It’s April and it’s National Poetry Month–two good things right there. For those out of the loop, National Poetry Month has all kinds of good things for poets and those interested in poetry. The Academy of American Poets offers a whole slew of events and various goodies on their website. One extremely popular, active online event is the Poem a Day (PAD) Challenge at the Poetic Asides blog run by Robert Lee Brewer. Robert offers a new writing prompt each day, and poets post their inspired creations in comments. Comments can run to the thousands. Top poems are chosen each day, and eventually an anthology/prompt collection is published of top selections. This year Robert has outdone himself with a stellar list of daily judges, including Denise Duhamel, Afaa Michael Weaver, Marge Piercy, Molly Peacock, Dorianne Laux, Annie Finch, Kim Addonizio, Michael Dylan Welch, and J. P. Dancing Bear among many, many others.
As former editor of Poet’s Market and past co-blogger at Poetic Asides, I’m not eligible to compete for daily “top poems” status. And as I’ve learned many times (most recently this past December), committing to doing something every day courts disaster. So I’m not saying I’ll absolutely write a poem a day for the 2015 PAD. But I’m going to write as much as I can.
Here’s why: My poetry-writing muscles have atrophied. I’ve convinced myself I’ve completely lost the ability to write poetry; at the same time, I’ve felt a swelling need to get back to it. If I write even a handful of poems this April, it will be a major step forward.
The first day’s prompt is “write a resistance poem.” Here’s what I posted in comments at Poetic Asides:
They told me diabetes tears down
your resistance to disease. I get that.
I wish it brought down my resistance
to sugar addiction. A daily battle,
that craving for the rush of sugar,
its Sugar Plum Fairy toe-dance
on the tongue, the elevated serotonin,
the smile that spreads across my body.
But the finger-prick and test strip lurk,
waiting to reveal the serious truth: poisons
dress in tutus and shimmer with diamond dust,
pleasurable sensation is the high’s illusion, the high
damages heart and veins, beckons eventual blindness,
knocks another stone out of the wall
of resistance to disease.
We’ll see how it goes as the month rolls on.