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 4th Poetry Prompt
Finally, here’s our optional prompt! Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem . . . in the form of a poetry prompt. If that sounds silly, well, maybe it is! But it’s not without precedent. The poet Mathias Svalina has been writing surrealist prompt-poems for quite a while, posting them to Instagram. You can find examples here, and here, and here.
April 4th Poem
Poetry Prompt for Those Who Know They Are About to Die
4 April 2022
1. Don’t try to write like Sylvia Plath. We already have one and the world does not need another. Also, remember that your home warranty does not consider using the stove for suicide as normal wear and tear, so your family will be required to pay for a new stove.
2. If you must rhyme then please don’t make it obvious, if I can guess the rhyme then I get to say it along with the person eulogizing you.
3. Read some of the greats, but don’t think this will put you in the pantheon of poets. If it’s your first time writing a poem, it is going to suck, and you don’t have much time to get it right or edit.
4. Don’t make this like Kiss’s multiple farewell tours. We all love Kiss, we know that one day they will stop, refer to prompt #1 for reference.
5. Don’t write something cryptic or esoteric that we would need to have someone decipher for us. Most people don’t have the time to figure out your sudoku of a poem.
6. If you have already been visited by celestial beings, please for the love of god transcribe what they told you verbatim. You won’t be able to tell us what they really meant and for those of us being left behind that information could be really useful.
7. Think about your audience and whom you want to hear this poem. Then think about how you want them to listen to this poem and keeping in mind their emotional state.
8. If you want someone else to read this aloud at your funeral, use simple words. No one wants to mess up a 64,000-dollar word in front of grieving families.
9. Once you have considered all of these suggestions, then please go ahead and write your swan song. Don’t call it your swan song because Led Zepplin said it better.
10. Write the poem before you are too far gone. Like once you get done reading this line then you should go ahead and start your poem. You may believe you know when you are going to die, but sometimes the grim reaper is ahead of schedule, and they don’t have time to hear you beg for a few more minutes or asking them to help you find a word that rhymes with orange.
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