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My Plan for National Poetry Month

Now that shoures soote the droghte of March hath perced to the roote, it’s time once again to breed lilacs out of the dead land, mix memory and desire, and generally stir dull roots with spring rain.

Yes, that’s right: it’s NaPoWriMo.

This year I’m returning to an old practice I did in 2004, ’05, and ’06. Each day this month, I’m doing an exercise from Rita Dove called the 10-Minute Spill, which I found in the delightful Practice of Poetry.

Here’s how it goes: With ten minutes on the clock, write a ten-line poem using five words from a predetermined list, and an adage or idiomatic phrase (e.g. a stitch in time— don’t count your chickens— that sort of thing).

And that’s it. Don’t try anything fancy: no rhymes or meters of any sort. Just spend ten minutes figuring out how to pepper the words and the folksy saying over the course of ten lines. How long is each line? Doesn’t matter! Is it even a poem? Who cares!

For my list of words, I’m using the Swadesh List. There are a hundred words, and so I roll 2d10 five times. And for my “adage,” I’m throwing the I Ching and choosing something meaty from the trigrams’ names and the resulting hexagram’s image and judgment.

I’ve done three “poems” so far and they may be kinda crappy but none of them are about Covid-fucking-19, so I’m calling it a win.

three pennies, 2d10, the I Ching

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