12 years of Amy & I (2006- 2018)
I had great fun writing this poem, which has a working title of Forty Conversations, I am sure we had more than that in our non-stop chatting reunion. It is another 7 stanza poem. 7 is my lucky number but it is a bit random that these NaPo poems are coming out the same length. Maybe that is the length of time my brain can manage to hold a thought. I have just had 6 months off where I wrote very little. This one only really works as a whole poem and I have changed the question at the end three times. Here’s a snippet.
When we listened to music on your Echo
and you asked me for my playlist
every band name fell out of my head.
It has been an in depth writing time today, but that is the other pleasure of participating in NaPoWriMo, allowing yourself the time to write, be creative.