NaPoWriMo 2014: write like nobody’s reading

National Poetry Writing Month begins today. Will you write 30 poems in 30 days?

Well, no. I won’t, not me personally. I retired from writing poetry a couple years ago. But before I did I wrote four books and am currently looking to publish them, so I definitely salute the annual celebration of the art.

Here at S&R we have a deep and abiding respect for verse, and we encourage you to break out the quill and parchment (if you don’t have a quill and parchment pen and paper, or even a word processing package such as Microsoft Word will do) and get your poetry on.

Also, since we know from long experience that good writing is a function of reading, we want you to set aside some time to revisit your favorite poets and explore new ones. What have you learned from those you’ve known for years and what can you learn from the ones you’re just now discovering? Think, indulge, experiment.

If I might bastardize a thing all the kids are saying today, write like nobody’s reading.

We’re going to help. Throughout the month we’ll post things we like and that you might like. Hit the comments section and tell us what you think – evaluate the writers, suggest things we should check out, and so on.

Dan’s lovely wedding poem kicked the month off nicely. I’ll reply with one of mine – a melancholy counterpoint for those of us who didn’t get it right.

Wedding Song

Drape those chains across the altar.
Release the moths when she says “I do.”
Pour some coffee in Calliope, for
God’s sake, and
prop her up over there,
by the organ grinder…

When the rite begins, forgive me.
Rose and shank draw blood,
sign of the cross and aftershock of flesh
against which you cross yourself.

A requiem for the wed: He speaks the sanctity of
marriage, the dignity of wedded love, the
grace of sacrament and the higher
mysteries of abandonment, rejection,
betrayal. The night is a vigil of candleflies, a
ligature of bared teeth.

Ah, love, let us be true
to one another, goose-stepping at spear-point
along a crumbling cliff-edge, where
raptors take the measure of
a sword-full sky.

Choirs of marionettes convulse our
husks toward the bridal chamber.
The most we can dream are orchids
fluorescing in a bonecage.


  • I write like nobdoy’s reading every day (it’s often the case…) I’m going to enjoy following your napowrimo posts.

  • Three things:

    First, thanks for the nod in this post, Sam. Positive feedback like that keeps me writing.
    Second, I had no idea it was National Poetry Writing Month, or that such a thing even existed.
    Third, you describe your excellent poem as “counterpoint for those of us who didn’t get it right.” Who the hell says I got it right? Sometimes the passion and the love endures merely because you haven’t managed to drive each other crazy.

    Yet. 🙂

    • Sometimes the passion and the love endures merely because you haven’t managed to drive each other crazy.

      Yet. 🙂

      “It’s possible that this lovely building might someday catch fire” is entirely preferable in every way to “holy shit, did you see that sumbitch burning to the ground?”

  • michele salmon

    I’ve got a match but we aren’t going to burn the house down!

  • westernlady27

    I’ll have to look them up. I hope that reading poetry and writing it would Never become a lost art. I used to write poetry some years back. Good luck.

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