Reflecting On National Poetry Month

A few days into May and I’m sitting at my desk, drinking coffee, reflecting on National Poetry Month. It’s taken me a few days to let the full weight of the month absorb into my mind. A hurricane of pencils, scraps of paper, and sheer determination surrounded me for the full 30 days in April. What started out as an incredible first Thursday of the month soon led into three more Thursday nights joined by a group of people just as passionate about poetry as me.

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Yes, each Dose of Poetry event was unique and inspiring in its own way. Below you’ll see a variety of photos from weeks two through four. (Photos from the first week can be found here.) What was truly amazing was how the poets that we were honoring each session heavily influenced the tone of the night. It was interesting to compare the impact that Whitman and Dickinson had amongst the crowd compared to Yeats. Besides that, having so many wonderful voices gathering to share their own work was something that filled me with so much inspiration. I’m truly grateful to everyone who participated.
When I set out to make these poetry events happen, there were some challenges. Determined to not let doubtful comments stop me, I instead allowed them to fuel my spirit. Thankfully, it all paid off. It’s always a coin toss with these kinds of things. Especially at a University library where things can sometimes be poorly attended. However, the numbers remained steady and full each week. I truly appreciated every single person that came to celebrate poetry. With all that said, I can only hope that the future will yield more Doses of Poetry, and that I will be able to plan and host them just as I did last month.
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As if all of that wasn’t enough, I also participated in April’s National Poetry Month challenge 30/30. It may not seem like a lot to write a poem a day, but it certainly is. I still have yet to sort through every single one of the poems I wrote, but I will say that it was an excellent learning experience. The topics varied from day to day, and I began to become inspired by more instances and objects that occurred or appeared during my daily routine. From the sea salt brownies I bought one afternoon, to the black cat sitting in the middle of the street one night when I was driving home…I used it all. I know the best part about the challenge was incorporating the habit of writing a poem everyday into my schedule. It has since spilled over into May and poetry is still very much on my mind all the time.
To close, I want to share some more happy news that’s on the horizon with all of you. I applied and got accepted to the Frost Place 2016 Poetry Seminar! Looking to further my knowledge and work on my craft, I applied unsure whether or not my poetry submissions would be good enough to get in. I was thrilled when they were. I won’t be headed to New Hampshire until the end of July, but it’s something wonderful to look forward to.
Until next time,
Christine

National Poetry Month Is Coming…

National Poetry Month is almost here, and it seems like I’ve been preparing for it for an entire year. I can safely say I’ve been living and breathing poetry since last April, and I have learned so much about writing and myself. Next month I will be hosting four poetry events at Georgian Court University Library. The series is entitled “A Dose of Poetry,” and it’s going to be an inspiring set of events. I hope you can make it.

Besides that, I attended one of the best open mic events I’ve ever been to last Friday night. Poet Cord Moreski hosts a series entitled “Words on Main” bi-weekly in Asbury Park, NJ. This was the first time I attended one of his events, and I can safely say that it was an inspiring experience. The entire audience was welcoming and just as motivated about poetry as I am. I definitely recommend attending Cord’s events too.

Moving forward, I heard a lot about “30/30,” which is a National Poetry Month challenge where you write 30 poems in 30 days. Quite the challenge, yes, but I would imagine it would be worth it. I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo and Camp NaNoWriMo several times, and this is a poetry challenge in the same spirit. I believe it can be done. So, what do you say? Are you up for the challenge too?

Let’s chat about it on Twitter. Tweet me @AWritersWay!

To end, I’ll leave you with some Whitman…

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A Dose of Poetry

After a few months of planning, I’m happy that I can finally share some exciting news with all of you. In honor of National Poetry Month, I will be hosting four poetry workshops at Georgian Court University Library. Every Thursday night in April we will have a great presentation, followed by creative writing exercises and an opportunity to share your own poetry. Please share the flyer below with friends, family, and all of the creative folk you know!

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The Tale Of The Anxious Novelist

“Writing a novel is a terrible experience, during which the hair often falls out and the teeth decay. I’m always irritated by people who imply that writing fiction is an escape from reality. It is a plunge into reality and it’s very shocking to the system.” –Flannery O’Connor

I guess it’s time to talk novels. Why? Because I’ve begun writing one again.

