NaPoWriMo completed with moments to spare

NaPoWriMo 2013Well, a bit over an hour to spare, but it feels like moments. Yes indeed, I have completed the challenge this year (making up for falling apart last April) and have written 30 poems in 30 days, so I can now add NaPoWriMo to the list of writing challenges I have conquered.

Except, 30 poems in 30 days is kind of lying. Not because I didn’t write 30 poems, but because I wrote all 30 of them in 6 days. April 1, 7, 19, 21, 28 and 30, to be precise. I updated you all about a week and a half ago on my huge catch up on this challenge, but then promptly failed to keep writing a poem a day again, and so have had to do a huge catch up on 7 poems tonight, and I already had plenty to do this evening.

Anyway, the point is, I have done it! And though I’ve written a lot of pretty bad poetry, there are a few okay(ish) poems in this lot. I might share some of them, I might not – I haven’t quite decided and I need to look back over it all with a fresh mind anyway, as it is late at night and I desperately need sleep.

Anyway, how has everybody else completing writing challenges this month gone? Are you on track to finish? If so, good luck!

A poem: my attempt at a pantoum!

Before we get to my pantoum that I wrote today as part of the poetry writing challenge I am attempting, I should probably explain the form itself.

A pantoum is made of an indeterminate amount of stanzas (as in, you can write as few or many as you like) all made up of four lines. The second and fourth lines of each stanza also become the first and third line of the next stanza, and so on through the poem, and the final stanza repeats the unrepeated first and third lines from the first stanza. As a result, each line is repeated twice, and the poem attains a sort of cyclical feel to it, always coming back to the same ideas. While some people now believe it is not important to have a rhyme scheme, I like to rhyme each couplet, so that the rhyme scheme ends up something like abab bcbc cdcd and so on.

If none of that made much sense, just read my poem and the structure at least might come across more clearly.

This form is really quite challenging and I definitely don’t feel I have mastered it, but this is the first pantoum I have written in some time so I thought I would share it (even though I’m actually quite nervous). Enjoy!

The Cold Ground – A Pantoum

The crowd has gathered round
Unsheltered from the icy rain
As he’s placed into the cold ground
Gazed upon with pity and pain

Unsheltered from the icy rain
This bitterness has a sharp sting
Gazed upon with pity and pain
A big fall for one who was once king

This bitterness has a sharp sting
They watched him slide off the rails
A big fall for one who was once king
And who never found his own grail

They watched him slide off the rails
Now the crowd has gathered round
He never found his own grail
It’s too late, he’s deep in the cold ground

And there we have it, my first and last attempt at a pantoum for this poetry challenge. It was fun, and the last two lines I had to come up with (in other words, the first and third of the last stanza) were particularly challenging as I had to wrap it all up somehow and bring it back to where it started, but I am glad I wrote it.

What are your thoughts on this form, and on my attempt at it?

NaPoWriMo 2013: Week One Round-up

NaPoWriMo 2013I was off to a smashing start for this year’s NaPoWriMo, in which I write 30 poems in 30 days. The 1st of April was a public holiday for us in Australia, and so I had the whole day to run around getting various things done and still have time to write my first poem for the month. I wrote it quickly and with ease, a series of haiku ending in a senryu, and while I’m not overly keen on sharing it on here, I was fairly happy with it for the first poem I had written in some time.

Then the 2nd of April came along. The 3rd and 4th quickly followed, the 5th whooshed by, and the 6th snuck past me while my eyes were closed mid-sneeze (I’m a violent sneezer – I once sneezed so hard while standing up that I fell back into a chair. And by ‘once’ I mean it happens all the time).

But today, on the 7th of April, I woke up…feeling pretty awful actually. But anyway, fast forward to this afternoon, and I decided now was the time to catch up on this poetry, before it really is too late. And so I picked up the little writing pad I’m using for NaPoWriMo this year, and a pen, and I started scribbling down some poems, until a couple of hours later I was suddenly caught up (much to my own surprise).

The poem for day 2 was just a simple, quick haiku about a wintry day by the sea. Day 3 was a longer, free form poem about how life can feel like it is speeding away at its own pace and there’s nothing you can do but run along with it and see what happens (a feeling that I’m sure we all get from time to time). Day 4 was a silly limerick about a drunkard. Day 5 was inspired by a wedding I went to on that day. Day 6 was a villanelle for and about my girlfriend (and she will be the only one who will ever see/hear it), and today’s poem was a series of six haiku that were all vaguely based on some record breaking hot days from this summer that has just ended here in Australia.

So I’m all caught up, and ready to fall behind by a week again. But luckily I have one more week of teaching and then the kidlets (well…teenagers, they’re hardly kidlets) go on holidays for a couple of weeks, so I’ll have plenty of time for poetry writing later in the month.

For my fellow NaPoWriMoers, how are you going? What about those of you doing other writing endeavours such as Camp NaNo? I would love to hear from you all!