March 31, 2009

NaPoWriMo

Since I'm on the road, I haven't had a chance to do a proper post about this. But since April 1 is upon us, I would like to draw your attention to the most honorable resurrection of NaPoWriMo at Maureen Thorson's blog here...

...and I would also like to say that I think the Academy of American Poets, which is responsible for many fine programs (including one mentioned in the blog below!), took a big ol' misstep by trying to turn a grassroots project into a fundraising drive here.

Drafts produced on account of poem-a-daying have been, for me, a fantastic mix of play and serious craft. Some of those poems have found homes in major publications. The idea of reducing them to tokens of accomplishment--akin to reaping $2 from every box of Girl Scout cookies sold--grosses me out, even if it IS for a good cause. Hard enough to be facing down a six-minutes-to-midnight deadline without a gaggle of pledges on your back. Not to mention that this kind of formalized venue only further muddies the waters on whether posted drafts are being "published." Has the Academy explained that to participating poets?

The fact that no one there seems to have done any research into who got this movement up and running (Maureen! We love you!), nor spoken to any kind of deeper philosophy of why it is a good idea (or a bad one), nor made any attempt to offer a thumbnail history that gives credit, just makes it all the more inelegant. Designing a logo for NaPoWriMo doesn't make it yours, guys, especially when you're modifying its identity in such a fundamental manner.

4 comments:

Reb said...

Agreed, and as always, you are quite tactful. If you ever teach a workshop called Tact for Poets 101, please let me know. :)

Steven D. Schroeder said...

I have a feeling that Reb and I would not be the best students in said class on tact.

Reb said...

Hah, well Steven, maybe Sandra could offer a remedial class for us?

SarahA said...

As a published Poet, can you tell me please what do publishers actually look for when wanting to publish something?