Community Supported Poetry

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On April 1, I made a deal with myself to honour the writer in me by penning one poem each day for the duration of this year. It’s a commitment to take the gift seriously, an opportunity to exercise the muscle, and a practice in disciplined creativity.

There are no stipulations or rules aside from ‘write something each day.’ Some poems might be long; some very short. Some will be polished; others very raw. There’s no stockpiling or pre-writing. And if a day gets missed, there’s no self-punishment, only love, and then try again tomorrow.

In designing this project for myself, I immediately realized that what I would need to pull it off is heaps of community support – a circle of friends and family and fellow writers and readers whose encouragement and care and creativity could help to nourish my own! I am seeking folks to keep me accountable to the commitment, to spark new ideas with me, and to help me stay in my stretch zone (a bit beyond comfortable).

And of course, the phrase “Community Supported” holds a special place in my heart because of a decade in food systems work. Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is an innovative, locally-based economic model of agriculture and food distribution that small farms often undertake. Community members pay a lump sum up front for the food they will receive from the farm, in order to help farmers at the beginning of the growing season to defray the costs of purchasing seed and equipment, make repairs, and plan for the year.

The harvest is distributed as it becomes ready, in periodic ‘shares’ that contain a diversity of what is available on the farm. The beauty of the model is that a CSA nourishes both the community and the growers. Farmers are supported strongly when they need it most – as they’re just about to start – and customers/eaters absorb both the risks and the rewards of the growing season, including the unpredictable weather, and the miracles and challenges of producing food on a farm.

It is with great delight that I take up the language of the CSA to describe my writing project as Community Supported Poetry (CSP).  As in a CSA, which provides you with food direct from the farmer, I’m looking forward to using the CSP model to offer you poems direct from the poet!

As the writer, I am asking for payment in the form of kind and encouraging words as I set out for the first time to create a healthy and vibrant field for my writing practice. In return, I offer you a share of my harvest in the dosage of your choosing (daily, weekly, monthly, seasonally), with the understanding that chance, circumstance, and inclement weather may alter the quantity and quality of what I’m able to share back and that we will share in that possibility and absorption of the risk/reward together, as community.

Drop your preferred contact info into the form below, and that’s where I’ll reach you. (If you choose the snail mail option, they will be monthly mailings – but you can still select any share size you like! Your envelope will just be thicker if you go for the daily dose by mail!) Also, the CSP, like a CSA, requires community input! Want to come help me write? Share an idea? Toss out a delectable word for me to sow and see what grows? Need a patch of soil to do your own poem-growing? Please drop me a line – I’m always delighted to have company.

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