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napowrimo #18

April 18, 2010

Eighteen days into NaPoWriMo! Wow! I’ve been working on this one off and on all day, in stages, jotting some things down, going off on an errand or puttering around the house and coming back to it. It’s finally a completed first draft. Process notes are below.




For today’s poem, I worked with two prompts. The first was one of Kelli’s prompts. Here’s her prompt #27 (I skipped #28 — write a poem on a postcard — because I spent all of August 2009 doing that): Write down 6 things you did yesterday. Write down 6 questions you have about life. Write down 6 interesting images. Choose 3 from each category and use them in a poem.

Here are the lists I made —

Six things I did yesterday: slept in, wrote a poem, burnt a pizza, hugged a sad friend, asked for the check at a restaurant before the food came, held a sleeping dog on my lap during a poetry reading.

Six questions about life: Do we deserve to be happy? How long will I live? Why is the sky blue? Is it any of your business? What does it mean to do/be good? Is there such a thing as fate?

Six interesting images: a little girl teaching her teddy bear how to protect against vampires, a panhandler flirting with women on the street, winter coats in April, superheroes behind poets at the microphone, no outside light on at our house, tree roots lifting up the sidewalk.

I also made a list of titles (before writing because I wanted the title based on today’s Poetic Asides prompt to inspire/guide the writing): To the Bat Cave, To live forever, To April who is full of more poetry than is healthy or good, To the poets who huddle around the microphone to combat villains and To survive in the world a girl must smile. I ended up editing that last one to come up with my title.

Next, I wrote a sentence about each of the 18 items on the lists inspired by Kelli’s prompt and arranged them in an order that seemed interesting to me, and then I went back in to delete what I didn’t like and add things where necessary. I don’t know how many items I kept from the original lists and I turned many of the questions into directives (“Do not ask”), but that’s not what matters. This one had me jumping through hoops, but guess what? The piece couldn’t have been born any other way.


Tally: 20 = 7.0 RWP +  11.0 PAD + 2.0 Book of Kells. (Target is now 32.)

  1. April 18, 2010 1:37 pm

    I really like this poem. And thanks for the link to Kelli’s prompts, I appreciate having another resource to go to when the ReadWritePoem ones stump me!

    • April 18, 2010 5:58 pm

      thank you, marie-elizabeth! are you coming to saratoga with taylor in june? that’s part of our local scene and jill and i are hoping to make it.

  2. April 18, 2010 5:11 pm

    the bestest suffragette poem i ever ever read… here kitty kitty

    • April 18, 2010 5:59 pm

      a suffragist poem? wow! i hadn’t considered it that way. it’s somewhat tentative in the girl power department. but sometimes, that’s real life. 🙂

  3. April 18, 2010 9:09 pm

    I don’t know how you do it (the prompts, the words, the images) quite the way you do, but I hope you keep on doing it.

    Also, you’re in the Hudson Valley? I was just talking with someone yesterday about how I didn’t know anyone around there that I could think of…

    • April 18, 2010 9:34 pm

      thank you, joseph. yes, i’m in the albany, ny, area. we have a pretty active poetry scene and there’s some cultural exchange with saratoga and kingston areas. 🙂

  4. April 18, 2010 9:55 pm

    This is real amazing work Carolee, a beautiful tapestry of six things you did, the six questions, the six images, and the way you worked on these.The title is very inspiring. Great poem.

  5. April 20, 2010 11:13 am

    I like this a lot, Carolee. You’ve woven your lists into a wonderful tale. “The street below
    is cracked where other women/crashed to Earth. No one caught them.” is particulalry powerful.

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