It hit me like a sledgehammer to the face on January 2nd. I know it may seem pretty harsh to describe it that way, but it was incredibly unsettling and powerful. It filled me with anxiety and anger within five minutes of its birth. So much so, that there are parts of the day that I simply don’t remember.

I’ve talked about the development of character names in the past. It normally hinders my creative flow, but within minutes I had the names of the three main characters written down. Some secondary character names followed soon after.

I wasn’t sure if I was ready to go back to it…a life with characters living in my head, scenarios appearing, a new setting to explore. Writing poetry is a completely different experience. It’s often a series of short bursts. You get an idea, you write it down, you revise, and it’s complete. Of course, I know myself a little better than all that. There really is no escape for me. I can try to ignore it, pretend the ideas aren’t there, but living like that usually results in misery of some sort.

Now you’re probably wondering why I’m being so negative, but I promise you I’m just trying to paint a realistic picture. That’s why I started this post with the quote by Flannery O’Connor. If there’s one thing I’m certain of, it’s my confidence in knowing that I am a writer. Sometimes I’m a poet, sometimes I’m a novelist, and sometimes (because of my job) I’m a pop culture journalist. Still, always a writer. Most of my days consist of wearing different hats, so I know it’s possible to mix all different types of writing into my schedule.

What helps is the faith I have in this new project. The way the idea came to me was more powerful than anything I’ve ever written. While the whole day was filled with an uncomfortable feeling, my gut told me that I would remember the day ten years down the road, and for a good reason. The strange feelings have since calmed down and formed into something easier to live with. Over the past week, I’ve started to see certain parts of the setting and plot more clearly. I’ve dabbled in writing realistic fiction before, but it is definitely new territory for me. None the less, I’m embracing the “plunge into reality,” and have accepted that there will be moments quite “shocking to the system.”

So, cheers! Here I go again.

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From Thoreau, To Emerson, and now Whitman! 

  
I’ve always written poetry here and there, but I’ve been living and breathing it since March of this year. I carry a journal with me constantly so I always have a place to put my new ideas or to work on unfinished poems. I’m starting my third journal tonight. 

My last journal came with me to Concord, MA and I’m hoping to take this one on some new adventures. It’s so weird looking at a shiny brand new one. As you can see, they get pretty worn and beat up over time. I prefer them looking used and tossed around a bit to be honest. 

From a Thoreau quote, to Emerson, and now Whitman! Each quote has described a different chapter of this year for me, and I’m looking forward to this new one. 
Until next time,

Christine 

Still here!

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Yep, I’m still here. I know it’s been far too long since I’ve sat down to write a blog post, but don’t worry my friends. It’s been an interesting few months. It amazes me how much I continue to learn and grow as a poet/writer as time goes on. So many new experiences have inspired me to keep writing.

Unfortunately, my insanely busy schedule has cut back on my creative writing time, but that will ease up soon! This Friday brings another new chapter in my life, a.k.a. I’m moving again! It should be a fun adventure…one that will provide an environment sure to embrace my creative spirit.

Be sure to keep an eye out for an upcoming post about something new that I’m working on…

Until then, I’ll leave you with this quote:

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If I Ever Get Lucky Enough…

…to write enough poems to sort into a collection, I think I have a fitting title. I came up with it today while driving and it was one of those moments where I thought, “Oh wow! That’s simple…but incredibly ironic and clever…”

Of course now you’re going to be mad that I’m not going to tell you what it is. I’m sorry. I’m just too paranoid for that sort of sharing… =)

I will tell you that I’ve been working on a lot of poems. I developed some kind of “two-line” disease where I write two lines and stop. I don’t think they’re the type of poems like “In a Station of the Metro” by Ezra Pound where they are mind blowing and effective enough to just be left that way, but I guess you never know. Although I did learn the other day that “In a Station of the Metro” was originally 30+ lines and Pound worked on it for a year until he cut it down to two lines (three if you include the title.) Perhaps some of these poems will just take longer to work on. I’m happy that the ideas are there at least.

Within the past week I did finish two poems. So, progress is progress! I’m happy with them.

I hope you are all feeling inspired and jotting down ideas frequently!

Until next time,

Christine