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 National Poetry Month in the United States of America and Canada.
This website is owned and operated by Maureen Thorson, a poet living in Washington, DC. Inspired by NaNoWriMo, 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 Espresso Europia Coffee Shop in Abilene Tx while I was in the United States Air Force. 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 2020 I started publishing my podcast version of the challenge and those can be viewed here for 2020 and here for 2021.
What I am doing differently for Poetry Month
For 2023 I am not going to be just writing poems in April, I will be writing poems all year round. Also, since I will be writing all year round, I am using a different source for my prompts. There is a blog called Think Written and you can find it here. I will also be performing these works at Katora Coffee House here in Fredericksburg Virginia on their Friday Night Snaps Open Mic Poetry reading. Some of the podcast episodes you will hear will be a live recording of me reading the poem to a live audience, other times I will be reading it in the comfort of my home studio. I do plan on posting my work to the NaPoWriMo site and interacting with the poets there and see if they want to read their work on this podcast.
Todays Poetry Prompt
Today, I challenge you to write your own index poem. You could start with found language from an actual index, or you could invent an index
(actual index used from It’s Not All In Your Head by Patricia Ferrell PHD)
Indexing A Diagnosis
28 April 2023
Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
Acceptance 43-46 but I was 48 when I finally got the diagnosis and even today, I don’t fully accept it, and for sure when I was 43-46 I sure as fuck didn’t so who was supposed to tell me to accept it when there was nothing to accept
Anger 10-11 Let me tell you, I have been angry for more than those two years, I have been angry at this insidious condition for what feels a lifetime, and I don’t think at 10 or 11 I was that angry
Anxiety 71-96 oh great I have that to look forward to, at least I’ll live to 96, but then how does this book know that, oh wait is it the level of anxiety on a 100-point scale, well that seems about right each and every day that ends with a Y
Attitude 197-198 I don’t have one, I am just frustrated with people’s ignorance and bullshit, if you want attitude I’ll give you attitude
Bike rides 196-197 Yes, I have a stationary one in my mancave, it’s great for collecting dust, hanging clothes, for looking like I care for my body.
Children 57-59 every prayer I say to a god I don’t believe in or recognize is that they don’t get this and if they do then what I will do to the gods that allowed this
Cognitive Impairment 3-5, 64-66 are you talking about the time I was pouring beers for the sperm donors party when he wanted to be an elected official or are you talking about all the cigarette smoke I inhaled because it wasn’t the right time to quit or are you talking about how many times I have to reread a line to remember that I read that line.
CNS Components 6-10 is that a new Canadian free streaming service, will they teach us Americans the correct way to make poutine or play hockey or to just be nice, no? How about a Canadian stereo system, no? Well, I know what a CNC lathe is, am I close?
Coping Strategies 173-199 I thought I knew how to cope, but now I want this tattooed to my chest, written backwards so I can read it in the mirror and when I take off my shirt people can ask me what is carved there. Humor is a hell of a drug
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