Last month, after seeing my comment that I had not yet re-read any of the poems I wrote for the 2011 Poetic Asides November PAD Chapbook Challenge, Carolee Sherwood suggested that I should do a blog post when I finally did, with what I discovered. Here, belatedly, is that post. I was so immersed in real life this past month, with “the kids” visiting, puppy troubles, holiday hoopla, and whatnot, that I didn’t do all that much poetry-wise. Imagine!
And then yesterday as I glanced at my new engagement calendar sitting so nicely on my desk, I realized with horror that Wednesday is the deadline for chapbook submissions, and here I hadn’t even looked at the poems yet, let alone selected, edited and compiled them into a chapbook. However, I’m not as worried as I could be, since: 1) This is a strictly optional activity anyway, and 2) I know I work best under pressure.
What did I discover? Well, as always, after a challenge, I realized that it is truly amazing that I actually completed the challenge, notwithstanding that some of my efforts were less than stellar. I discovered a handful of gems, a much larger number that I’m reasonably satisfied with, and others that were “of the moment” and I’m ready to let them go. I am also particularly proud that I experimented with many new forms: pantoums, triolets, cascades, blitzes, and Fibonaccis, just to name a few. Some new forms I found awkward, while others (like the triolet) have become firmly entrenched in my arsenal of new tricks.
I am reminded yet again of why I do these challenges, even when they sometimes threaten to gobble up what little discretionary time I have. By focusing on the process, rather than the product, I stretch myself as a writer, keep company with a fine group of poets, and produce a growing number of “keepers”. What more could any poet ask for?
On to the sorting phase, where my poems will be place in three (virtual) hoppers: “definitely in”, “maybe in”, and “definitely out”. Should be fun!