History of National Poetry Writing Month
National Poetry Writing Month (also known as NaPoWriMo) is a creative writing project held annually in April in which participants attempt to write a poem each day for one month. NaPoWriMo coincides with the National Poetry Month in the United States of America and Canada.
NaPoWriMo, or National Poetry Writing Month, is an annual project in which participating poets attempt to write a poem a day for the month of April.
This website is owned and operated by Maureen Thorson, a poet living in Washington, DC. Inspired by NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month), she started writing a poem a day for the month of April back in 2003, posting the poems on her blog. When other people started writing poems for April, and posting them on their own blogs, Maureen linked to them. After a few years, so many people were doing NaPoWriMo that Maureen decided to launch an independent website for the project.
My History with National Poetry Writing Month
I started writing poetry in 1988 after I had been exposed to T.S. Elliot in my honors English class in high school. In 1992 I started reading my poetry publicly at Espesso Europia Coffee Shop in Abilene Tx while I was in the United States Air Force. This continued for many years when I ran my own poetry reading at Cannova’s in Loves Park Illinois and attended the poetry slams at The green Mill in Chicago Illinois. While living in Rockford Illinois I published my first book of poetry Throwing Yourself at the Ground and Missing in 2007 followed by Postcards From Someone You Don’t Know in 2008 Wisdom From the Sack in 2010 and Shaving Crop Circles In My Chest Hair in 2017. You can get copies of all of these books in my merch section. In 2009 I started participating in National Poetry Writing Month which became the basis for my book Wisdom From the Sack and Shaving Crop Circles in My Chest Hair. In 2020 I started publishing my podcast version of the challenge and those can be viewed here for 2020 and here for 2021.
April 1st Poetry Prompt
And last but not least, our optional prompt! I got this one from a workshop I did last year with Beatrix Gates, and I’ve found it really helpful. The prompt is based on Robert Hass’s remarkable prose poem, “A Story About the Body.” The idea is to write your own prose poem that, whatever title you choose to give it, is a story about the body. The poem should contain an encounter between two people, some spoken language, and at least one crisp visual image.
April 1st Poem
Left Hand Blues
1 April 22
When I crashed my third motorcycle on a Friday night
Under the limitless mid-Texan sky
Tumbling over the handlebars of a bike with an unknown bent frame
Instinctively, I put out my arms to catch myself
But going 60 down a deserted highway the only thing that broke
Was my left wrist and my pride
Observers to this midnight race ran towards the danger
And took my body and my bike to the side of the road
Someone pulled out some cold sweaty beer cans
To control the instantly swelling wrist
And others who had succumbed to the magical elixir
Argued with those who were less inebriated
The drunks thought that good beer was going to be wasted on my gullet
The levelheaded ones used their commanding voices and won out
My bike was collected and put in the bed of a truck
I was pushed into a car and was raced to the hospital
A story was concocted, a lie had to be made
One that would stick
And that lie has brought me to where I am today
Chicks dig scars was what they told me
We’ll call you lefty from here on out
I got to keep my hand that night
But I had to lose out on a future that I’ll never know
A career cut short,
Lands never traveled
Possibilities never realized
Chicks do dig scars
As my children trace the lines that hold my hand together
They are overly empathetic and murmur apologies and concern
Thinking they can make my major boo boo better with their innocent kisses
And soft caresses
Just like my kisses and soft caresses fix their boo boos
These scars show that I have lived
I have taken chances that I probably shouldn’t have
These scars show the death of possibilities
For a life I thought I wanted to live
And a whole realm of regret that I do not have to endure
To reach out to me, email firstname.lastname@example.org I would love to hear about your journey and what you are working on. If you would like to be on the show or have me discuss a topic that is giving you trouble write in and let’s start that conversation.