Looking back at Poetry Month

As poetry month comes to a close, I want to pause a moment, catch my breath, and look back at what I’ve learned, what I’ve noticed:

Last lines have been the hardest for me. Sometimes I’ve been able to lop them off. Other times I just don’t think they’ve worked, but I can’t figure out (in one day) what to do with them.

And titles. I haven’t been thrilled with many of my titles.

I’m more of a process poet (I knew that!). I need to be able to go back several times adding lines and images before I start revising. (This could be due to my short attention span.) Preferably over several days. I need time to learn things in between.

I wasn’t able to pull these poems into a coherent series or theme–to find a direction and use the prompts to follow that path, even though I designed the prompts to fit flexibly into any new project.

I’ve learned that using other poets’ lines helps me a lot. I don’t know whether it pushes me in more unusual directions (I hope it does). But using other lines helps me to sustain momentum when I’m in that first free write and just trying to generate, trying to get somewhere.

I think part of why those other lines are helpful is the reading I do while I’m looking for them–reading right before I start to write, which helps get me into the Poetry Zone.

Did you write a poem–or a draft of a poem–every day? What insights did this month of poetry bring you?

And now what’s next?

Over on his platform challenge, Robert Lee Brewer recommends planning out May–listing one thing that you’ll do for each day in the month. Even though I failed the platform challenge miserably, I like the idea of planning for May. And a big part of that is figuring out what I really want, and what to do to help get me there. The last prompt reminded me of that (again), because I wrote about what I thought I wanted to be when I was a kid–but really, I think I need to figure out what I now want to be when I grow up.

I’m also ready to catch up on other areas of my life–mail to friends, spring cleaning, yard work. Ah, another balance to work toward.

In closing, here’s my list of titles from April drafts. A * means I like the title (and I don’t have many of those). A + means I think I can work the draft into a poem I feel good about, and a ? means maybe I can work with it.

And the Bluebird of Happiness *?
The Six Swans +
The Sixth ?
The Needle Sees +
Out of Time +
Weighing In
Keep Your Breath with You at All Times *?
The Sixth Swan, in Two ?
To the Kitchen
From Lummi Island, Looking West and Back *+
From the Shallows, La Camargue *+
What Hungers ?
To Yellow
Another Story Lands in the Stars *
Walking by Water +
Assess
What Sticks +
These Chords
February Baby
Upon Now, Open to It *+
Not Drawn In
My Window Brings Me Paris +
No Ending ?
Half of the Pair *+
April Morning Bus
In a Cold Spring ?
“Avoid Self-Pity Like the Plague” *+
It Happened So Fast *
April Sunday, Anything But Blue *
A Change of Plans

Happy May!