So this month, Poetry Month, I’ve taken part in the PAD exercise, writing a poem a day and posting it, usually while my husband feeds T breakfast, posting my little whatever day of April poem, then moving on to the park and Ikea and storytimes and playdates, never looking back. I’ve only just realized that other PAD contributors are—well, I guess you could call it “commenting” on posted poems, occasionally sniping at other contributors for various offenses and, as with today’s Poem-A-Day challenge, whining about the PAD overseer’s request that all contributors write a sestina (apparently too much of a challenge for many), or if not a sestina, a sestina-bashing poem, or perhaps a sestina praising poem (?). Man. Let the bashing begin.
One ambitious PAD contributor boasts of having posted over 200 poems this month. Some of his poems are in the 72 stanza range. Not 72 lines. S.T.A.N.Z.A.S. He is very proud of his 200 poems, this poet. Usually a mini-glossary and history lesson accompany his posts. When another PAD contributor took umbrage with this poet’s multiple postings, he was quickly defended by some loyalist-type PAD-goers who suggested the umbrage-taker simply skip over the 72 stanza-ers and basically just shut up. The poet in question responded to the criticism with: more poems, adding that the PAD overseer didn’t say he couldn’t post more than one poem a day. Okay—we get it—over 200 poems posted—no wonder the PAD server keeps crashing. And there’s more: Several daily contributors post to let everyone know they are going to take showers before returning and posting their poems for the day. Is this information really necessary to impart? A shower? Others use a passive-aggressive approach when resorting to sniping, i.e., I don’t want to incur any bad karma, or hurt your feelings, but YOU SUCK. Hello? I had to stop reading the posts today. My head started spinning around. I felt like I was behind a group of people on a city sidewalk, people who all know each other, oblivious to anyone else using the pavement, spreading out, shout-talking, spreading their arms in their loudly colored clothing, making it impossible for others to pass but for an annoying, awkward sidestep through mucky gutter.
Today, either before or after their morning showers, some contributors who didn’t even try to write a sestina griped that poetic form is “ridiculous.” Oh dear. There went my head again, into a fast, committed spin.
Just write the f****** sestina rather than waste time damning poetic form (which is like damning breath or earth or gold)! I can say this because: I wrote and posted a sestina today. Before my shower and during my first and only cup of coffee, I lifted an extremely heavy, creaky trap door and allowed some creativity to gasp through. Is it a good sestina? F*** no! But I’m glad I tried, I’m glad I had the experience of writing it, without a published gripe.
On a different note (head whips back to normal position), PAD has been a positive daily exercise: I’ve been reminded that I can be a mother and still eke out time to write. I’ve been reminded to read books other than the calming Ladies Detective Agency series. I’ve been inspired to catch up on the New Yorkers piled on the back of the toilet. OMG, PB, shut up, quit griping about the gripers and get back to it.
Update: The 200 + poem person concluded the PAD challenge with a mega-mongumongous poem attempting to incorporate the names of all contributors. P.B. Rippey is listed in one of the uber-stanzas, along with two words defining her as a poet. The words are as follows:
Interesting—or alarming. Or—