April 2023

True confession: I wrote at least a third of the poems in each of my books in April, as part of National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo). The timing of this poem-a-day challenge may contribute to all of the ice and snow in my poems. But here I am again, eager to dig in or dig out with a poem a day. I have some books to keep me moving, and I’ll read widely from my shelves and in current journals. My stack includes two books by teacher, writer, and bookmaker Beth Kephart about writing memoir. By mid-month, I’ll be trying too hard to write poems. I’ll need to step back from craft to generate stories before I find language and lines again.

NaPoWriMo prompts take me where I don’t expect to go, even when I drift. For example, today’s prompt is to write a poem based on a book cover. I may browse my shelves or the web, but my mind goes to HathiTrust Digital Library, a collection with many public domain books. I start browsing frayed cloth covers then wander into an 1897 lesson planning book to teach children about spring. Although the book as a whole speaks of another time, it prescribes learning through music, poetry, science, drawing, and direct observation of plants and frogs. This list of questions interests me. I think a draft can begin with “It is . . . .” Not sunshine and rainbows, but maybe sandhill cranes and snow and the possibility of justice.

Check back for poetry resources and progress updates. And here’s a snapshot of April 1 in southern Minnesota, to confirm that my new book will be sufficiently snowy.