Guest blogger Jacques Rancourt writes about his NaPoWriMo results six months later. Here’s a link to his blog from April 2012.
The best part of the poem-a-day challenge is by the end having a large stack of new work, a volume I wouldn’t have produced without the incentive. The worst part of the poem-a-day challenge is by the end having a large stack of poems that are so much less careful and sure-footed than what I’m used to writing. These poems feel like a desperate brain purge.
Maybe I’m only feeling so cynical because I’m currently a week into a new poem-a-day challenge and can’t yet see the light. I spent much of the summer not writing new work (perhaps a symptom of hyper-writing for a month), but instead going back through the drafts I had written and trying to sort through the noise, most of the poems I threw out wholesale. With some, I mined lines to build new poems around. And a few I’ve started to, six months later, feel good about.
It’s a luxury in itself, isn’t it, to have that many drafts to sort through? Who knows how many poems I would have written without the challenge. I wrote in my previous post that it would be worth the effort even if I only got a couple of poems out of the month. And so it’s been worth the effort.
Jacques J. Rancourt’s poems have appeared or will appear in New England Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, Colorado Review, Narrative, and Indiana Review,among others. A three-time Pushcart Prize nominee, his awards include a 2012-’14 Wallace Stegner Fellowship from Stanford University, a 2011-’12 Halls Emerging Artist Fellowship from the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, and a 2012 work-study scholarship from the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference.