Thursday, November 15, 2012

How To Write A Poem

Start with a blank page.
Fill it with what excites you the most,
the thing that causes you the most pain,
the thing you are most afraid of being judged for,
and that you least want anyone to know about.

Don't lie.
Don't hedge.
Don't worry that the wrong person will read it--
they will.
Don't worry that no one else has ever felt this way--
they have.
Don't think it's not good enough--
it is.
Don't think it's the best you can do--
it's not. Do it again.

dress it up in the most beautiful language you can imagine.
throw out two thirds of it.
Start over.
Do it better.
Make yourself cry.
Make someone else cry.
Never be satisfied.
Never let yourself off the hook.
Never stop saying the thing that you're terrified to say.

don't waste my time, princess.

For Kerry's challenge


Sioux said...

Now that I've got the detailed directions, I'm going to try my hand at a poem. (You shouldn't have given away all your trade secrets. Now there might be thousands of Fireblossoms springing up...)

Maybe someday Ise can be as successful as you be, now that I know how to do it? ;)

Susan said...

Those are the rules and the objections to the rules--all anticipated and adhered to. It feels a bit like a strip search when it comes right down to it--a new definition of poetry.

Margaret said...

You talkin' to me, sistah? ... 'cause I squirmed.

nene said...

This is better than mapquest and Gps for poets. :-)

Kerry O'Connor said...

Sadly my life is so dull, I drew a blank on the first three steps... I'm going to take up gardening and forget the whole poetic thing. Maybe I can get things to grow that way, without wasting the good FB's time.

hedgewitch said...

You've laid it out--now if only people will follow these easy to use self-destructions, er, instructions. I'm not getting anything for this prompt as yet but haven't given up, and now I have no excuse since you told me how to do it. ;_)

Helen said...

So much truth in what - and in how -you laid this out, cliff notes for the Universe!!

Anonymous said...

I love it when you call me Princess.

Daryl said...

also good advice for writing a blog post ...

TexWisGirl said...

please say you're going to put this on your sidebar! love it! and i don't even write poetry. :)

Sherry Blue Sky said...

Ouch! I feel a severe case of writers' block coming on. But I love what you said about making yourself and someone else cry.

Anonymous said...

Love the way you spell "excites," by the way. It definitely needs a "k." There should always be a bit of kite-flying inside everything exciting.

Anonymous said...

You write poetry with your teeth, flinging the extraneous, the unnecessary like bits of clay from a potter's wheel.

These instructions challenge me, call me to ground and rip the packaging off my wings all at once. Maybe, just maybe, I will write again- when the words come unbidden and I feel the urge to inscribe with my teeth. Again.

Shay, you ARE. You just... ARE. Thank you.

Marion said...

I write the very, exquisite, exact opposite of this, but that's okay, too. xo

Buddah Moskowitz said...

I've always believed what I read Truman Capote once wrote :When God gives you a gift, He always gives you a gift for the sole purpose of self-flagellation.

I loved your wise words, O Wise One.

Far Beyond The Ridge said...

I think what you have written here is spot on perfect. I agree with every word and i admire your courage, knowing it's because you truly care about the heart and soul of poetry.
If we can be nothing else, let's at least be real.
When the vulture eats me, let him find meat to rip and tear, blood to drink, and let him be full on all i can offer

Mama Zen said...


HermanTurnip said...

This post reminds me of one of my favorite quotes:

"Writing is easy. All you do is stare at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead."
-Gene Fowler

Lynn said...

I like seeing the process you go through, FB. And I still couldn't do it. You also have to have talent like yours, I think.

Cloudia said...

this is CLASSIC & CORRECT advice !

Happy Aloha Friday!
Comfort Spiral

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Roselie said...

I love it!This is indeed the way to write a the ending...

Lolamouse said...

Oh, is THAT how you do it?!! Now that I know, maybe I can write poetry as good as yours! (ha ha, NO WAY!)