Recently I took part in National Poetry Month (April). This celebration was instituted in the early 1990’s by the Academy of American Poets to help raise awareness of poetry. Poets everywhere really jumped on board with the advent of the internet. Blogs and other websites publish new poetry and articles about poets you should know. And while social media is buzzing with poetry all year long, April focuses on poets, publishing, book releases, readings, and poetry events.
For some poets, the idea behind NPM is to write a new poem a day and publish it on one of the many platforms available. I decided to take a different path. I made a video poem a day from my extensive collection I’ve written over the years and published these videos on my youtube channel. That meant creating 30 individual video poems for each day of the month.
I have self-published two chapbooks and two full manuscripts. I decided to read poems from each collection. Here’s how I broke it down: for the first week I read from Crisis of Consciousness, poems about socio-political consciousness. In the second week, I read from Myth of the One. This collection contains poems about love of all sorts, including heartbreak, love of friends, and self-love. In the third week, I read from Absolution, the follow-up companion of Myth of the one. This collection contains poetry about love found and love that is long standing. The last week was a bit harder to complete, and I experienced some emotional resistance. Catharsis is a manuscript of poems that deals with mental health issues, poems I wrote when I was young and going through the abuse. And it contains poems of struggling with the identity of self. It has poetry I wrote while in intensive therapy. I was finally able to break through the wall and complete video poems for that week. Then I found myself with a few extra days. I had done a live Twitter feed on one day when I did not publish a poem to youtube. I used clips from that video to finish out this wonderful Month of Poetry.
This was a challenging project to record and publish that much video in such a short period of time. Especially emotionally and mentally charged material. I hadn’t read some of these pieces in 15-18 years. It was an exercise in self-compassion to push through this work. It did feed the creative in me, and I felt really proud of the fact that I was able to implement and finish a project at this level. The idea to do this project only came to me two weeks before April 1st.
There’s plenty of time to plan what I am going to do for next year’s National Poetry Month. I’d like to do another video poetry project. I’ll be working on more visual poems this year, and some reading with image overlay (like Satellite Feat or Nature Walk). I’ll be doing more live twitter feeds (Periscope maybe), and there’s the chance to record video of live readings. Stil, I’d love to hear your suggestions on what I can do for next years video project.
Thank you for watching the video poems, and if you like what you see please subscribe to my youtube channel and give the videos a thumbs up. And stay tuned for more video poetry and braindump vlogs.