FROM THE DESK OF E. KRISTIN ANDERSON:
So y'all know that around these parts April means a giant mess of celebration, chaos, and (hopefully) productivity in the name of poetry. This year, I'm buckling down and taking on at least one new challenge, and leaving my author blog
to guest posters (as per tradition) while I (hopefully) craft 30 poems in one of the craziest NaPoWriMo
projects ever, which I will discuss further down the page.
April is also session one of Camp NaNoWriMo this year. Over the past few years I've come to love Camp NaNo. One of the coolest things about the camp sessions is that you can really customize it to your own needs. If you want to write a poetry collection, or a script, or (for reasons I can't fathom) 100k instead of 50k, you can set your goal there. In my case, I usually bring the goal down to 40k and work with a partner (Hi, Priya Chand
!) to write a project I usually wouldn't tackle. This year I'm THINKING about writing a verse novel, but as of my writing this post, I haven't decided yet. Hopefully I'll get a brilliant idea around 3am and write it down and be ready to go. Normally, it would be tough to write a verse novel for NaNo, since verse novels are typically sparser wordcount-wise. But if I take this on, I'll set the goal for 20k. And, hey, there's a second session later this summer. I can write my verse novel then, unless Priya finally holds me to that promise that I'll write a murder book with her. (Can I write a murder book in verse? Please?) Anyway, to those of you about to enter Camp NaNo, I salute you! Go, go NaNo!
The big, crazy challenge of this year is Oulipost. Every year Found Poetry Review
does a super cool project for National Poetry Month. I participated in last year's Pulitzer Remix, which was super fantastic. 85 poets "remixed" the text of books that had won the Pulitzer Prize in fiction. Using Jennifer Egan's A VISIT FROM THE GOON SQUAD, I created 30 poems that later became my forthcoming chapbook A JAB OF DEEP URGENCY. This year, The folks at FPR have drawn on the Oulipo movement (which you can read more about here
) to create 30 tricky writing prompts that 75 of us will be applying to our daily newspaper. In case you didn't click that link, here's the simplest explanation of Oulipo I can come up with: Oulipo started as a collective of French writers and mathematicians, and the word Oulipo is a shortened version of Ouvroir de littérature potentielle
. Or, "workshop of potential literature." So, the idea is that some of these poems could be super cool, and some might be a mess, but we're here to create.
One newspaper, one OULIPO COMPENDIUM, and one unhelpful cat.
So, for Oulipost
, FPR is taking the already tricky Oulipo constraints (like a lipogram, which is created by omitting certain letters of the alphabet) and adding the additional challenge of applying these constraints to found poetry. We are only allowed to use text found in our newspaper, and, in some cases, in a particular article. It has to be the newspaper from the day the prompt is posted, too, so, you know, no working ahead. My stomach is in knots, but I think this will be a fantastic exercise. You can follow along with the project at the Found Poetry Review blog
, where they will be posting prompts and info throughout the month. You can follow my
progress at EKA OULIPOST
, on tumblr. I'll be using the Austin American-Statesman
as my source text, but it will be super cool to see what these other poets -- who are located all over the world! -- come up with from their local papers.
I'm also off to TLA
(the Texas Library Association annual conference) in San Antonio in April, and will be at the conference on the 9th and 10th. I have a signing on the 10th in the author area at 1pm, so if you're at the conference, be sure to come say hi!
See? Super busy. And, yet, I think it will also be super fun. (If that verse novel happens, it will be a sweet, sweet miracle. Ha!) Enjoy your April, and good luck with YOUR projects. I'll see you in May!