I wanted to say that what’s really interesting about NaPo this year is the overall quality of the threads at PFFA. I haven’t really been following NaPo around the web (who has the time?) but I think — I could be wrong — that something’s happening that’s rather unexpected; this poem-a-day thing is churning up good stuff.
PFFA’s notoriously mean and narrow about what it considers poetry. It has to be stuff that has been through some sort of alchemical process, not just words on a page (which is what poetry tends to be considered throughout cyberspace and, I presume, in classrooms and bedroom around the English-writing world), or — horrors — emotions on a page, untouchable and sacred because, well, they’re y’know emotions. At PFFA moderators and regulars (of which I am one) are merciless in their striking down of things that should properly be kept in journals and not shared with humanity, and there are lots of tears.
You’d expect, then, for NaPo, which makes one write, write, write, to engender plenty of spew, with one or two gems.
My experience of this year’s threads, though, is the opposite. Lots of gems, and gems from people whose posts have been berated and belittled and shunted down from forums they don’t belong in. These are people of courage, by the way, people who have swallowed their pride and their hurt feelings and kept plugging.
But here’s the thing. It’s occurring to me that what they plugged on a regular basis was the Same Old Same Old — stuff that didn’t reach the bar, hit the mark, insert whatever cliche you will. But suddenly, in NaPo, gems are tumbling out.
Isn’t that the way it is with writing, especially poetry? It’s like priming a pump, clearing a line, digging a well. All the crap has to be cleared away first, and then, suddenly, you hit the real thing.
Congratulations to all those who have hit the real thing. Celebrations with all those who are spouting geysers of stuff that can be kept after April and made into pretty decent poems.
If you don’t believe me, go here, and just read:
Or follow this link, and go play with Simon’s buttons.