Why I Like National Poetry Month

(This post was written on my flight from Boston to Atlanta.)

I’m writing this post 30,000 feet above some swollen river, probably The Charles River. I’m listening to Chris Lydon’s Radio Open Source on my iPod. Today’s podcast, Afaa Micahel Weaver reflecting on the aftermath of Haiti. I was asleep but woke myself up with my snoring. (*sigh*)

But I was also thinking about why I like National Poetry Month (NPN). It’s been around for more than 10 years, and while it might get old or seem trite to some, I love being immersed in poetry for month. Maybe the biggest shot in the arm during the last five years for NPM is the writing aspect. A challenge is a challenge by any other name: NaPoWriMo, Inter-NaPoWriMo, PAD Challenge, 30/30 challenge. Whatever you call it and wherever you are, how great is it that people you know are suffering to write poems? And by suffering, I’m referring to the grueling pace of writing poems daily.

Many of the poems I write, I will leave behind. I won’t be able to fix them; maybe they were never worth saving in the first place. But for a great few, they will live another day. This is my fourth challenge, the past three yielded 90 poems—most of them are still around. It helps me to know that you might be doing the same thing around the corner from me (Starbucking!), or on a coast or continent halfway around the world. Thank you for letting me peek into your writing process. I call that camaraderie. I call that community.

So here’s to a month of self discovery, to late nights and early mornings. Here’s to the great art of finding a few extra minutes to make that line work. Here’s to getting it down on paper before your forget. Here’s to your workshops, book groups, and readings. And to that poetry collection you’ve been meaning to read—here’s to great beginnings and even better endings.

See … April’s not that cruel. Happy National Poetry Month, everyone. Or as my friend, writer John Crawford, would say, “Rave on!”


Jessie Carty said…
i will also rave on and wallow in poetry for the month. readings to give, books to read, for me poems to try and revive from the retired mass of failed lines.

hope you'll get some varsity burgers while in atlanta :)
What a lovely tribute to the creatives amongst us! National Poetry Month is such a force for good!

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