Don’t worry – it has nothing to do with rock climbing!
Although intense generative writing practice feels like a workout. I have been participating in Maureen Thorson’s NaPoWriMo since I discovered it (2014). The following year I discovered the PAD challenge – A Poem a Day over on Writer’s Digest and did both, generating over 60 poems in April.
Over the years many poets in the UK (and probably around the world) have offered their own course of prompts or groups for April. I have taken part in these too, memorably a series of prompts from Carrie Etter and a Napowrimo group during Lockdown with Caleb Parkin. The most poems I ever wrote from April’s Poetry Month was 99!
All this extra writing has been fun (if not a bit exhausting)…
This year I decided to add my own additional challenge into the mix: Nina’s NaPoWriMo Challenge! Feel free to spread the word.
I’m keeping it simple (and FREE):
Every day I will post a new picture prompt and you go away and create whatever you want.
Get yourselves ready for an extra splash in the fountain this April!
World Poetry Day – that sacred day when poetry gets mentioned on Radio Channels beyond Radio 2 and Radio 4, the day when a frame is held around words… it was World Frog Day yesterday, but I saved my leaping around for today!
I always mark WPD by making sure I read some poems and either organise or attend an event. Today I am going on a magical tour and then following up the starter with a main, with Apples & Snakes. I will skip dessert… or eat a real one for dinner, as cooking is out of the question this evening!
I hope you have all managed to plan something sweet… if not and you have some time to spare, go and find your favourite spot to relax in, take a book of poems or your phone and read.
Or take advantage of this list of pieces and poems from the world today.
Some poetry I collected from the web this evening:
From Outlook.com (please note there is a trigger warning/ suitability poem listed part way through the first poem).
I had no idea when I booked weeks ago where we would even be situated in the world… there really were no clues before I joined the livestream…
to my delight – the North West of England, Lancashire. It was hosted on heygo – which was a perfect platform for WPD.
My first experience of heygo was fabulous – you can capture postcards! Sarah was a fabulous guide, we were treated to 6 poems, lots of factual snippets (including some new ones for me), a beautiful sunset, a walk along the Leeds to Liverpool canal and we even saw some ducks! It was fun to guess the poets. There’s also a navigational map in the top corner too.
Warning by Jenny Joseph – this poem was voted Britain’s favourite modern poem (2006) and Nation’s favourite (10 years before), this poem inspired a whole society.
Daffodils – By William Wordsworth. One of England’s most famous nature poets – William Wordsworth – Nation’s Poet Laureate from 1843 until his death in 1850.
A Subaltern’s Love Song by Sir John Betjeman. Classic English Poet – one of the all time well known poets… saved St Pancras Station from demolition!
The Quangle Wangle’s Hat by Edward Lear – born into a middle class family – middle child of 21 children – known for literary nonsense…. died aged 29.
If by Rudyard Kipling – one of the most well known writers of his time, won a Nobel Prize in Literature in 1907. I listed ‘If’ as my favourite poem at the start of the tour!
And we finished with the sun going down to Yes, I’ll Marry You by Pam Ayres!
Later I joined Apples + Snakes for the World Poetry Day Mini Break with Lorna Zita.
About this event
For World Poetry Day this year, Apples and Snakes want to bring a little bit of sunshine and fun with Mozambican poet, cultural projects manager and international Slam Champion Lorna Zita.
More about Lorna:
Lorna Zita is black, spoken word poet, cultural projects manager and international Slam Champion. She represented Mozambique on Digipoem ‘’Zimbabwe’’ and BBC Contains Strong Language in the UK.
She was the second-place winner of the Maputo-Katembe literary contest “The bridge that connects lives” organized by the CCMA and the German Embassy.
In 2020 she was considered the most influential voice of Voices of African Women by I, Africa and currently has two Digipoems Published in partnership with Page Poetry Alive and the British Council.
In 2018 she won the literary contest, organized by Revista Literária Inversos in honor of the International Children’s Day at Feira de Santana in Brazil.
This workshop had limited places and I lucky to get one!
It was great to meet Lorna and to see some familiar faces in the group. I admire anyone who can produce a workshop in their 2nd language and I am so glad that we were treated to a poem in Portuguese at the end to hear first hand why Lorna is the SLAM champion that she is!
It was a great way to spend World Poetry Day and I now have a little stash of ideas to write from, some prompts, one incredibly concise poem and have had a good refresher on the use of voice in performance.
