Nothing causes the sound of crickets on my FaceBook page faster than the mention of poetry. It’s amazing! I can ask for volunteers to read a short story and get a few takers (and it’s more words! more time! more reading!), but read a poem? Everyone puts her or his head down, backs away from my post & the room quietly fades to black. Cue the crickets.

I don’t really consider myself a poet, although I have worked and worried a few verses that were respectable enough. But here it is, National Poetry Writing Month (get the blog title?) and here I am, not blogging often enough. Also, I am in my very last class before graduating and it happens to be a poetry class! (Coincidentally, my very first class in the program was a poetry workshop, which seems like poetic justice, no?)

The Project: A poem a day for a month!

Here’s what poet and publisher Maureen Thorson, the founder of this project, says of NaPoWriMo:

Be open to the possibilities. The point isn’t to turn out a fully formed sonnet each day — although if anyone wants to try, I’m not going to discourage them! The point is to just get something down on the page without worrying about doing it “right.” Many people, including published poets, avoid writing because their inner editor keeps saying, “oh, that’s not good” or “you’re not taking this seriously.” But then you end up writing nothing at all.

I’d suggest that people “let go” of any preconceived notions of what poems have to look like or be about. A poem can rhyme, or not. It can be in a traditional form, or not. It can be about something like love or death, or . . . it could be about how much you like the smell of new erasers. Again, this project is more about getting words down than on making sure they’re perfect. You can always edit later — like in May!

So, please don’t leave me here all alone. I’ll try not to hurt you. I promise!

April 1

Bag of compost in hand, intent on quick deposit,

and hasty retreat from the green bin’s rotting stink,

I am stopped short by the lemon tree prima donna,

A songbird crooning its dusky love refrain

that leaves me longing at the top of the stairs.