Why Write At All?: Book Spine Poem #WritingwithWoolf #NationalPoetryMonth #NaPoWriMo2020

For National Poetry Month, I’m writing poems inspired by words, ideas, and images in Virginia Woolf’s Diary.

I decided to try to answer the question Woolf asks in this passage as she grapples with the prospect of beginning to write a new novel (which would become The Waves):

Now about this book, The Moths. How am I to begin it? And what is it to be? I feel no great impulse; no fever; only a great pressure of difficulty. Why write it then? Why write at all?

Today’s extra constraint was to write a book spine poem, which always seems like it will be so easy but is usually trickier than it looks. There aren’t enough verbs in book titles, for one. And then I tend to fall in love with certain titles that I really want to wedge into the poem whether they fit or not. It felt like cheating somehow to use any of my books about writing since those titles answer the question “Why write at all” quite clearly. So I avoided those. And I’m definitely giving myself bonus points for including one of Woolf’s books!

Day #21: Why Write At All?

open the door
are you listening?
look both ways
ink knows no borders
start with joy
finding wonders
what the eyes don’t see
delights & shadows
the places that scare you
words no bars can hold
moments of being
moments of reprieve
onward

One thought on “Why Write At All?: Book Spine Poem #WritingwithWoolf #NationalPoetryMonth #NaPoWriMo2020

  1. What an enjoyable book spine poem that speaks to so many different perspectives and ideas. As coincidence would have it, Ted Kooser’s Delights & Shadows is in my active pile right now. He’s a favorite!

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