We all know how a sponsored run works. Or a sponsored walk. Imagine instead, committing to writing a poem a day and having someone sponsor you for it – for a good cause.
That’s how 30 Poems in November works. And this year, it has raised about $50,000 (donations are till coming in) to support immigrants in Western Massachusetts.
Every year, the Center for New Americans runs the annual fundraiser to help it continue its important work . The center is a community-based, non-profit adult education organization that provides the under-served immigrant, refugee and migrant communities of Massachusetts’ Pioneer Valley with education and resources to learn English, become involved community members and obtain tools necessary to maintain economic independence and stability. They also provide immigration and citizenship support.
I found out about the fundraiser last year through a writing group I was a part of and figured it would be a great way to be motivated to write more poetry while supporting a great cause. It was great fun and the workshops they held were useful at helping me improve my poetry and getting to know other poets in the area.
There were also daily email prompts to help stir up those stanzas, which were great at helping to keep the momentum.
This year, thanks to COVID-19, everything was virtual and we didn’t get to meet in person, but 99 poets still came together for the fundraiser.
Writing a complete poem a day is hard. The only way I managed to do it was by using a lot of notes and bits and pieces of incomplete poetry that I have written through the year as starting points. There were some days when I churned out three to four poems from scratch and then there were others where nothing came and I just had to fall behind. But I always caught up and by November 30, I had my 30 poems done.
Even then, a some of the poems could still use a bit of panel beating, but that’s the thing about having a deadline. It forces you ti put stuff out there.
I didn’t come anywhere close to making my personal target. No worries lofty target – we will meet one day. There is a year now for me to plan and strategize.
On November 21, I got an email from the Center asking if I wanted to be interviewed for the Daily Hampshire Gazette. Iz said no but Fungai said hell ya and since Fungai manages this whole poetry thing, he won. I sent in my comments and earned myself a mention in the paper. Actually, it was Fungai who got mentioned, but I have no hard feelings. To prove it, I’ll even post some images:
Thank you to everyone who donated to the campaign. You supported not just the Center for New Americans, you supported me as a poet and helped me see even more that these words we say and write can do more things than we sometimes give them credit for.
The Math of This Poetry
If you want to geek out a bit about this. 99 poets writing a poem a day for 30 days is 2,970 poems.
If we raised $50,000, that’s $16.84 raised per poem.