Reflecting on Writing 30 Poems in 30 Days

I’m glad I did it — I’m glad I took the challenge of writing 30 new poems in 30 days and lining up “sponsors” who would donate a set amount of money per poem in order to help a local group that supports immigrant families in the Pioneer Valley (where I live). (See initial news story about the project)

But I do wonder about the quality of what I was writing. I felt like I barely had time to take a breath, never mind go as deep as I would have liked to have done in any other time. Don’t  mistake me — I write fast and let ideas bubble, not simmer. But a poem every day was still a challenge. I found myself looking at the small moments of my life, trying to see the world through the poetic lens, and then I tried to capture some of that with poetry.

I also made forays into technology — I wrote a poem with Wordle, with images, as a comic strip movie, in a Prezi presentation and with Voicethread. I wanted to explore some possibilities that aligned nicely with the short-form poems that I was writing. Most days, I podcasted my poems using the free Myna software from Aviary. It was a perfect platform for recording, downloading as MP3 files and then sharing out, too.

I also had this vision of my reader — my sponsors, who were stretched out across the United States (and into New Zealand). Every morning, I would send them off an email with a new poem. Sometimes, they would write back — sometimes, they wrote back with a poem of their own.

Aram, for one, decided early on that he liked the challenge so much that he began posting his own poems in response, sometimes, to mine. Or at least, in response to the challenge. (And it was thanks to Aram that I said hello to Billy Collins.) Another person in our iAnthology network, and a sponsor, took to writing her own 30 poems, too, but she has kept them private. I was grateful that my poetry inspired her to take the chance, too.

I began the month with a poem about “plunging into poetry” and ended it by letting my readers know that “Gratitude is the song I sing” for them being there every day. In between, I wrote about my family, about writing, about my classroom, about the digital world, and more.

Most of the poems were short — five to ten lines long, and I struggled to pack a punch into those lines. I didn’t want the words to just sound nice; I wanted the words to mean something. I hope they did.

So, what do you do with 30 fresh poems? I’m not sure. Right now, they sit in the bin with a previous venture of OnePoemEveryMonthforaYear, and poems written in response to photos posted by Bud the Teacher a few months back and other odds and ends of writing collecting dust.

If I can swing it, I am going to try to go to the poetry reading for the 30Poems in 30Days project at our local library this week (scheduling makes this difficult, so I don’t know …) I’m curious to hear what other folks have been doing and maybe, I’ll be able to share a poem or two of my own to a live, and not just virtual, audience.

Peace (in the poems),

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