Manford Blacksher
Manford Blacksher's Fundraiser

Show Some Love for Tupelo Press ( and for Me! Please, please, please . . )

I'll be Writing a Poem-a-Day for 30 Days in March

$730 towards $375

During the month of March, a host of ambitious, semi-crazed poets will be writing and publishing a poem-a-day for thirty days to benefit Tupelo Press. I will be among them—older, still trying to win at the track, crazier. I've wanted to do this for years. Now that I've asked, and Tupelo Press has consented, I can't back out.

This is a worthwhile endeavor, a rite of passage. Like making twelve consecutive payments on student debt. Colonoscopies.

So, I ask you, my friends and grudging relatives, help me feel your pledged support nerving me to write thirty pieces in thirty days. I mean, if I were to invite you to see Alfonso Cuarón's Roma at the Cineplex, and when we got to the ticket vendor I started to slap at my back pocket in dismay and exclaim that I'd left my wallet at home—and if then I were to look you hard in the eyes and say, "I can't believe I did that. But you wouldn't mind getting our tickets, would you? I'll repay you when I get my next paycheck. In a couple of weeks."—you might curse inwardly, but you'd pay for the tickets. And popcorn---Wouldn't you? I hope so. Because I'd be devastated if you didn't. But also because this is the kind of support that aspiring contemporary poets require every month. And the rewards are profound. You get a powerfully moving narrative of a family's struggles to embrace change at the advent of the 1970s. The black-and-white cinematography conveys Cuarón's intimate experience of Mexico City. The popcorn is hot and fresh.

Making a pledge and visiting the 30/ 30 Project site each day to read what I've come up with doesn't just absolve you of prospective guilt as you grumble that I'm an idiot, but you could probably offer something. Truly, we've all become so comfortable with the expectation that most new art and writing is available for free on the web that we hardly get perturbed when a national credit agency loses all our personal identification info, and we discover someone has used our name, social security number, and address to start a line of credit and buy a flat screen tv from a cut-rate online electronics store. Achieving my $375 pledge goal helps ensure that poets writing with me in March are strongly represented, and others will also have this opportunity. Pledge money supports Tupelo Press' critical work in publishing some of the most important contemporary poetry being written.

So give a little to get a lot. Or, better, give a lot and feel justifiably benign while you enjoy the contributions of all the poets writing for March's 30/ 30 Project. To those of you who understand how important this commitment is, I thank you in advance for your support. To those of you who are strapped for cash and are just not sure if you can budget it this month, I would say Puh-leaasse! I'll get you back in my next pay period! I'm good for it! I swear!