Thursday, March 31, 2011

Words for Young Canadian Poets

Since National Poetry Month is only a day a way and since I’m now starting to think of myself as an old curmudgeon, I thought I would like to start things off with what little meager advice I might offer to young Canadian poets starting out. These are the nuggets of wisdom I would have liked someone to say to me back when I was in my twenties and first starting to write my own poems.

1) Aspire to be more than a contributor page.

2) Revising poems is like panning for gold. It won’t make you rich but delight in the few shiny grains.

3) Throw off the bondage of the fashionable. Seek your own poetry.

4) Unlike the hard coin of one’s lines, the sprezzatura of one’s personality cannot be banked on.

5) Revelation and restlessness are most often unhappily married in poetry.

6) Be neither tyrant nor toadie. Both are affectations.

7) The lesser the talent, the louder the voice.

8) A poem should be honest, true in some way, or else it is all wiring and no circuit.

9) Do not mistake arrogance for determination.

10) A poem should surprise and not explain.

11) In poetry, you may glimpse the universe but only through a keyhole.(for G.M.)

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