Saturday, April 5, 2014

NaPoWriMo Day 5 - a reflection


"A poet goes through very hard work. Anyone who thinks that a poem which has any merit at all is written easily is very mistaken, because a poem is an architectural thing. It's the building of an idea into form, and the idea that is suggested to the mind begins to bring its own symbols and metaphors, and perhaps even its own language. But it has to be very carefully chosen—the ideas have to be carefully chosen, and how the lines will fall, in what manner they will hang together right, which is a very rough expression of what a poem is. But to do that requires much working on, sometimes perhaps days of working and even into the night you are thinking about it. So it is not by any means something to scribble off.

- Sara Bard Field (1882-1974)

Reading the above quote by Sara Bard Field caused me to stop and think about the quality of what I have written (will write) during NaPoWriMo in producing a poem a day. I understand there are many who can run off a poem in minutes, but I am not one of those. The writing of a poem for me most often takes days, if not weeks. It begins with the concept, a thought or a string of words that persist and take form over a period of time. Usually I write these words in my journal, other notebook, or on any handy scrap of paper, adding and deleting words as the poem finds its shape. Once I have the bones of it I then put it on the computer to work on refining, layout etc. Poems work better for me when worked in stages - a slow construction, making sure each element is sound and consistent with the whole. I have shown the process of writing and re-drafting a poem in many of my previous posts.

Reflecting on what I've written over the last four days, I have to say there is nothing I feel particularly good about. These are poems that grew from expedience rather then that urgent pulse of words and images and it shows. I will continue to participate in NaPoWriMo. but with a greater awareness of what I'd like to achieve, viewing each poem posted as nothing more than almost pre-conceptual, each needing to be taken back to that scrap of paper and constructed from that point.


  1. The way to approaching a poem sounds like a way to approach life. Thanks Merlene.
    Garden of Eden Blog

  2. I love this quote and your application of its principle to your writing. I write in both ways, fortunately and unfortunately. Mostly it depends upon the poem in question and my frame of creative mind. I choose to be forgiving of my less than stellar poems. I learned this after many of the poems I didn't care for being loved by my readers. For me, it's about reaching the reader. That and the fact that my soul manages to express itself to its satisfaction either way. Thanks Merlene.


For some reason I'm yet to fathom I'm unable to reply to comments left by others so thank you for dropping by and taking the time to read and comment. Merlene