More than two years ago I decided to do a WordPress blog, to do something with my poetry. It took a year to decide what to do.
I had to set myself a task — a formidable task. Something to shake me out of my doldrums and get the poetry going again.
Be careful what you wish for!
I decided I would blog 12 books of poetry in a year. I had three complete books in hand and reams of poetry (or so it seemed.) It shouldn’t be that hard. I even prepared by coming up with 12 potential titles, and some back up. Sort the remaining poetry into themes and bingo, done.
If you know the song, you can hum What a Fool Believes right now.
I started. I put up a book (Monochromatics) onto a webpage and waited. Nothing. Something was not working. Maybe a little investigation into WordPress was in order. This would be about 30 days into 12 Books in a Year.
Looking into it, I was impressed with the activity of WordPress and how completely oblivious I had been about the working of a blog. On WordPress, you post your blog in the WordPress universe and tag it. Anyone who subscribes to that tag will see your post. That’s how you generate traffic. Who knew?
Now I began in earnest. Using the tags poems, poetry, books, 12 Books in a Year, the title of the poem, and anything that stood out (I was able to tag Rob Ford on one poem) I posted poems. And the poems started to get attention.
As well, I started to become aware that on WordPress people will follow you. At first I just didn’t get it (do you sense a theme developing here?) But then I started looking forward to opening my e-mail in the morning and finding out how many people liked the poem I posted and how many followers or comments I got. I quickly realized likes are plentiful but followers are rare. (At least in ratio to one another.)
To pick up on my initial thread. I had three books in hand and 9 to go. I started with Monochromatics and by the time I finished that I had 13 followers. That was a book in hand and it was done. It was a good thing I had that month as it allowed me time to figure out the WordPress interface, the poetry community and to interact with other bloggers. I started posting my 2nd book Deep Water — and started thinking maybe I should get to work prepping some more books.
I started sorting poems into themes and began to realize some of the books were thin. One or two almost non-existent. I collapsed three books into one. I started sorting through hand written notes I had meant to work on—some decades old. I started to write new poems, re-write old, take scraps and turn them into something I could throw into the maw of the (perhaps foolish?) promise I had made.
I kept posting. People kept liking and following. Turns out, regards poetry, comments are rarest of all — but there were some and they were all positive and encouraging.
I was beginning to enjoy myself. Better, I was beginning to write again.
By now, the third book was almost entirely posted—early poems. The onslaught of followers lessened. Some of the poems were obviously not working as well as others. The Monochromatics and Deep Water had been well received and I thought at that point every poem was going to loved. Be careful when you loose your big books!
But I had to fire those books off to get it started, to get some attention. I knew they were some of my best stuff, but if anything was going to get attention, it was them. I wanted readers. Because by then, I had confirmed why I had started in the first place—I wanted the poems to be read.
I started in earnest to finish what I had started. The World Is So Poetic was the first book to be prepped on the fly (so to speak). By the time I finished that book I was exhausted. I had written half of the poems during the month of posting.
And so it went with each new book. City I had mainly in hand as it was sketches not a finished book. I had it in hand to use as a relief; knowing I was on a marathon, I would need a rest at one point. It was the fifth book I posted.
Each poem required tightening — and re-writing.
Everything needed re-writing.
And there weren’t enough poems. I started writing in earnest, with a frisson of panic.
Personal life (for some reason) continued to interfere. Business was busier than expected (which was a good thing)—it had to come first. Late nights became the norm.
The likes, followers, comments continued to follow each post. I was getting a great boost of energy for the poetry. I was writing everyday, something I hadn’t done since Arlen died.
But there was a looming problem. There weren’t 12 books.
There was too much going on. I had too much to do to get the 12 books written — I was losing time to reality — you know, the quotidian. And I was starting to seriously think about quitting.
I could get 11 books — what was to be the last? I was beginning to sweat, thinking I couldn’t fulfill—and that lasted until I realized I had the solution. My last book would be my “Best of…” album, my “Top Ten Hits” from 12 Books in a Year.
How to decide which were the best? That was obvious to me. When someone decides to follow you it is on the basis of the post of the day. (Or so I presume. That is how I decide to follow people.) Those posts must be … better.
So, my last book in the 12 Books in a Year series — Follow. Each poem in this book generated two or more followers. The site is up to 195 followers as of today, so I have chosen the poems that generated the most interest, on the basis of number of likes, comments and followers.
(However, I wanted Follow to feature representations from all of the books, so the aptly named Punk Pomes merits representation with the only two poems to generate a follower. Was it something I said?)
Although all of the new poems written this year were not included in the— many were. In total, I wrote 96 new poems this year. I would like to thank anyone who read, liked, commented or followed for giving me, through your attention, the renewed will to write again. It was definitely part of the plan, but I had no idea how well it would work — and that is thanks to you.

I hope you enjoy the posts in the next 27 days from my 12th and last book in 12 Books in a YearFollow.