I am not a disciplined poet. (Should there even be such a thing?) Participating in NaPoWriMo2014 is a first for me – consciously deciding that I will write poems at any sort of consistent rate. Focus is an every day issue, so thirty poems in thirty days definitely presented a challenge for me. Thirty-one was a surprise.
Poetry comes in phases for me, typically prompted (inspired?) by an emotional state, whether it’s inspired (yes, I guess it is inspiration) by love, anger, the weight of events in the news or the personal lives of those close to me. I went through a phase of writing about tragedies in the news. When that took too much of an emotional toll on me, I had to consciously turn off that “response mechanism.” On the other hand, new found love allowed me to write more than 130 love poems in a year’s time. It became our “Nebulous Collection.” The pace left me feeling guilty when it lessened considerably, but I know that the emotion is as strong as ever and the words still flow. In fact, seven of my recent NaPoWriMo posts are love poems.
As much as I enjoy reading rhyme and/or meter, most of the time, writing in that form feels forced to me. So, free verse, and often very spare, is my typical style, and that same spare style is most likely to catch my attention when reading poetry by others. (Oddly, some of my own favorites are rhyme.)
I didn’t start writing poetry until I was nearly forty. Twenty years later, it still comes to me in phases, but NaPoWriMo has shown me that putting my mind to it is not as hard as I may have thought. Maybe I should have attended writing workshops. Maybe I shouldn’t have been so reluctant to read other, contemporary, poetry for fear of being overly influenced by what I read. I am retired, so maybe I should concede a couple of hours a day, dedicated to writing. I’ve always been one to take things as they come. Maybe I should reconsider that in considering poetry. (He said, in his typical laid back manner.)
I did follow the NaPoWriMo prompts on four occasions, but the majority of my poems for the project were inspired by photos I’ve taken. After Day One, I made a point of including a picture for each poem, and only four of those were pictures taken from the web and edited to illustrate the respective poem. As for the rest – my own photos that inspired poems – it’s interesting to me that, in browsing through thousands of folders on my hard drives, I realized that many of the photos were taken with the thought of writing something about them. For example: the 1949 Mack truck photos that I used for Final Release and Hard to Gauge, and the setting sun to illustrate my mother’s last days in Slow Descent. I probably should work on a better connection with my subconscious.
Blogging is relatively new to me. I’m glad I decided to dip my toe in the water at this time. April 2014 has opened my eyes to some interesting and talented poets, as well as given me ideas for my own poetry. I came to see some of the poems as conversations, with the potential to send my mind on a tangent it may not otherwise have considered.
I hope to continue this blog by posting an occasional poem, but I also hope to be able to write the occasional blog. We’ll see how I do with the latter, as my past experience (random posts on a vlogging site, over the years) has been to labor as long over a couple of paragraphs as I might for a poem. My mind tends to wander (beneficial, to a point, for creativity, but only to a point).
For now, I’ll be happy with an occasional poem, and with poets to follow. Thank you to NaPoWriMo for that.
Ken G. / rivrvlogr