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  • Writer's pictureNajah Amatullah

National Poetry Month 2020

I’ve been trying to do 30/30 for years and have never been very successful.

Many times I have looked at my notebooks and now my notes app on my phone at all of the fragments and thought that I don’t need to PRODUCE more writing, I need to refine the writing I have. I need to edit.

A couple of months ago, I submitted my first poem for publication. I had drafted it two years ago and it was...jumbled, misdirected. It ended up being an ekphrastic poem based on a painting. I’ll show y’all soon. I’m very excited that it was accepted and will be published. I am getting paid too!

2020 has been a journey in editing. I wrote (with a partner) a children’s book. It went through SOOO many editing phases. What a learning experience!

This year, we’re in the middle of a pandemic. Some folx are doing an excellent job finding ways to be productive and have joy and even teach and be an inspiration during this time. The acclaimed Ed Mabrey has been doing FREE poetry workshops EVERYDAY! Unreal. May blessings (in the form of money and opportunity) come out of all kinds of unexpected places to repay his generosity.

I’ve “attended” probably 15 of 22 days, so far. I’ve produced some work I really like. One piece was extremely difficult and the lesson in that will resonate.

I’ve decided that as I get ideas from Ed and from everywhere this month. I will put them in my toolbox. But as he and Brandon Alexander reminded us in their interview, it’s incredibly important to READ POETRY. I am going to stop shamefacedly looking at the 30ish poetry books on my shelf and actually work through them.

It won’t stop with April though. School is cancelled and teachers are off in summer. There’s no reason to stop with April. Everyday (as often as I have capacity), I going to start my day with mantra meditation/prayer and immediately follow that with reading and marking up poems until I find one I love enough to post about. I will attempt every week to post the highlights on my blog here.

Here’s to keeping the inspiration going!

I have been following these two for over ten years! I am ecstatic to continue watching them rise in writing, on stage and IN THE CLASSROOM!

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