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How To Prepare For NaPoWriMo

Preparing for National Poetry Month Made Easy

National Poetry Writing Month is coming in hot, and if you're as enthusiastic about poetry as I am, you might be considering taking on the NaPoWriMo challenge. However, writing a poem every day can quickly become an arduous task and cause some extraneous stress. Don't fret, my poetry pals. I'm here to provide you with an umbrella plan for this year's National Poetry Writing Month.

Young lesbian woman sitting at desk with pen in hand and studying with laptop.
Image by Eugenio Marongiu from Canva Pro.

  1. What is NaPoWriMo?

  2. Where Do I Begin?

  3. A Poem A Day Doesn't Mean A Good Poem A Day

  4. Begin Collecting Poetry Prompts, Now!

  5. Let's Make Lemons Out of Lemonade

  6. Do. Or Do Not. There Is No Try

  7. Ideas Grow Better When Transplanted Into Another Mind

What is NaPoWriMo?

NaPoWriMo, or National Poetry Writing Month, is an annual project in which participating poets attempt to write a poem every day in April.

Maureen Thorson, a poet, and publisher of Big Game Books, announced the project on March 17, 2003, as an online project on her blog. She invited other poets with blogs to join her and listed the participating poets. Thorson has continued to run the project each year on her blog, with more poets participating as the project spreads.

In 2009 the American Academy of Poets tied the project to a fund-raising drive for the Academy. The Academy had announced the fund-raising campaign in honor of NaPoWriMo's "fifth anniversary" when it was the project's sixth year of existence. Last year, the Poetry Cove joined Thorson's NaPoWriMo project listing, and we are continuing the tradition this year.

Where Do I Begin?

There are no sign-ups for joining the project. The only goal is to write a poem every day in April. That's it—a piece of cake. The hard part is in writing itself. Maybe you need some inspiration to get those creative energies flowing.

1. A Poem A Day Doesn't Mean A Good Poem A Day

We've all heard the adage a writer is their own worst critic. Instead of getting inside our heads, why not think out of our heads instead. Learning to accept a poem, regardless of its imperfections, is okay. After all, as Marilyn Monroe once said, "imperfection is beauty, madness is genius, and it's better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring."

2. Begin Collecting Poetry Prompts, Now!

We may never know where the tides will turn, so preparing for the storm is in every sailor's best interest. Thus becoming a hermit crab of poetry prompts is vital to success in accomplishing just that.

Suchita Senthil Kumar has published several poetry prompts to choose from in her latest blog post, The Best Poetry Prompts For Your Zodiac Sign.

Also, check out Chelle Stein's compiled list of 101 Poetry Prompts & Ideas for Writing Poems.

3. Let's Make Lemons Out of Lemonade

Nothing is fresher than taking a previously written poem and grinding it into the juice of a new poem. Is there another perspective to be explored? Is there opposition to a question? Do we have a poem that has been collecting dust? Time to get squishing, my friends!

4. Do. Or Do Not. There Is No Try

As Master Yoda once predicated to young Luke Skywalker, there is no such thing as not doing something. So why not try out some different poetic forms?

From Writer's Digest, Robert Lee Brewer has collaborated a List of 168 Poetic Forms for poets to utilize—including everything from abstract poetry to a zappai.

5. Ideas Grow Better When Transplanted Into Another Mind

Although we may accept the NaPoWriMo challenge individually, that doesn't mean we have to face it alone. Grab a poetry pal or two and hold a Zoom conference, Instagram live feed, or video chat, to work on a poem together. Collaborate good times, c'mon!

Don't forget to stop by our NaPoWriMo discussion thread headed up by our very own member, Rachel Glass, who will provide us with plenty of poetry prompts throughout the event and inspire your next great poem!

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