April = National Poetry Month

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Did you know that April is National Poetry Month? I had no idea until tonight, but I’m sure glad I found out!

If you read my last blog, then you are aware that, as of late, I have been struggling quite seriously with my creativeness. And, to elaborate a bit further on my thoughts from last night, I think part of my problem is my tendency to subconsciously believe the misconception that ‘true’ or ‘pure’ creativity and inspiration can only happen organically and never as a result of one’s deliberate intentionality. However, a fellow artist and friend of mine, after reading my last blog, said something to me that really hit home; it’s nothing I haven’t heard before, but it was definitely the reminder I needed: “…sometimes,” she said, “you have to be really purposeful and specific about creativity.”

Words of wisdom, those are! Thank you, Michelle!

It’s true, though, how we succumb to this belief that something isn’t really creative if we’ve created it through a scheduled and/or disciplined agenda. Somehow – and I have no idea why this is – in our minds, spontaneity becomes synonymous with true creativity.

But the two ideas are not synonymous, as Michelle pointed out. One can tap into her fullest potential and create something that’s true and meaningful and authentic while also being deliberate and completely strategic about it. Jeez, I, of all people, should know this! I’m a pianist!! Sure, the gruelingly long hours at the keys, practicing scales and arpeggios and the like can suck, but when you put everything together and apply the technicalities to, say, Liszt’s “Gnomenreigen”, the pieces all fall into place; and suddenly you find yourself effortlessly playing a highly creative, highly genuine masterpiece. A song. Not simply a series of complex notes and rhythms.

My point? You don’t just wake up one day and play a Liszt piece. You practice. And practice. And PRACTICE! Day after day, note by note, one fragmented measure at a time – for hours and hours and hours! Until a work of art is born. Now if that’s not an example of intentional, disciplined artistry, then I’m not sure what is!

All that to say, Michelle is right. Being specific and purposeful is key.

And that’s precisely where National Poetry Month comes in. First of all, I love poetry. And, for whatever reason, I’ve always enjoyed writing poetry more than I have prose (even though I think I’m actually better at the latter). Some of you know that I attempted National Novel Writing Month last year and failed miserably. Regardless, I think a specific plan and focus will help me get back on track with my writing, and the thought of writing (or reading) poetry for thirty days excites me far more than the idea of writing a shitty novel in a month.

Thus, I’m committing myself to a one-month poetry writing/reading/sharing challenge. For the entire month of April, I will attempt to interact with as much poetry as I can, whether it be original poetry that I’ve written myself or simply another poet’s work(s) that I read (and then share with my blog readers). After all, in any genre of literature, to be a good writer is to be a good reader first. Right?

So…let the poetry writing & reading begin!

[And just for kicks, check out this video of an 8-year-old who plays “Gnomenreigen” better than most adults probably ever will. Wowza! CLICK HERE.]

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2 responses »

  1. Hoorah! I’m looking forward to reading about what you discover during this month of poetry immersion. I, also, am celebrating the month in an effort to live more artistically. I’m going to write a poem every day this month. They might (probably will) be vapid or awkward at times, but they also might lead to something good. Who knows? Hm. Wanna join me?

    Also, let me know if you’d like to meet for a photo shoot, a literary discussion, or a writing swap. You’ll probably find other people (NU grads, perhaps?) in the same swamp as we are. And this summer’s gonna be killer if we don’t get out!

    Happy Poeming!

    • Yay! I’m so happy to hear that you, too, will be “poeming” all month long, and I’d love to hear of your discoveries as well. :) And I might just join you in writing a poem each day. I’m sure most of mine will be horrid (I’m suuuper rusty!), but, like you said, this could be the start of something good. And when everything is said and done, we’ll at least have developed the good habit of writing regularly.

      Oh, and, yes, we should definitely meet for some sort of an artistic gathering in the near future. I would love that!

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