Tag Archives: NaPoWriMo

NaPoWriMo Day 25: A Work Poem

27 Apr

Some days, I like my work, by which I mean, my wage-earning, get dressed in a suit, meet with customers employment. I get to travel on occasion and most people I encounter are funny, kind, hard-working–in general, nice people who I don’t mind spending a few minutes, or in some cases, whole days with.

Other days, and other people in certain circumstances, I do not. I do not like them (the people or the days) with a vehement, name-calling, furniture-kicking spite. They sap my joie de vivre, they foster my anti-social tendencies, and worst of all, they rob me of time, with my husband, with my friends, with my real work–this writing thing that I do and love and wish I got to do more often.

On a recent The Writer’s Almanac (with silver-soft Garrison Keillor), Keillor talked about the poet Ted Kooser, who woke at 4:30 every morning to write for a couple of hours before work. Kooser wanted to write poems for the everyman, poems that talked about everyday life and experience. Which got me thinking about the thing that I complain about most these days: my job.

This is nothing new. People have been frustrated by their jobs for eons. And there are days that don’t make me sick with rage and pent-up frustration. Days that my coworkers are a joy and testament to the power of friendship and camaraderie to get you through the mundane and not so pleasant aspects of grown-up life. Other days, not so much.

Continue reading


NaPoWriMo 2013: Poem for 04.14.13

20 Apr

We’re at the halfway mark for NaPoWriMo, and my writing desk is a mass of stacked papers, books, doodads and paperclips right now. I always like to keep a poetry book or two nearby, so I can flip through their pages and find inspiration when I’m flagging and staring too long at a blank screen.

On top of the stack this week is Sean Nevin‘s Oblivio Gate. This is an amazing book, about family, loss, redemption and especially Alzheimer’s. The cover says it all.


The loss of one’s memory, one’s mind, I would argue, one’s self is a terrifying thing to think about, and it’s something we think about in my family because my grandfather suffered through it. Continue reading

NaPoWriMo 2013 & a Poem

10 Apr

If you haven’t heard of it before, NaPoWriMo is short for “National Poetry Writing Month,” which celebrates April, National Poetry Month, with a flurry of new poems by a committed band of global poets who have pledged to write a new poem every day in April. I tried it in 2010, during what I now call “my New York years,” when I was unemployed and driftless in a new city, anchored only by my love of literature (and CityBoy who isn’t small potatoes but less relevant to my drifting as he was then working 40-50 hours a week and not home a lot). It was hard, the 2010 NaPoWriMo, but it was a great experience and taught me a lot about sucking it up and getting down to the business of writing.

As we edged closer into spring this year, I decided to give it another whirl, to see if a) I could still write that prolifically while b) gainfully (and sometimes wearyingly) employed. So, I give you NaPoWriMo 2013!

30 poems in 30 days . . . gulp!

30 poems in 30 days . . . gulp!

Only 9 days into the project, and I can tell you – man, this shit is hard! The temptation to flake, to agree to that post-work Happy Hour or sink down into the bliss of the TV-viewing couch, is great. And mighty. And a daily battle. But then, isn’t life and by extension, writing?

I’m sure there will be a lot of drivel this month getting pushed out by my touch-typing fingers, but maybe, just maybe there will be good work.

Here’s my poem for 04.09.13: Continue reading

Whoa! I Wrote 25 Freaking Poems in a Month? (or 2010 NaPoWriMo Wrap-Up)

5 May

Hello, online worldies!  I’ve been out of touch for a few weeks, kicking back in the O.C. (I know, it’s probably passé to call it that now, but oh well, I’m not terribly cool) during a visit to family and friends.  I go back to New York City tonight (the red-eye, baby!) and it’s not without a sense of wistfulness. 

My nieces are growing up so weirdly cute and gloriously entertaining, my mom’s cooking is still as fabulous as ever, and my friends are still kicking ass and taking names in their own unique ways. 

But Manhattan awaits, and in it, CityBoy, who’s had 13 days of uninterrupted baseball-watching, bean-stew-eating, iPhone-surfing, and god only knows what.  All hail, Jho, the returning conqueror!  (Oh, sorry.  Must have been channelling my inner Julius Caesar.)

So…anyways, yes, I wrote 25 poems in a freaking month (really three weeks, as my writing in the O.C. has been sporadic at best).  Twenty-five!  Can you believe it?  Most of them are quite crappy, I’ll happily admit.  But a select few are pretty friggin’ awesome.  Here’s the run-down:

NaPoWriMo Poems

  1.  Dune, about my adolescent obsession with the movie “Dune”
  2. Turning, about how men and women respond to signs of aging
  3. Sparklers, in the voice of a woman who doesn’t recall the exact details of an important death
  4. In Praise of Joan Holloway, for Joanie of “Mad Men” Continue reading

Shake Out Your Couplets and Similes: It’s National Poetry Month!

2 Apr

(the mystery of you in never lost on me)

I’m a little late to the show, but yesterday kicked off National Poetry Month.  I’m sure there will be readings and gatherings and celebrations in your town–the quantity of stuff happening in New York City is staggering and I’m still finding out about new venues and groups every day–but you can find lots of stuff on the Internet, which I thought I would share, in the event that your town isn’t able to host such robust offerings.

Here’s a few that stood out for me:

Poetry Everywhere has both video of well-known poets reading their work (most seem to come from the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival, which I desperately want to attend some day), and animated video of poetry, which is super cool and really imaginative.  I love Mark Doty and he reads his poem “Brian, Age 7” on the site.  Amazing, amazing, amazing.  He’s so my hero.

Farrar, Straus, and Giroux (FSG) Books is doing a sign-up for a poem a day to your email.  Today’s poem was “Dust” by C.K. Williams, who, incidentally, I first heard read earlier this week at the Threepenny Review 30th Anniversary reading at McNally Jackson, a very happenin’ SoHo bookstore (I have pictures and comments to post from that reading, which I hope to get to today).  From Mr. Williams’ poem, I learned the word “poplet” as in “the poplets of light.”  Lovely, huh?

The Academy of American Poets is also doing a poem-a-day thing, in addition to all the wonderful poems and info they have on their site.

And while Flavorpill’s Pic of the Day isn’t about poetry per se, it may inspire some poetic thinking in your noggin.  Today’s pics are courtesy of Noel Kerns, who “paints abandoned spaces with colorful gelled lights in his nocturnal work.”  I particularly loved this one:

Noel Kerns' Abandoned Cafe

I’ve decided to participate in NaPoWriMo this time around, which challenges people to write a poem a day for National Poetry Month.  I’m sure many of mine will be terrible and unfortunate, but it’s the practice of the thing that’s important, putting your butt in the chair each and every day, regardless of your mood or schedule.  I’ll let you know how it pans out.  So far, I’ve written three new poems (I think one of them may actually be a “real” poem) and revised a couple I’ve been struggling with for a while.  So I’m off to a good start.

I hope you get out there (online or in the brick-and-mortar world) to hear and read poetry this month.  It might just be addictive.

Rock on, people.

– Jho