Interstitial Moment:

Some thoughts on my Poem A Day project.

Over the last three years I have challenged myself to write a poem a day.  I have not missed a day. Though I have to admit, I have often written several poems on a single incredible poetic rush, when  in the poetry zone. This means I have these poems in readiness for difficult sick days or flight days or simple dry days. The poems have become an odd kind of journal of my mayfly mind. I’ve written serious poems about loss or about joy, humorous light rhymed verse, poems for children, poems for adults, limiericks, haiku, kyrielles, sonnets, free verse (which some wit once remarked is not free, and I have added that often is not verse either).

I have begun poetry collections and verse novels because of the Poem a Day Project (PADP) and made poetry friends as well. Right now I have 333 subscribers who –in exchange for a poem a day from me–pledge to buy a book of mine at month’s end OR borrow a book of mine from the library. My cynical daughter wonders how I can be sure any of them are honoring that pledge. I only know what many of them tell m ewhat they have gotten and I rely on the kindness of strangers. (And who are stranger than my poetry subscribers.) The poems I send them are still pretty raw, unrevised (or at least not revised enough) and of course the quality varies. I have had to give myself permission to share things much earlier than I would normally do.

But what else have I gotten from the PADP?

1. Duh–I write a poem a day. Greases the poetry wheel, primes the poetry pump,exercises the poetic mind. Any metaphor you can come up with about keeping the writing machine fluid and in good working order.

2. I am constantly thinking in poetry, looking for new forms to try (am currently in love with the alternate Kyrielle, alternate because I kind of bend the rules just a little.) And I wrote my first verse novel. Whether it will sell is still an unknown. It has had one rejection so far. In geologic time than is a mere tick.

3. It keeps me (at 74) on my toes. Not an easy thing to do! I HAVE to produce or disappoint myself and my subscribers. Though parenthetically I add (you have probably already noticed I love parentheses) the first two years I only wrote the poems for myself, not subscribers.

4. And along the way I have sold many of the (heavily revised) poems to magazines, journals, anthologies. I have put together whole collections of my own, much of them from the impetus of the PADP, including my most recent adult collections SISTER FOX’S GUIDE TO WRITING (Unsettling Wonder Press, out this fall) and THE BLOODY TIDE (HolyCow! Press, out next spring).

5. Most importantly, I have rediscovered my love for poetry and find I am reading a lot more poetry as well.

 

So want to be a subscriber? Send me a note at: janeyolen@aol.com and I will add you to the list.

 

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