Today I was supposed to start the Storyknife Writer’s Retreat, but, like everything else in the world, it was cancelled due to COVID-19 measures. While I was bummed upon hearing about the cancellation, of course it was the right decision. And I figured, since I already work from home, I could try and salvage some time to work on the project I was tackling for the retreat.

But after my own evaluation of how things are working now, I know I can’t work on the project I wanted to. It takes a deep dive into a different world, and I just don’t have that in me. Even more, while for some life at home has slowed things down, I have never felt busier at my house. Plus I have a couple of new “co-workers” in my husband and my brother. The distractions just aren’t conducive to my writing goal.

But I can’t NOT write! Besides being my actual job, writing is an important way for me to process difficult emotions and work through trauma. Right now seems an especially important time to keep writing – I am finding a great need to process the swiftly (and daily) shifting ground beneath us all. And I really had prepared for this month to be a shift for me in how I have been writing.

So I decided to switch course and tackle something I’ve been wanting to focus on, but in the busyness of writing for paying gigs, I haven’t felt like I could prioritize it. That is, a focus on poetry. I love reading (good) poetry, and there are some poems that have felt like my friends since high school. And while I have written quite a few poems, they’re pretty bad. But I’ve never made any effort toward really learning about the craft of poetry, what goes into it, examining why I like or don’t like a poem.

And it just so happens to be National Poetry Month, AND Joy Harjo, the first ever Native Poet Laureate of the United States, is editing a “poem a day” for the Academy of American Poets.

So my goals for the month are:

1. Read Joy’s selected poem and any relevant materials with it.

2. Select a poem authored by a Native poet/writer and post it here on my site every day, to examine, invite discussion, or just think out loud to myself.

3. Read selected books about poetry and other books of poetry.

4. Write a poem every day. And no. This does not mean I’ll be sharing them! Haha (Seriously. They’re really bad.)

This is really different than my usual writing routine, and since my job is writing, I will still be doing any work that brings in a paycheck. But this one’s for me.

I invite you to read, share, and discuss along with me! I love talking about anything writing, and I am really looking forward to digging into Native poems and poets.

My first poem – Joy Harjo of course – will be posted separately here.


NOTE: I am incredibly sensitive of publishing rights around artists, and I’ve looked into re-posting poems. I’m following the best practices of the Center for Media and Social Impact in how I’m re-posting poems. Please let me know if you think something should be done differently though!