National Poetry Month Readings

View of my town.
View of my town.

Well, I said I’d try, right? And if you don’t remember what I said last time, or don’t know what I mean, it’s just as well. Remember how I said I hate to apologize about not posting when I could be posting?

So how goes National Poetry Month in your neighborhood? It’s now becoming international poetry month, officially with Canada taking part, and unofficially with countless others all over the globe joining in the celebration.

So since I have not yet started to share the great stuff my friends are doing on WordPress and elsewhere for the thirty-day festival of lines, why not tell us a bit about what you are up to?

Tomorrow morning I’ll be “guest poet” at the historic Priestley Chapel here in my hometown of Northumberland. I’ll be reading poems from my (hopefully) first chapbook, The School Bus Poems. The manuscript is finished, aside from a few tiny edits I made in pencil today as I poured over it at the sub shop. It’s going out to several chapbook contests, so wish me luck; send good vibes; light a candle, however you try to bribe the powers that be. I don’t mean about the reading; I’m a ham, so I’ll be fine. I mean about the publication.

I’ve been doing months of research now, reading, catching up on what literary magazines and poetry journals are out there, what styles they like, and whether they might be interested in my work. I’ve also been researching various poetry contests, and first chapbook awards, and their previous recipients. It’s been fun and engrossing getting out of my shell, though it’s put me into a bit of a different kind of shell, one that involves reading more than writing, so I’m coming down off that egg (hey, some metaphors sound better in your head than they look in print, don’t they?) and not only editing and polishing my previous work, but writing new poems as well.

I think by now I have at least two other chapbooks worth of material. It seems that the popular thing now, what most chapbook competitions are looking for is a “project,” a body of work that is thematic. Luckily the skeletons of such themed projects are just falling together from twenty years of obsessively writing about my obsessions, but with enough variation to keep them from becoming too predictable I think. My plan is to have two or three out there vying for editors’ attention in hopes of getting one of them published this year. Big dreams, yeah, I know.

Brian and I at Poetry Under the Paintings.
Brian and I at Poetry Under the Paintings.

I’ll also be reading again this week with my favorite bunch of poets at Faustina’s Gallery in Lewisburg for the April Poetry Under the Paintings gathering. If you are local and haven’t popped in yet, we’d love to see you. You are not required, but encouraged to read. And the poems you share need not be your own. Feel free to read whatever you like. We just get up one person after another and read a poem at a time between bouts of friendly applause and a shared love of poetry read aloud. We normally go through the circle at least thrice.

And that is happening on Thursday, the 10th of April. Usually we meet every second Thursday, and you can follow that on our Facebook page. Next month PUP will be celebrating our two-year anniversary and we’ll be planning something special for that. Don’t ask me what, as it will spoil the surprise. Okay, and yes, you’re right, I really have no idea yet what that surprise will be. But don’t you see how that makes it all the more surprising?

Okay, back to my previous question; what are you doing to celebrate National Poetry Month? Go on and brag and share and spread the joy in the comments.

19 Comments Add yours

  1. marceltina says:

    The photo of your town looks lovely David. Forward with the poetry. And good luck ! kristine Marceltina..!


    1. Thank you, darling!


  2. I’m spending April looking forward to your updates and looking forward to an annual conference in May where Linda Pastan will be a keynote speaker.

    By the way, reading your first paragraph up there, I smiled and thought, “He is so my kindred spirit.” I intend that as a compliment. Maybe if you step back and kind of squint at it sideways.


    1. Haha! And I just realized there is an entire sentence missung the word “what.” Thank you for mentally inserting it yourself. Oh, and dear, compliment blushingly received, and gratefully accepted


    2. Okay, multiple silly errors fixed. If I didn’t know better I would think the author of this post was tipsy. Sadly, he was just tired.


  3. slpmartin says:

    Sounds like you’ve got a busy schedule…best of luck with all your projects.


    1. Thank you, Charles!


  4. P.E.A.C.E. says:

    I am so excited for you David! Way to go, you big ham 😉 Seriously though, you’ve motivated me to celebrate (Inter)National Poetry Month by sharing some of my faves with reasons why and bios of the poets. Maybe even feel brave enough to share one or more of my own works. Thanks for the inspiration! And oh how I wish I could find a place like Faustina’s Gallery. I do love me an open-mic for poetry readings! Way to go. ~G


    1. Oh, Gina! How delightful! I am honored to have had any peripheral role in your poetic festivities. That thought makes me very happy indeed. I can’t wait to see what you post.

      And if you can find just a few others in your area, two or three with a willing venue and a will to promote it you could start your own poetry night like PUP. 🙂


  5. I wish I were nearer so I could hear you read in person. (Some day…) And David, it’s SO EXCITING to hear about your chapbook manuscript–one going out into the world, and more on the way. The School Bus Poems–what a marvelous title! Here’s hoping for an excellent home for your chapbook. I’m sending good-luck rays in your direction!


    1. I think you can guess a fraction of how much this comment from you means to me, Jennifer. One day we’ll have to have our orbits cross in the physical world, as I am dying to be at one of your readings too.


  6. JunkChuck says:

    Congrats on the reading–very cool. My celebration includes posting one of my favorite poems each day for the entire month…until someone slaps me down for copyright abuse, I guess. I keep waiting for that knock at the door from Randall Jarrell’s great, great grandson. Also–an unintentional celebration–I found a chapbook written by one of my late college professors, whose love of poetry inspired me more than any other man–and talked the guy selling it on Amazon down from $40 to $25–still robbery, but a small price to pay for that sentiment. I’d only had one of his poems to remember him by, now i have 19. Sweet.


    1. Well the good news is that most poets are poor, and even the ones who are not MOSTLY love the free publicity. If we post a poem here or there, it’s seen usually as a review of sorts, which is why I usually make commentary about the ones I post. And when my first book gets published I would hope that if someone would be kind enough to post ONE of my poems from it, others might like it so much that they go out (or online) and buy the whole bloody volume.

      That’s the hope anyway. Glad you got hold of your professors book. Sorry about the price. I did something similar recently by finding the only two books published by one of my mentors from nearly 20 years ago.

      Pleased to meet you, Chuck.


  7. Much luck for the chapbook contests!! And happy Poetry Month.


    1. Thank you, Sue!


  8. David,

    I posted a comment earlier, but I don’t think it showed up. I’m thrilled that you’re doing readings and are moving forward with a manuscript of poems! I would like to have you come up to Scranton to read, and I have some dates, one in the summer and one in the fall, that I want to run by you. Is there a way we can chat about this more? Also, it would be cool to do a reading with you in Central, PA.

    Anyways, I hope to talk more and have you read in NEPA in the coming months.


    1. Thank you, Brian! I would enjoy that. I just added you on Facebook and my email, which really should be in my About Me section, but might not yet be is

      I just received a small press anthology acceptance that was encouraging, so onward I go. I’m very much looking forward to hear from you, and especially the honor of reading with you!


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