I will not be taking part in most of the hoopla associated with National Poetry Month.
Don't get me wrong, I like you people. I really do, but I just can't bring myself to participate in all of the festivities.
NaPoWriMo? Opting out.
The Big Poetry Giveaway? I really don't think so.
Poem in My Pocket? Nope. I'm probably just happy to see you.
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Now for the hard part---telling all of you why I won't be playing any of the reindeer games with all of you, even though I have for years and have been happy to do so in the past.
I will not be trying to write a poem a day for the month of April because I have a new manuscript to work on. Oh, I love Robert Brewer and his month long running blog of writing prompts, which has evolved into a chapbook competition, but I just can't do it. I just can't commit to the rigor of trying to write a new poems every day while I try to edit my manuscript ( a book of landscape meditation) and get it into shape for submitting. I am submitting it to exactly two presses and two presses only. If neither of them wants it, I am fully prepared to go through Amazon myself and self publish it. For me to feel remotely good about that option, I need to know what I have is the absolute best manuscript possible. That means no cute poetry bullshit, which NaPoWriMo is for me. It's fun and games, and well, screw that. I've got to work.
I will not be participating in the Big Poetry Giveaway because I have already been giving a lot of books away. My books (both ones I have written and just ones I own) have been flying off my shelves for quite a while. I have given away over 50 copies of my latest book, Sailing This Nameless Ship, and at least a dozen other books written by other people in just the last several months. If I might be honest for a moment, my postage budget is stretched thin and I feel I have given enough for this year. Too thin? Too selfish? Well, that's okay if you think so.
I teach high school, and by this time of the school year, I have crammed so much poetry into my students, me carrying a poem in my pocket, or having my students do so, would just be more hassle than it's worth. I mean that. Trying to get my students to carry a pom in their pocket and read it at the drop of a hat is a task not worth wages. I would much rather let it slide altogether. My students know I am poet and some know I have had relative success getting my poems out into the world, and not a fuck has ever been given. I have been preaching the gospel of poetry for 15 years at my school, through bad times and good, and nobody there really cares. Every now and then I have a conversation with a faculty member, but really, that's just small talk on the way to other things, and I am not so sure it should ever be anything more.
So, I'm out. I am supportive of you participating, but it just isn't for me. I will not miss it, and I don't think I will be missed, either.