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Saturday, April 17, 2010

National Poetry Month & Beyond

Since 1996 the National Poetry Month, often dubbed by tweeters as NaPoMo, has showered us with April reminders of the importance and pleasures of poetry. The Academy of American Poets, who established the month-long event, posted “30 Ways To Celebrate” on their website http://www.poets.org/page.php/prmID/94 , listing ideas such as memorizing a poem, revisiting poems, or organizing a poetry reading.

So why am I just now mentioning this? Because NaPoMo started on Passover week followed by April Fool’s Day, Good Friday, our small town’s annual catfish festival, Easter Sunday, and a week of family visitors. Entries for the international poetry competition I judge each year arrived about this time too, along with manuscripts to critique, spring cleaning to do, and pitiful plants to prune after our exceptionally harsh winter.

By now you may be thinking I digress, but no. This purposely highlights the problems of seriously writing, seriously revising, and seriously marketing our poetry. Families need tending. Jobs need doing. Things intervene, and almost everything else has a louder voice than that tiny phrase, that itsy image, that whispered music which first begins a poem.

So, not just in April, but for the coming seasons, I propose we change NaPoMo to NoMoPa: No More Pauses. No More Paltry excuses. No More Pacing ourselves too fast to listen to the poems inside our heads. No More Padding lines because we didn’t give the rhythm more time to develop. No More Pairing tiny parts of speech as end-line rhymes because we didn't want to bother getting out the dictionary. No More Pages crumpled on the floor because we censored our work before the poem had finished speaking. This list could go on, but let’s have No More Parting with the little time we have for writing poems and reading poems by other poets every day of the year.

[For resources and services to help you help your poems, visit The Poetry Editor website - http://www.thepoetryeditor.com .]

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