I spent the last 30 days writing a poem every day. Most of them were free verse, a few of them needed to have some sort of form, and all of them had requirements about what to say.
What can I really say about it? I love a challenge. I love trying to do something that’s tough just to see if I can. [That might be part of the reason I like NaNoWriMo, too.]
There are a lot of lessons to be learned from using a different form to express yourself. Poetry that says you have to use a word like carbonated and forbids you to use a word like the. No, those aren’t things we use when writing something to publish, but to start looking at words differently? Mission accomplished.
A couple of the poems I really like. I didn’t expect that, because sometimes a prompt will make you hold to the boundaries so rigidly it wouldn’t fit anything else. I also had fun sharing my work with some of the other challenge-attempters. I would look at the words they poured out, and look at mine, and wonder if we truly did use the same beginning. Then you find the bolded words we had to use, none of the words we couldn’t use, and a minimum or maximum of lines. I’m still amazed.
Today it’s over, though I’m sure several of us held our breath around noon, ready to go look for another prompt. I hear it only takes about three weeks for a habit, and this challenge lasted 30 days. Then my friend who organized it said she might do it again in September. My history has only been to do any sort of poetry challenge about once every three years or so… September might be too soon.
Plus I have a novel to rewrite. More than one, even. Time to dig into that.
One thing I love about poetry is the way you look at words differently. I won’t call myself a poet. I don’t spend nearly enough time on it for that. I know little about forms. Meter and rhyme mostly serve to frustrate me.
But I read this op-ed, and I was thinking. I know some poets. They have beautiful words to share. One thing about those writer groups where you go and take something to read out loud – poetry is perfect for that medium. It’s also easy to print out 20 copies of a poem to share so they can find typos or anything else.
A friend of mine is running a poetry challenge this month, and every day we’re writing a poem. The challenge comes in finding something to say about the prompt – yesterday was Celestial Musings – and not using any of the forbidden words while using all of the required words and it was the first day we had the option of finding a form (any form).
I find it very intimidating to go find a form and just use it. I like it when someone tells me to try a pantoum or a tanka or a jozzonet. There are so many forms out there I’ve never heard of and I’m not sure where to go find them.
When the month is over and I have 30 new poems – because I’m not the kind of person who backs away from a challenge – I’m going back to my novel edits. I’m doing it to look at the words differently. To change how I see them in my head. To alter how they come out while I’m describing things. Wish me luck. I have 17 down and 13 to go.
I’ve been thinking about these more often. I have some short flash fiction pieces and some poetry that I’ve thought could be good picture books lately.
Isn’t that funny how you can write for one audience, then transform it into a different one?
The flash fiction piece could go either way, adult or children’s, and I’m considering trying to spin both and see what I can do with it. The poem I was challenged at my writer group yesterday to make it unrhyming, and I realized it could also make a good picture book with that kind of rewrite.
Some of these seem to be overlapping forms. It’s neat to see where the words lead me.
I’ve been working on some song lyrics for a friend of mine. It’s not something I’ve done before, but she’s a singer and this poem-type thing started popping out of my head. I felt a tempo behind it and so I played with it enough to get a chorus and verses.
When I spoke to Michelle Tuesday about it, she was pretty excited. I let her read my draft last night. Turns out she wrote a song yesterday, too, but her efforts at lyrics might be revamped into something with a bit more of a message. (I got to read it – I can’t wait to actually hear it.)
I had to laugh because our original plan -yes, we had a plan- was to start collaborating in February when some of our other projects had died down a little, but I guess our imaginations just ran wild and when inspiration strikes, it must be captured. She’s very talented musically, and I’m trying to be patient to see what she comes up with.
I’m hoping it’s just the beginning, but I don’t have song ideas popping out of my head every day.
Listen to Michelle Tuesday: