April and Poetry: “How to Write”

When I taught English, I loved April, because April is National Poetry Month and I loved teaching poetry. I loved reading a variety of poets with my students, discussing form, and letting them loose to write poetry.

Stueve told me today about NaNoPoMo, and since I’m in the process of rebuilding parts of my life, I figured I might as well try writing 30 poems in 30 days. Most days I will likely use the prompt, unless I’m feeling extraordinarily inspired.

I do not consider myself a poet, not by a long shot. So I make no guarantee to the quality of the poems I’ll write. But I know this much: this project is the ultimate exercise in practicing what I preach.

I tell my students all the time that to become better writers, they need to practice writing. They need to play around with form and function and language. And even if they think the writing isn’t great (and most of the time it won’t be), over time they will start to see flashes of brilliance–a word here, a sentence there–just from the cumulative effect of practice.

All of the poems I post this month will be first drafts–if you read one that you think is worth salvaging and working into something better, leave a comment and let me know. If you read one that is weak or trite or saccharine or angsty, talk about it behind my back with your friends.

Today’s prompt was “instructions on how to do something.”

April 1, 2019
How to Write

Sit on comfy gray couch, open the laptop
Stare at a blank screen, blinking cursor taunting—
“Write something. I dare you.”

Close the laptop, stand up
Look around, look for options—
Movie? TV show? Podcast? Piano? Or heaven forbid: clean something?

Pick up laptop, walk to desk, sit in oversized black office chair
Open the laptop, stare at a blank screen, breathe deeply—
Click away on black keys.

Don’t edit, don’t stop, just write.

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