by Catherine Giordano
It’s January 1, 2013. My News Print Poetry Project—a poem a day based on a story from the newspaper –is complete. I did about 400 poems because some days I did more than one. How nice to wake up this morning without that obligation.
I had close to 12,000 page views over the course of the year, an average of 1000 a month. now I know lots of blogs get that many in a day, but I was writing poetry--the audience for poetry is not that big.
Most of the time I loved doing the news print poetry. How did I love it. Let me count the ways.
(1) It forced me to write every day. It was a great teacher of discipline. It forced me to find the poem, even when “there was nothing worth writing about.” Some of the best poems were written on the days when I was ready to give up.
(2) It also “primed the pump.” It put me at my desk writing, and when the poem was completed and posted, I’d be ready to continue writing other things.
(3 )It gave me the opportunity to explore different styles and techniques of poetry.
(4) I learned about many things. The project forced me to read the newspaper thoroughly to find a story for my poem. Sometimes, I’d do further research on a topic because the story got me curious. Most recently I did some research on Kwanzaa, and I now know a lot more about the holiday.
(5 )Often the daily poem became a prompt that set me to writing a “regular” poem on the subject. I would rewrite and/or expand upon my news print poem without being restricted by the “rules” of news print poetry.
(6) I had to learn a lot about SEO (search engine optimization) in order to gain a wider audience for my poetry blog. I’m sure this will stand me in good stead.
(7) I had the pleasure of gaining an audience for my work and knowing that I sometimes touched , informed and/or entertained people, friends and strangers alike, throughout the world. (I had a lot of readers outside the United States.)
(8) I t added five books to my curriculum vitae. News Print Poetry 2012: Volumes 1 to 4, (one for each calendar quarter) and The Best of News Print Poetry 2012. (They haven’t all been published yet, but they will be in-print and available for purchase on amazon.co by the end of the month.)
2012 was a very good year for my project. So many dramatic events were in the news that made for great poetry topics—the presidential election (which gave me the opportunity to advocate for my candidate), the tornados and storms, (which gave me the opportunity to speak out on ecological matters), murder and mass murder, (which gave me the opportunity to express the distress of the nation) the death of famous people (which gave me the opportunity to memorialize them with my poem), and many others.
I will continue to do the news print poems, but only when I find a particularly worthy story. I hope to do it one or twice a week.
I also plan to continue this blog to write about writing.I also plan to continue this blog to write about writing.
Most of the time, I didn’t write with pen and paper by a lake: I wrote in my home office on my computer. However, I did have lots of natural light thanks to a big window and a skylight.
Sometimes, I did use pen and paper. I wrote in restaurants, waiting rooms, etc. and then entered the poem into the computer.
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