Culture

Write a Poem. We Dare You. 

by Katie Wudel

April 15, 2015

We’re teaming up with our friends at Sambazon for 100 days of little ways to change our world. Follow along for the next 100 days of action (and giveaways) on Instagram @Sambazon and at www.sambazon.com/100. And don’t forget to tell us @GOOD about how you’re changing your world with the hashtag #100Startswith1.

#100StartsWith1

Champion: Azure Antoinette

Action: Quick—write a poem and share it online.

“I’ve always had a hard time adhering to guidelines,” says Azure Antoinette—who, despite (or perhaps because of) her distaste for structure, has built an astonishing career as an entrepreneur, arts education advocate, and commissioned poet.

“The reason I’ve always loved poetry is because it felt to me like it was the only place I didn’t get judged. There wasn’t a grade, there wasn’t a format. I love that a poem can be three words, or three sentences, or five pages, but it always feels like there’s no construct.”

April is National Poetry Month, and Antoinette counts herself as one of the holiday’s biggest fans. “I love a celebration, and to celebrate language is something we have forgotten how to do as a society obsessed with technology. It’s a time we can take out our pens again, and write a quick note, thank you card, or finish a memoir a decade in the making.”

To honor National Poetry Month, Antoinette has invited people everywhere to join her in a creative challenge: to write a poem, or 10 poems, or even 30, throughout the month of April, then share those spontaneous writing exercises online. Antoinette calls this project #1for30, done in partnership with Maria Shriver.

Today, Antoinette is asking you to focus on just getting one poem out into the world. She likes to emphasize that the great thing about poetry is just how easy it can be. A poem can be about anything and anybody—an observation, a memory, a secret left unsaid for too long. “Poetry has been my safe harbor for as long as I remember[…]  I tell my audiences that writing things down frees the space in my mind and heart for new things.”

 

Toolkit

In honor of National Poetry Month, write a quick poem and share it with the hashtags #100StartsWith1 and #1for30.

1. Let go. There are no rules when you’re free writing a poem. It can be three words on a napkin. It can be five pages. It can be a tweet. It can be a brief caption that livens up an Instagram snapshot. 

2. Think about what to say. Stuck on an idea? Here are some suggestions:

  • Jot down the dream you had last night—or make one up.
  • Share a secret you’ve never told anyone.
  • On your lunch break, go to a coffee shop and eavesdrop on other people’s conversations. Write down the best lines.
  • Find the opening line of your favorite book. Then write your own sentence No. 2.
  • Did you get in an argument sometime this week? Write down what you wish you would have said.
  • Tell your current crush three things you did today. Now, tell your ex about those three things.

3. Don’t forget to capture your efforts. If you’ve written your poem by hand, be sure to snap a photo of it. If you want to say it instead of write it, record a video or a sound file.

4. Post your poem. Use your social media platform of choice and be sure to add those hashtags so we can find your contribution. (Once again, they’re #100StartsWith1 and #1for30. If you’ve got room, feel free to tag @GOOD and @Sambazon, too.)

5. That’s it. Really.

We’ll be featuring some of our favorite poetic #100StartsWith1 creations right here on GOOD. To kick things off, Antoinette drafted up a quick poem with potential poets like you in mind:

things are not getting quiet
they are not slowing to a crawl
we are moving faster than LTE can carry us
when is there a moment
to simply take a breath
when is there a moment
to craft a thought
not centered in efficiency

we must take the time
we must turn over the screens
to the backs
so for a mere second
there are no transmissions

there is a story to tell
we must simply take a moment
to write it
to begin

—Azure Antoinette

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Write a Poem. We Dare You.