I recently published reading notes on Love Letter to Who Owns the Heavens by Corey Van Landingham. It’s a spectacular poetry collection, and I jumped at the chance to review it ahead of its release. I have great affection for Van Landingham’s work. Going back seven or eight years ago, I spent a December writing only sonnets. One of those sonnets started with a line from Van Landingham’s “The Louse”: “I name every injury like it was a comet.”
I remember vividly the energy that line gave my own writing and am grateful all over again. I’m also inspired to let myself be, well, more inspired in the coming year. I spent the bulk of last year attending workshops, but somehow got mired in the left-brain aspects of them: being a good student, gathering information, reading, offering critique, considering new approaches, etc. I didn’t use them for writing inspiration as much as I wish I had.
To be fair, it felt like a difficult year to loosen up and let things in. 2021 began with the insurrection and ended with amped up prioritization of capitalism and the economy over public health. And in between? Also a total shit show. I had my guard up (aggressively), and it impacted more than my mood. It also locked down my creativity. (To see what I accomplished — and where I missed the mark — click through to last week’s post about revisiting 2021 writing goals.)
2022 is unlikely to be any better as far as the state of the world is concerned, and so my task is to be more selective with what I consume: more comets and sonnets, less circling the news/social media drain. As such, my poetry goals for 2022 limit external impulses (readings and workshops, for example) and focus instead on the ritual of quiet time to generate new work and revise manuscripts.
POETRY ACTION PLAN* for 2022
POETRY MANUSCRIPT: Revise & finish my Gertie manuscript
I completed a couple versions of the manuscript in 2021, but I have ideas for new direction. I’ll write the new poems it needs, do some revising and prepare it for contests and open reading periods.
SUBMISSIONS: Build up to (& then maintain) a baseline of 15 packets in consideration
In December, I had drinks with Jill. When talking about submissions, she reminded me of an approach that suggests keeping 25 packets in circulation at all times. I’d done it once before and found it extremely successful. I’ll try it again in 2022 but aim for 15.
NEW POEMS: Draft two poems/week
Last year, I aimed for one per week and failed, but my focus was different. *This* year, this goal is where I’m placing most of my energy.
READINGS: Follow my bliss
The only thing that matters here is to find joy and manage pressure/stress. I’m not setting a specific goal. My time is my time.
RETREATS/WORKSHOPS: Plan for six workshops (MAX!) & three DIY writing retreats
I’m registered for three virtual workshops in the spring (with Madwomen, Sarah Freligh and Poets on the Coast) and will resist the temptation to do more. I will take summer off and choose two or three more workshops in the fall. I’ll also schedule three modest solo DIY writing retreats.
BLOG: Publish poetry prompts monthly** plus six reading notes posts
Blog posts are a big part of my process. I enjoy writing about other people’s poetry, exploring my own process and creating writing prompts. I love to celebrate and support other writers, and for me, blogging seems to go hand-in-hand with writing poems. If I can (and if I want to), I’ll publish more than 12 posts — I have a number of ideas brewing already — but only *after* meeting my goals for new poems in any given week.
*Written always with a nod toward January O’Neil (Poet Mom), whose annual poetry action plans inspired me to adopt the same tradition.
**One will be a 2022 version of 30 poetry prompts for NAPOWRIMO.