National Poetry Writing Month 2016


Screenshot of my current Scrivener plans, 30 March 2016. Thirty blank chapters waiting to be transformed into poetic genius… I hope.

I’m setting out my NaPoWriMo (National Poetry Writing Month) plans in Scrivener in anticipation of the April 1st start to the writing journey. In previous years I have dismally failed at NaPo, so I am taking a leaf out of my NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) experiences and trying to plan in advance. I think I must’ve long ago internalised the myth that poetry is always something spontaneous and spur-of-the-moment. This is an illusion that very quickly dissipates in the face of NaPo, when the words that so easily flowed on April 1st made me feel like a veritable Gerard Manley Hopkins or Mary Oliver; by the time April 30 rolled around, if I hadn’t yet surrendered my hope, my words sounded more like the monotonous drivel of a repetitive pop song lyric sheet. Errr… No offense to anyone who prefers the stylings of pop music, of course; this is, after all, coming from someone who listens to bands who sing in extinct and ancient languages because it brings my geeky heart great joy…

I am fleshing out some ideas for my poetry writing, giving myself themes to follow, and I genuinely hope I make it through the whole month.

I must also loosely define poetry – more so than others might. I am not big on rhyming. I do, however, love to play with sounds and imagery and grammatical conventions. I use nature as a springboard for most of my writing, too. I’ve been reading a lot of ghost stories recently, too, and I am leaning towards using the narrative and symbols of ghost stories mingled with my love for nature to see what arises. At this stage, if the planning goes well, hopefully what I will write won’t be so much thirty individual poems, but rather one long poem in thirty parts.

Of course, there’s a good chance I won’t make it the full thirty days and that I will rage quit somewhere along the way, but if I don’t push myself to try it then I will never know what might’ve been.