An empty cup, a flight of uncarpeted stairs.

It’s April, which means, besides spring (please), it’s National Poetry Month! Poets I know are signing up to take part in NaPoWriMo, or pledging to write a poem a day on group blogs, like the excellent poets at Bloof Books.

A few years ago, I participated in another poetry month project, NPM Daily, which was run by my friend, the wonderful poet, Sarah Blake (whose book, MR. WEST–an unauthorized lyric biography of Kanye West–is just out with Wesleyan). Sarah’s project asked poets to talk about poetry every day in April, rather than write their own poem. My post focused on the work of Morgan Lucas Schuldt, a young poet and editor who passed away that year from complications of Cystic Fibrosis. You should look up his work. It’s really stunning.

So, poetry! Yes, I am a fan. And this year, I am going to task myself with the poem-a-day project so that I can finish a collection I’ve been working on for a year or so. This is my first attempt at a series of poems that center on a single, fictional character.

I am not a fiction writer in any way, so this has proved challenging and, lately, pretty exhilarating. I’m calling the protagonist “Round Baby,” and she is so far an amalgam of me (of course), my daughter, and several people I have never met but who intrigue and terrify me.

The poems are weird, creepy, slightly fabulist. They are so much fun to write. Last night I went to bed with 23 drafts, and I hope to have 50 or so by the end of the month.

This morning’s poems: “Round Baby Runs Away,” and “Round Baby Buys a Face Jug at the Jonnet Flea in Blairsville, PA.” (I am off to a cracking start, but have no illusions that I’ll be able to sustain two drafts per day.) I’ll post teasers here. Possibly whole poems, though I am pretty shy about sharing early drafts. Round Baby is not as shy, so maybe she’ll overrule me.

–from, “Round Baby Buys a Face Jug at the Jonnet Flea in Blairsville, PA”web_098

You have to be a digger,
Baby. Don’t go in with a plan.
Put yourself into the right
mind and wait for some scrap
to catch your weepy eye.
There’s lots to look at.
The vendors are helpful
and pleasant though the food’s
not fit for anything that’s alive.
Have a hotdog and head
to Jack’s Place. He has a little
bit of most anything. He’s waiting
to sell you his glistening gems.

I hope you’ll pop in during the month to keep me honest!

Two more things:

1. The face jugs are inspired by the work of my friend, the poet and potter, Joel Patton. His work, like my character, Round Baby, intrigues and terrifies me. That’s one of his pieces above.

2. The post title is borrowed from the poem, “Spring,” by Edna St. Vincent Millay. Gorgeous.

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