This is a collection of ultra-short Thumbnail Nature pieces from a February workshop ‘Nature Writing Through the Window’ which Amanda Tuke co led with Helen Jones, an inspirational disabled nature writer.
It was a great workshop and the last from this particular Arts Council funded project. It has been a pleasure to get to know Amanda and delve into thumbnail nature. I am delighted to have pieces in all the anthologies of workshops I was able to attend.
Angi Holden also attended the workshops and been published in the anthologies. It is always a great delight when you see friends sign up for the same events. An extra delight in February was spotting Elizabeth Uter in attendance. Liz and I met at the Poetry in Motion classes 2020/21 with CelenaDiana Bumpus, Liz still attends classes with Inlandia. Her poem is above mine, it’s so lovely to share the virtual page with her again.
Thanks again to Amanda Tuke for these incredible workshops and for giving my first thumbnails a home.
Amanda Tuke – workshop co-leader and Great North Wood nature-writer-in-residence in partnership with London Wildlife Trust. Once covering a large area of south London, today the Great North Wood consists of a series of small green spaces – all of which provide a home for nature within a modern urban landscape.The workshop was made possible thanks to public funding from the National Lottery through Arts Council England.
Sarah L. Dixon was successful with her Arts Council bid and has brought the Quiet Compere back. This time the QC tour covers many parts of the UK with live events and is some dates available to the world online.
Starting tomorrow with an online event featuring poets from across the UK.
Saturday 19th March 1-4 PM
Quiet Compere Online
TICKETS are free to register on Eventbrite. The event is PAYF (pay as you feel).
Future QC Tour Dates:
19th March Quiet Compere Tour online
23rd April QC Tour Chatham Library Hub
14th May QC Tour Morecambe West End Playhouse (& workshop Nib Crib)
11th June QC Tour Bradford Library
1st July QC Tour Wolverhampton Arena
17th August QC Tour Zoom online
16th September QC Tour Marsden Mechanics (& Workshop at Mario’s Diner)
The idea behind this post came from my inbox, from an email from Writer’s Digest. I read an article from 2011 by BRIAN A. KLEMS on editing. Check out his version of the Lesser Known Editing Symbols and put some fun back into editing!
Many of us enjoy the editorial process, you don’t have to be a writer for very long before you realise editing needs a whole different headspace to the writer brain!
As I fell through the rabbit hole of articles on editing, I realised it has been a while since I posted a technical post to AWF, so mostly with thanks to Writer’s Digest, (I have added my own pearls of experience too), here we go!
MY QUICK GUIDE:
As we all know: GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION to write a bad first draft. Don’t expect it not to be.
Let it rest, leave it to marinate, don’t be tempted to lift the lid for a peep. Drawers are good places for printed m/s to take a break. Leave it for at least a couple of weeks if you can, months even.
Return to read it (out loud) with fresh eyes.
By reading aloud you will discover any areas which don’t make sense or trip you up. Mark/Highlight these. Spell checked homophones. Tenses.
Spot any inconsistences with character/setting.
Choose your favourite colour/pen and explore, re-read, seek out golden nuggets. They may still need editorial development – but these parts work (for now*) and you don’t want to lose them yet.
*By draft 3 or 9 these golden parts may no longer fit – if they truly are amazing make note of them and file them to be embedded into future work.
This article was written by Madeline Sharples. She is the author of Leaving the Hall Light On (Lucky Press, May 2011).
Madeline Sharples delves into her editing process and encourages us to write an editing schedule. This is not something I have done, but then the longest m/s I edited was Novella length. I probably did a schedule if I glued together all the individual To Do Lists which were part of my process.
There are 7 Top Tips covered in this article.
Create a revision plan
Don’t edit as you write
Use a hardcopy
Have others review your work
The subjectivity of reviews
Create a schedule with Milestones and STICK TO IT
Keep going until you are satisfied.
My practise does include some of her 7 Top Tips: I tend to recarpet in m/s pages rather than using a wall. Mainly because there is less free wall space available to us at 5’4! My work is often peer reviewed, I am part of several editing groups and another opinion is always valuable (but remember, also subjective).
I do create schedules and action plans. Often they are bitesize, by week or monthly overview of action. I forgive myself when I don’t stick to them.
