Two Kelly Lunes
cloud ceiling hovers
geese mute calls
everything on hold
my April fool loves
leaves madness to March
A Collum Lune:
hailstones rattle my windowpanes tonight
bouncing hard pellets
threatening this fragile glass house
April is here again is here again trailing poetry like wings of glory waiting to unfurl. Festivals, slams, recitals and readings abound as poets of every ilk take to stages virtual and otherwise. My favorite on-line arena is NaPoWriMo which stands for National Poetry Writing Month and is sponsored by “Maureen Thorson, a poet living in Washington, DC. Inspired by NaPoWriMo, 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.” (quoted from her website http://www.napowrimo.net/) If you want to take up her challenge to post a poem a day sign up on her site and join the fun. She’ll give you a prompt every day. Today’s was the lune (a tercet using a 5/3/5 pattern of syllables), an American form of haiku invented by poet Robert Kelly to offset his frustration with trying to fit English into the Japanese form. Poet Jack Collom accidentally changed the lune when he unthinkingly substituted words for syllables. It worked so well he continued to use it with kids, but adults also like the freedom and flow it provides.
I’ve composed a few instantaneous poems I really liked over the years. However, my process consists of shutting poems away in a dark closet for a while, after I think they’re done, and then taking them out a few weeks later to critique and revise. Most don’t get stronger until they’ve been reworked a couple of times. My NaPoWriMo poems almost always fall into the weak category just because there is so little time to tweak before the next day dawns. Whether or not they survive as keepers, the quick writ poems often provide great jumping off places, prompts and scaffolding for other work.
Writing a poem a day for a month is a huge challenge and wonderful practice for honing any kind of writing. I hope you’ll join me. Just remember posting a poem is the same as publishing it. So if the muse strikes hard one day and you surprise yourself with something spectacular, you might want to hold that back for a future contest or submission that asks for unpublished work.