Poetry Month: Update 1

What I read:

I decided to start poetry month off by re-reading Sylvia Plath’s Ariel (the restored edition, of course). I’m pacing myself and reading just a few poems a day and actively reading the poems. Sometimes with poetry it can be easy to become entranced by the cadence of words. To simply read and go with the flow without reflection. That is a perfectly valid way to read a poem, but during this read I tried to stop and ask questions about craft. I started a list of words and lines that I simply mull over. I spent most of Tuesday repeating a line from Tulips, “And I am aware of my heart: it opens and closes.” I love that Plath uses a colon instead of different punctuation or doing something different with the line breaks. Side note, this line will be tattooed some place on my body. I should be finishing Ariel this week and moving on to some contemporary female poets.

What I wrote:

I have 7.25 shitty first drafts. That’s a start, right? I started on poem yesterday and I’ll share the subject matter here. I’m writing about how weird it feels to be writing poetry and especially trying to craft a poem. Most (not all) people I know either are intimidated by poetry or they view poetry as a place to vomit all of one’s feelings in a non-judgemental space. It is high art or it is therapy. I really don’t see poetry that way and I want to write about real things in an accessible way, but also to pay attention to form, sound, and technique. When I talk about paring down words and rearranging lines I sound like a bloated self-absorbed prig from a Franzen novel. Why is poetry viewed as snobby, exclusive, or too “feely.” I have absolutely no answers and only a handful of lines. We’ll see where it goes.

By the way, I thought about sharing some of my poems each week and then decided against it. I want 30 shitty first drafts by the end of the month. I’m getting ideas out and then going back over and writing a less shitty draft starting in May. If I knew that someone other than myself would be reading these poems I wouldn’t write them. I’d be paralyzed and start playing the perfectionist.

Poet of the Week:

Andrea Hollander

Andrea Hollander is the poet of the week! Tonight I started her collection Landscape with Female Figure, new and selected poems, 1982-2012 in anticipation of her reading at my university library tomorrow. I’ll be posting about her reading on Savvy Verse and Wit’s April Poetry Blog Tour this Thursday.

Poetry Magazine of the Week:


From their website:

THE FEM is a literary journal that publishes feminist, diverse, and inclusive creative works and interviews with writers, artists, and creators twice a week. We practice intersectional feminism, and seek to act as a safe space for both readers and writers from marginalized groups. Submissions are always open. We hope to hear from you soon.

The Fem has been a favorite for a few months now. In addition to a diverse body of contributors, The Fem is also all about awareness and community. They’re active on social media and their blog contains a list of other feminist-oriented, inclusive literary journals.

Poetry Link of the Week:

POET TIPS! Now you can discover new poets based off of poets you love. Users can vote if they agree or disagree with a recommendation and you can suggest poets to add. This is a marvelous discovery tool for poetry lovers.

Happy Poetry Month!



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