Friday, July 03, 2009

A Bear of a Project

At Facebook, poet J.P. Dancing Bear has well over 1000 friends - closer to 2000. Recently he spoke with novelist Leslie Pietrzyk (who is among Bear's Facebook friends) about the poems he's been writing. She blogged about what he told her at her Work-in-Progress blog. Here are a few excerpts from her post:

[Pietrzyk] I had noticed that J.P. Dancing Bear wrote and posted “birthday poems” every week or so, along with artwork. Yes, click-click, I “liked” his work--very much. And then it was my birthday…and there was a lovely birthday poem for ME! I had assumed the poems he wrote were for people he knew beyond the Facebook sense, but no…so I invited him to tell me more about these beautiful birthday poems of his...

[Bear] I’d been a member on Facebook for roughly six months and had tried to send a birthday greeting to all the people who had befriended me leading up to that point. But sometimes I missed some, or they missed it. So originally, my plan was to use other people’s applications to send them a birthday poem. I had some 1000+ friends on Facebook and I wanted to give something I’d created in their honor to them. This is something I’ve done all my life, either a painting or a drawing and/or a poem.

[Bear] At times I was writing anywhere between 1 to 9 poems a day, with the average around 3 a day.

[Bear] So I try to spend no more than twenty minutes on each. After everything is written, I spend a few minutes reading everything aloud, just to make sure it sounds right—so a very cursory editing process. And as I pick these up and submit them to magazines, I will do another reread/rewrite/editing at that point. The other thing I try to do is make references to other arts like film, music, novels... and/or science (biology, chemistry, physics, etc. etc) and/or sometimes (philosophy/theology/mythology).

[Bear] So far, I’ve written about 850 poems, which is far more than I had imagined when I started the project (because not everyone likes to publish their birthdays). I still have about 5 months left and the average has risen to about 4 or 5 poems a day.

[Bear] Last year, I wrote possibly twenty poems for the whole year. I was making excuses for why I couldn’t or wouldn’t write and I had overburdened my editing/writing process to slow down the process. So the project has been an eye-opener for me.

Read the full article here.


Poems written for particular occasions are examples of occasional poetry.

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