The Problem with Poem-a-Days

I have nothing to post for Poetry Month today, and it looks like I will not scrape anything together.

Because I’ll be in meetings all day tomorrow and Saturday, don’t look for anything then. And next week? Special events on campus every day on top of end-of-semester grading. The prospects are not promising. I may quit the blog, let alone the poem-a-day endeavor. And what do I have to show on Day 8, having ostensibly made it this far? Sort of?

Nothing, that’s what. I haven’t written anything in eight days that I would proudly claim as my best work. I might revisit a line here and there. Other than that, I don’t hold out much hope.

Regardless, I’ll keep plugging away where I can, writing something even if it’s not my proudest. I love the energy of National Poetry Month. I love all the effort poured into reading and writing poetry. I love our poetry day at school. I want to rule Poetry Month and have it rule me. I just can’t.

It’s in April, you see, and April is the busiest time of year. I am burned out, stressed out, and strung out. I have nothing to give.

Maybe I should do my own poetry month in July when I’m not as stressed. I’m sure it would work out better for me. I’m sure I would write more than I’m writing now and feel better about it. I still wouldn’t go a whole month with a poem a day of work I want to keep and feel good about. Poetry doesn’t work that way. It needs time to percolate.

That’s the problem with poem-a-days. They assume poetry can be dashed off on demand.

Remember the Yeats poem about spending a whole afternoon devoted to writing one line? Poetry is more like that. It sets its own pace. Good poems require a certain amount of reflection time. They may even require some research. They certainly require more mental energy than, for example, writing this blog post.

All that aside, let me take a minute to talk about my garden. I put some tomato and pepper plants in my raised beds this week. They don’t have any tomatoes or peppers on them yet. Check back with me in June, and we’ll see where we stand then.

My April poems are not poems yet. But I’m doing what I can here and there to get them started. Check with me in June to see how they’re doing.