Tag: poems

NaPoWriMo 2019: Day 1

NaPoWriMo 2019. Or National Poetry Writing Month

For the last couple of years I’ve taken part in NaPoWriMo, where I try to write a poem every day in April. I’ve really enjoyed the process. It’s got me back into writing and has helped produce some of my favourite poems. And some of my least favourites, but the beauty of this writing exercise is you carry on regardless. I also really enjoyed publishing them in public last year. It forced me to be accountable to myself and not skip any days, whilst also trying to make them as good as possible.

If you want to see my attempts from 2018, I’ve released all of last year’s poems for free as an ebook. Go check it out.

So onto this year. I’ve written a lot more poetry this year and even performed some. Still, I would like to attempt NaPoWriMo again. The timing is not fortuitous, I’m changing jobs in the middle of April, but we will see how it goes.

Last year I generated the title using a random word generator. Arbituary rules make everything better, so here’s my personal rules for this year:

  1. The length of the poem will increase depending on the date. So I will start with a one-line poem and end with a thirty-line poem
  2. I can use a random word generator if I get stuck but it doesn’t have to be the title, it can just be used for inspiration.
  3. All poems to be published here and on Twitter and Instagram.

Should be fun. Here’s the super short day one:

Mute

In darkness, snapshots of dying stars stay silent.

Feeding my writing through a digital shredder

About a year ago, I got frustrated with my writing and decided to mess around with my first drafts and discarded attempts at stories. They had been languishing on my hard drive for years. I wasn’t publishing them and they weren’t being seen by anyone. To be honest, most of the stories just weren’t very good.

So I destroyed them. Well, no, not quite. I fed them one by one through a digital shredder, like this. It works using Markov chains to generate words. Surprisingly, this creates new phrases. It makes no sense, but more than you might imagine.

This is an example of the sort of text you get:

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Newspaper Blackout Poems

In the past month, I’ve been messing around with a strange form of ‘writing’ called blackout poems. I was inspired by Austin Kleon, who helped popularise the form. Since then, hundreds of people have ran with it, creating new and different poetry using existing texts.

It’s a really interesting format that has a lot of potential. You take a newspaper article, pick some words and scribble out the rest. Weird phrases and snippets of almost poetry emerge. It reminds me of William Burrough’s cut up technique, where he would re-arrange his sentences at random. The resulting poems are reliant on the underlying article but there are infinite combinations. It’s more visual than a poem but not quite an image either.
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