And in honor of the month, I’m going to attempt to write my own really, really, really, really long poem over November. Chosen topice! Phineas Gage.
Though, as you must, must, must, must realrealrealrealize, the chances of that topic staying true over the course of thirty days of writing is about fifty-fifty, mostly because the writing guidelines — as dictated by the NWRRRRLPM Official Committee — say that you must write at least two lines of the poem each day. Not a whole lot, to be sure, but if one (say, you) is uninspired with guidance towards furthering the original topic, well, then, you still have to write regardless. All tangents invited!
For those of you who’ve forgotten, National Write-a-Really-Really-Really-Really-Long-Poem Month was created by Walt Whitman in 1855, though, in his case, he kept writing once the month ended. The project (and the source of its national nature) was a personal assignment to Whitman from future U.S. President, then-lawyer Abraham Lincoln, a man who deeply believed in the power of words to affect the world. The goal of Whitman’s project was to bring national consensus and prevent what Lincoln feared would lead to civil war.
Obviously, Whitman failed in that task.
However, he did create an enduring work of literature, Leaves of Grass, that would not have been possible without the original nudge towards long poems provided by Lincoln.
Since that time, poets have taken NWRRRRLPM as a chance to write a really, really, really, really long poem that they hope will help change the world. History has proven those hopes in vain, but the dream lives on.
Join me. Be a part of that dream.