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Anxious gatekeeping

Analogous to nervous cluelessness is something we might call “anxious gatekeeping.”   This is desire to police the borders of poetry, or of...

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Is there a pathway from Bad Poetry to Good?

I think there is. Let me outline what I mean:

1. Permission-granting. Writing a bad poem allows me to do things I would never do in a "good poem." It allows me to write in the first place, for one thing. I don't have to worry about talent or the lack of it. I am immune from criticism. The worst they can say is that my poems are not bad enough.

2.Humor is built into the process. I am a funny guy.

3.Voice. I don't have to be myself in a tedious way, or try to occupy someone's idea of a poetic speaker's identity. I can be myself easier in a persona, even if it is only slightly different from my own personality.

4. A lot of poetry fails from trying too hard. You'll never find me doing that. Ars est celare artem.

5. At the same time, I can sneak in any "good" poetic effect I want to.



Because I bought whisky

they think I want to buy more of it

and special glasses for it

I see fine with the glasses I already have on


***

Like any petit-bourgeous Latin American man

I published a slim volume of verse in my twenties

I had a girlfriend named Geraldine

She was warm-hearted; her make-up was immaculate

She was easy to write love poems for

Nothing was extraordinary about me; I was good-looking

But isn’t everyone at that age?

Now I look back on those days and I miss Geraldine

Though I am still married to her

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