Monday, May 18, 2009

How to Write a Poem

“Step #12: Get opinions. It can be hard to critique your own work, so after you've done an initial edit, try to get some friends or a poetry group (there are plenty online) to look at your poem for you.” – wikiHow, How to Write a Poem.
Write about what terrifies you but, um, wait until mum or dad is dead to do it. For the family’s sake…

Take all the punctuation out of your poem

Your lover should be your first reader and your subject, but know this: having good sex is hard. Writing good sex is harder. Believing someone who just had their head between your legs – even if they’re a hardcore critic – impossible.

No one needs your next poem.
(Everyone needs your next goddamn poem.)

If writing rhyming poetry about God from jail, realize you’ve hit the trifecta. Celebrate by centering everything on the hard drive that's not porn.

capital letters are for suckers. seersuckers. sapsuckers.

Also: use the page. Engage the ear. Allude to classical texts, sneak in a few impeccable pop culture references. Break the line. Break a leg. Have a firm grasp of grammar and syntax but also have something on the side with the fragment. Form should follow content but, hopefully, not breathing heavily.

Put the punctuation back in.

Don’t write poems about writing poems.
Oh. Shit.

* * *

I'm about a week off on my stated goal of writing a poem a day for the May Day Poetry Project.

After five years of May Day-ing, I know not to worry too much about missing a day.

My real goal, which I always know, no matter what number I set myself (which is why I don't bother with resolutions either...) is to come away from May Day with a clutch of poems I'm happy with.

Though we're barely halfway through the month, I think I'm doing okay.

But I'm an awful blowhard, so...

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