Spring is here! Time to stretch for the big race.

The first day of spring. At last! At last! At last! (… which is silly because we had a troublingly-mild winter, but it feels real all the same because this is always a welcome moment: the slide out of winter and into spring.)

And this turn of seasons, this chilly equinox sends my thoughts careering forward to National Poetry Month, looming large on the horizon.

Last year was the first year since 2008 that I didn’t write poetry in April. The first year since 2009 that I didn’t pick a form and stick to it for the month. I was sad to let that creative challenge fall by the wayside, but I just didn’t have back-to-back marathons in me.

Last spring was when I discovered that I needed another knee surgery. I was walking with difficulty, in pain all the time, and I couldn’t dredge up the energy to compose poems.

Today — two surgeries and two “procedures” later — I’m feeling much more like a real, whole person, much more like the kind of person who could attempt a month (or even just a day) of poetry writing.

Thank goodness!

But there is still the question of what poetry? What form will I write this year? I have two weeks to test some waters, try a few forms on for size, see how they look and feel, see what I want to explore for 30 days.

Do you write for National Poetry Month? (Do you write poetry during the rest of the year, too?) Do you have a favorite form? And what do you do when inspiration is elusive and midnight’s nipping at your heels? Sometimes, when that well has been dry, I’ve used prompts from Poetic Asides. I don’t always feel those prompts, but sometimes they are just what I need. One of my favorites came when I was writing prose poems in 2015:

How to Write a Policy Memo

First, figure out what a policy memo is. Because “policy” is one of those things that turns your brain off, makes you fear that all your inadequacies will be revealed under a blinding, white-hot light. Like the instruction: “For questions 9 through 24, use of a graphing calculator is permitted.” Next, learn something about the subject of the policy memo you’ve been tasked to write. Which you probably — surely — should already know but really you don’t. And please refer back to Impostor Syndrome fear noted above. Then follow the instructions laid out on the eHow page you found on writing policy memos. Because eHow really helped when you wanted to learn about sewing a kick pleat, about writing a cover letter. Clearly you can trust eHow for all things. Discard your first draft. All those words! All those strange, floating ideas supported by nothing, anchored to even less. Start over … and maybe stop saying the words “policy memo” in your head. And start over. This time, remembering that you know things, have been in this field a long time, and maybe POLICY isn’t some shaggy, tusked and fanged monster licking it’s glistening lips over your vulnerable underbelly. And start over. Remembering that you have data, can add a table or a graph, that the world won’t end if this isn’t the final draft. Proof before you seek comment … because you know that when you want to say “one city,” your fingers betray your brain and type “onceity,” as if, in the great onceity of time, you had any clue how to write a policy memo. Back away from the computer. Go home for the weekend.

I liked prose poems. Maybe I’ll try those again this year!

Are you going to join me next month for 30 poems in 30 days?

It’s the 10th annual Slice of Life Story Challenge!
Head over to Two Writing Teachers to see all of today’s slices


10 thoughts on “Spring is here! Time to stretch for the big race.

  1. I love prose poems. They are an underused form, I think. I am also a fan of image poems. Ooh, or maybe you could use a poem a day as inspiration and riff on it?

    I’m not doing poetry month, but I am going to do Blogging A to Z.


    1. Oh, I hadn’t heard of Blogging A to Z. I just went and looked it up, and I love it! I wonder if I can work in both in April? That might be putting a little too much pressure on me, especially since I still have my year-long essay-writing challenge to keep up with!


  2. Well I for one am excited you will be back at your April enterprise. I tried one of your forms a couple of years ago – what was it vroun or something like that? Anyway, I know I will be challenged by you again.


  3. Oh no, no, no, no, no, and no. (<– Oxford comma.) I am barely getting through #SOL17 and #52Essays2017 I've already told myself that I was not turning around and jumping into NaPoWriMo. This will be my first year I will not participate intentionally. I will still post in my various weekly challenges as I feel up to them, but I am simply too drained to take arun on another daily challenge. <– See what I did there…

    I'm not
    myself to start
    another challenge

    is willing
    and Muse smiles with
    antici- pation

    Do? Don't?
    either way damned
    choice, choices
    we will wait and see

    Just so you know, even as I adore you, you realize I can't stand you right now, right Stacie?

    And please note fro the record, in February, I said I was not doing this year's Slice of Life Challenge; you see how well those words have turned out.


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