April has rolled around again, which means it’s time for NaPoWriMo! For the uninitiated, this is National Poetry Writing Month, a time when many people challenge themselves to write poetry on a daily basis. Traditionally, the challenge is to write 30 poems in 30 days: quite a feat! The project was started in 2003 by a US-based poet named Maureen Thorson, and since then it’s grown to a global endeavour (learn more on the central project website). It’s a great way to kickstart your creativity and to join a world-wide community of writers all striving to create.
Last year, we at I Am Loud Productions put together an intensive poem-a-day NaPoWriMo programme, releasing daily prompts and encouragement and weekly podcasts in which we shared our progress. Because lockdown had just begun, it was fantastic to have a structured writing schedule and to dive straight into an intensive project. I particularly appreciated the community that grew around it: many writers of all experience levels across Scotland joined in and shared their work over the month. It was challenging to write new work every day, but a fantastic way to ease into a tough period in our lives. You can watch the first podcast from last year’s project here.
This April, still in lockdown, it’s been harder to drum up the energy for the same poem-a-day regime! We also realised that last year, we tended to start a lot of work—the project sparked many ideas for poems—but didn’t have the time or focus to complete a poem every day. So, in planning this NaPoWriMo, we decided to shake things up a bit!
For NaPoWriMo 2021, we at I Am Loud are running a poem-a-week programme based on our Return to Form project. Every week in April we’ll focus on a different poetic form: concrete, golden shovel, Shakespearean sonnet, sestina, and univocal (in that order). We’ll be releasing lots of resources on these forms, including the workshops I created, prompts, examples, and encouragement. Every Tuesday we’ll also be releasing a special podcast (available on YouTube and all podcast platforms) in which the Loud Poets team shares the work we created in the past week and chat about our experiences tackling these forms. Our hope is that this is a slightly gentler take on NaPoWriMo in which you’ll still be actively writing on a daily basis, but you’ll have more time and more resources to actually take your poems from seed to finished in a week.
If that sounds good to you, we would love to have you join in! The programme is completely free and you can engage in it any way you want to. All of our resources will be released across our social media pages (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) and all of the podcasts will go out on our YouTube channel and all podcast platforms (search ‘The Loudcast’). We would love it if you shared any work you create with us, but you absolutely don’t have to—the most important thing is that you’re writing!
Learn more about the project and hear some of the work we created last year in our first NaPoWriMo 2021 podcast:
The first form we’re tackling this month is concrete poetry, a form in which the visual arrangement of the poem contributes to the poem’s meaning. I’m currently elbows-deep in developing mine—the great (and challenging) thing about this form is that it’s quite flexible, with infinite ways of approaching it. If you’re interested in writing alongside us this month, a good way to start might be by taking the workshop I facilitated for our Return to Form project. In it, I explain what concrete poetry is, give lots of examples across cultures and time periods, and take you step by step through how to create your own. I’m linking it below:
It would be wonderful to have you join us this month! If you have any questions about this project, or you want to share your work, please chime in using the Comments section on this blog, or comment on our social media or YouTube channel.
Happy writing! —K.