Recently I took part in National Poetry Month (April). 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 the extensive collection I’ve written over the years and posted these videos on my YouTube channel. That meant creating 30 individual video poems, one for each day of the month.
National Poetry Month 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 in on poets, publishing, book releases, readings, and poetry events.
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, 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, poems about love found and love enduring. 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 abuse. It also 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 of resistance and complete video poems for that week.
Then I found that I needed just a few other poems to finish out the month. 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 the 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 Kansas”. 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 for National Poetry Month..
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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.