Monday, May 19, 2008



Well, NaPoWriMo (National Poetry Writing Month) gets more and more popular every year and it’s been a great idea. However, without readers, poems can’t do what they’re supposed to do i.e. be read.

So I’d like to inaugurate June as National Poetry Reading Month (NaPoReMo). The idea goes like this:

1. Buy a new book, preferably before June, by a contemporary poet whose work you are not particularly familiar with. An anthology is also acceptable. You must buy the book. Poetry publishers need your money, especially the smaller ones.
2. Read the whole collection by the end of the month at least once. I know some people will laugh at this, as they will read several collections every month. But for others, this will be a new experience.
3. Each day of June, write a paragraph on a poem from the book, and post it to your blog (if you have one). There’s no minimum or maximum length of paragraph. It could be a short sentence. But explain how you react to the poem and quote your favourite line (or a line to show why you didn’t like it).

*Please note – the sentence you write on the book needn’t be at all sophisticated. It should simply be an honest reaction to the poem, not a long theoretical treatise. So if you’re relatively new to poetry, have a go.

Anyone reading this – please spread the word. I know some poetry bloggers have already indicated their interest, but it would be good to have people taking part who don’t normally read much poetry. I have been known to read novels and non-fiction, and go to cinemas, theatres and art exhibitions, so crossover is possible! If you’re in, let me know in the comments box and I’ll create a link-list of participants.


Ben Wilkinson said...

Sounds like a great idea, Rob. I've a fair amount of reviewing to do between now and early/mid June, but I'm pretty sure I can find time for this. Count me in.

Laura said...

I'd love to do it, but I'm away. Maybe I'll just be an oddball and do it in August.

Jim Murdoch said...

I like the idea but I'm wary. I would like to say, "Yes," unconditionally but as I hate more poetry than I like I'm not sure I could do any one poet any favours by featuring them. I'd have to be very careful in my selection. I did look at the website of a young poet who has written a couple of poems I've really appreciated and I managed to find eighteen out of a hundred that I could feel comfortable passing judgement on in public.

The main problem I do have with your idea is that for it to work our readers would need to be familiar with the work we're on about and I'd feel the need to publish at least a part of the poem on-line for the review to be meaningful and I'm not sure a month of that would read well. I think this is the kind of thing I could slip in maybe once a month as a breather for me and for my readers, something different.

Mark Yoxon said...

I prefer this idea to writing poems-per-day, really. I'll try it.

Anonymous said...

Bandersnatchi said...

I'll certainly give this a go.
By focusing on the positive I'm sure I can find at least one thing: line, image, element of a poem that I'd like. Noting one element that doesn't work for me is hardly likely to change a poet's life, so I won't worry about any possible deleterious effects my crit might evoke.
Heh, I'm lucky if I can get someone to read my poems much less my crits!


Unknown said...

I could do that... only one collection? :(

Anonymous said...

Sounds really good. It might help me to get my blog up and running properly, too.

Rob said...

Thanks for the comments, folks.

Jim, I think it's possible to write engaging comments on a poem that will attract a reader's attention without that reader having to be familiar with the poem. At least, I hope I'm not proved wrong!

Barbara, you can of course read as many collections in June as you want, but focusing on one is the idea. But if you want to do two or three, you can do that. My rules are only there to be broken.