[Hi, I’m Joshua Judson. I’m writing 1000 Poems this year. To find out how and why, click HERE.]
Poems written this week: 52
Poems written so far this month: 155
Poems written so far this year: 455
So last week I mentioned that I was well into the idea of adding some regimen to my writing game. Daily challenges and ritual. Easter break seemed like a good time to try that out.
In addition to the Terrance Hayes inspired sentence challenge, I’ve come up with a couple more challenges to do daily to keep myself sharp: the Cadence Challenge and the practise of writing a Small Poem to a Thing That Brings Me Joy.
The Cadence Challenge comes from thinking I’ve been doing about cadence and mimicking speech in my poems. I write down a sentence/phrase/lyric, map how it goes in the style of a visual score, and write only using that cadence for as long as I can.
The Small Poem to a Thing That Brings Me Joy (SPTTBMJ if you will) comes from listening to The Poetry Gods podcast in which José Olivarez recalls meeting Ross Gay in New York. Gay was writing, and when José asked what he was writing he said ‘I’m writing small poems to things that bring me joy. The mouth between my earphones smiled and went ‘I’m having that’.
The most successful of these daily acts is the Sentence challenge. Here, I’m judging success by how happy I am with the results of the practise. And the idea of forcing a sentence ever onwards is totally against my usual Hemingway-esque short sentences. Turns out getting out of your comfort zone is a good thing.
The SPTTBMJ thing is a nice little activity. The poems mostly come out as Odes, the odd exception being when the thing is too abstract to address in the second person and still work.
The least satisfying is the Cadence Challenge. Music is the thing I think I think about the least in my poems, so it’s weird to only think about that. This of the three is the hardest for that reason.
I think that’s it for now. Sorry for the slightly brief instalment. In all honesty, I’m very behind on these and I’m typing like a madman trying to catch up.
Joshua Judson x