April is National Poetry Month. While for many readers and lovers of poetry this means a bit more time than normal looking through the pages of your favorite chapbook, and lingering in the well-stocked poetry sections of Seattle's many indie bookstores (the best-stocked, of course, being the store that is made up entirely of poetry), if you're a poet (or would like to become a poet), April offers you a compelling challenge: it's also National Poetry Writing Month.
National Poetry Writing Month, or NaPoWriMo (after the better known National Novel Writing Month, NaNoWriMo), has a simple idea: write one poem each day in April. Some participants choose to post their daily output on their blogs, but there's no requirement to share. Just write a poem each day, and you're participating. Even if you never tell anybody. Even if you keep it close to your chest.
Today being April 3rd may be a convenient excuse to not start, after all, you've already missed two days. But consider writing anyway: if you end the month with 28 poems, you're 28 poems ahead of where you were at the start of April. During the month, you may just find the inspiration to write two extra, in any case.
Kelli Russell Agodon, local poet, and cofounder/editor of Two Sylvias Press, had some sage advice for NaPoWriMo participants on her Twitter feed (make sure to click through and read the whole thread).
1) Set a timer for 15 minutes. Tell yourself, This is ALL the time I get and I have to write something. Even if it's not good or long, you have 15 minutes. I'm always amused how I write some of my best poems because I know I need to get somewhere.— Kelli Russell Agodon (@KelliAgodon) April 1, 2018
It's no secret that we here at the Seattle Review of Books are poetry lovers. We've been publishing poetry each week since our launch, first individual poems in a chain of poets recommending other poets, then starting in 2017 with a Poet in Residence project. If you're looking for inspiration, or good reading, look at our archives.
There are a million topics worth writing about in our bustling and growing city. Someday, maybe we'll get to read a poem that started during this April. We can't wait.