So enjoy the writing process and take a deep breath before you begin editing. Like your writing ability, editorial skills will develop with experience. Remember to repeat what works for you, find a system of editing that you can enjoy and keep a copy of that first draft so you can see how far the m/s has come!
Whilst the war on Ukraine rages, it is hard for us to feel okay about posting other things. In times of crisis artists do what they can in the way they do. I can donate, I can help, I can promote others doing the same.
Art itself can help raise spirits, many of you will have seen the footage of the brave young singer in the basement or the man playing Imagine for the refugees crossing the border.
Musician Davide Martello, 40, lives in Konstanz, southern Germany.
There will be many local fundraisers for you to get involved with. Here are some coming up in my region and beyond.
Fundraiser In Ledbury For Ukraine
Saturday 19th March, 10.30am – 10pm,
The Poetry House, The Barrett Browning Institute, Ledbury HR8 2AA.
There will be: Drop-in Art Workshops with artist Jeanette McCulloch10.30am – 12.30pm Make a beautiful Ukraine inspired folk art greeting card Poetry Clinic 11am – 5pm Receive individual feedback from poet Lesley Ingram. Minimum donation £20 for 20 minutes. Open Mic 2pm – 5pm Read a poem by a Ukrainian poet. Or any poem of your choice. Drop-in. All welcome. Poets and Musicians for Ukraine! 6pm – 10pm Live performances from Elvis McGonagall, Connie Gordon, Jonny Fluffypunk, Mark Stevenson, Amy Rainbow, Nick Trigg, Sara-Jane Arbury, John Rose and Steve Rooney. Minimum donation £10.
Maureen Thorson is both humble and selfless in her annual encouragement of poetry. One thing which struck me when I discovered NaPoWriMo (2014) was how generous Maureen was with her time and Napo prompts. She wasn’t after any awards or even a mailing list, she was just giving.
So I am delighted this year to be able to give something back. I feel Maureen truly deserves it!
National Poetry Writing Month, is an annual project in which participating poets attempt to write a poem a day for the month of April.
This website (napowrimo.net) is owned and operated by Maureen Thorson, a poet living in Washington, DC. Inspired by NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month), she started writing a poem a day for the month of April back in 2003, posting the poems on her blog. When other people started writing poems for April, and posting them on their own blogs, Maureen linked to them. After a few years, so many people were doing NaPoWriMo that Maureen decided to launch an independent website for the project.
This site was designed by the very nice people at 2the9design, who know waaaaayyyyy more about back-end coding stuff than Maureen does. But this site isn’t meant to be “official,” or to indicate ownership or authority over the idea of writing 30 poems in April. There is no corporate sponsorship of this project. No money is intended to change hands anywhere. Maureen just likes poems and wants to encourage people to write them. The site doesn’t ask for your email address, or any other personal information. Heck, you don’t even have to give your name.
Maureen Thorson’s collection Share the Wealth combines playful persona poems and satires with beautiful lyrics about life in the woods. One can’t move to Maine without channeling the ghost of James Schuyler, so it’s not surprising that his careful and sly observational style informs Thorson’s most grounded lyrics. “Bliss is relative,” says a frog in one of her poems, and I’m grateful to these poems for reminding us to look for bliss, however relative it may be.
— Joanna Fuhrman, author of To a New Era
And here you can find a reading from February 2022 – Boog City festival.
Maureen Thorson is the author of Share the Wealth (Veliz Books, 2022), On Dreams (Bloof Books 2021), My Resignation (Shearsman 2014), and Applies to Oranges (Ugly Duckling Presse 2011), as well as the chapbook Mayport, which won the Poetry Society of America’s national chapbook fellowship for 2006. She lives in Falmouth, Maine.
Projects in the Poetry World which keep longevity are to be praised, heartfelt gratitude to Maureen for keeping NaPoWriMo part of our lives every April!
NaPoWriMo certainly gets to the heart of things. I enjoy April every year for the gifts of words and focus on poetry. I give myself permission to write a lot of rubbish, but every year there are a handful of poems created with a glow, many of these go on to be published in magazines, anthologies and my own collections.
Every year since 2014 I have participated in Napowrimo and many other affiliated poetry groups for the month of April. National Poetry Month (US). And this year I have some plans of my own… watch this space.
So with that Christmas Eve excited feeling I have added AWF to participating sites as I do every year, I have saved my tags and dreamt up the pre-Napo posts for this site. For now head on over to Maureen Thorson’s site and get excited yourselves!