Work in Progress: National Poetry Writing Month 2018

It’s National Poetry Writing Month!


I’ve set myself a challenge of revising one poem per day, OR writing a new poem.  One or the other. Normally I’d be all on myself to write a new poem every day. But my amazing poet and labor organizer friend Dawn Tefft recently shared some wisdom about revisions:


It just goes to show the importance of gaining distance from older pieces so that you're no longer attached to them and are willing to make the changes you previously couldn't see. This also echoes how I approach organizing: after every organizing conversation, meeting, action, or campaign, I always conduct a sort of internal audit of what I thought my/our strengths and weaknesses were and ask myself if there are approaches I/we could have taken that would've worked better. But I think it's harder to do this with writing, because what you put on the page remains there, which is why the distance that time creates is so necessary. I very much advocate going back to your old work to see if there are things worth revisiting and reshaping and letting go enough to make those changes.


And I thought:  I have so many poems I have held very closely--submitted to one journal at a time, or not submitted at all, or shipped around to friends, or read and re-read on my own.  What if I took my own writing seriously, if I took Dawn’s advice and started collecting and working with my own words, all month long?


So, this month, all month, I challenge myself to work on at least one poem a day--whether it’s older to me or freshly scored.  This is something I’m doing for myself, and scared and weary as it makes me, it’s also so thrilling: there is such a thing as a tesseract, and it’s belief in my own writing.  I may not post the poems every day, but will definitely post occasional updates and share poems when it feels right.  Thank you for reading.