I post on a site which hosts a NaPo forum. 64 people started a thread and of those 64, less than half are making it through with a poem a day. I had one day where all I managed was an epigram, other day which was a single haiku, but at least I made it (or so I tell myself). This will be my seventh NaPo (2005, 2006, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2015). Out of those, I completed 2005, 2012, 2014, and 2015. I think that’s because I had a specific theme I focused on for the month. 2012 “brought” me this idea. I’d just traveled to Southeast Asia for the first time. We made it only as far as Vietnam before my husband fell ill and was hospitalized in Saigon. Vietnam was an overwhelming sensual experience from the moment we arrived. I completely surprised mysel f when I began writing April 1, 2012 by what came out. I spent the next 30 days writing poetry about the trip. I really had something to say. Since then, I’ve tried to focus on a theme.
There are poetry forms which are developed around a single theme. One of these is called “a crown of sonnets.” This is a sequence of 15 sonnets around a single theme or focused towards a single person. Wikipedia has a straightforward definition and is worth a read. This would be an excellent exercise for someone who wanted to conquer a highly complex idea, or address a multi-character narrative poem. The hyakushuuta is a form which consists of 100 tanka strung together.
With the last half of NaPo coming up, these would be two forms worth exploring if you’re running out of steam. Think of them as a meditation on a single topic.