Poetry Quote: Auden 1&2

Lately I’ve been reading the Selected Poems of W.H. Auden and posting bits I find interesting or inspiring. Here are two. This first one is very sombre, and fits with our pandemic times, as it did with his world sliding toward World War II. The sky is darkening like a stain, Something is going toContinue reading “Poetry Quote: Auden 1&2”

Poetry: Six Essential Principles

Here are six essential principles for writing lyric poetry. They are based on my many years of writing and studying “ars poetica,” the art of poetry. Keep these principles in mind when drafting and revising. 1. Poetry is Music A poem isn’t just words in a certain order. A poem is also made up ofContinue reading “Poetry: Six Essential Principles”

Generative Exercise: “Sasha’s Flight”

LOL – this is not a poem I’m ever going to send out, I don’t think – so I’m sharing it with you. I promised to do a generative exercise along with my poetry students based on an assignment called “Twenty Little Poetry Projects” by Jim Simmerman in The Practice of Poetry. The exercise hasContinue reading “Generative Exercise: “Sasha’s Flight””

Muriel Rukeyser on Why People Hate Poetry

As a teacher of poetry, I often hear dislike of poetry expressed. When I hear it, I’m dismayed, and struggle to understand why. At least until I discovered Muriel Rukeyser’s The Life of Poetry at a conference presentation. Seventy years ago, Muriel Rukeyser wrote these words explaining why people hate poetry that seem to meContinue reading “Muriel Rukeyser on Why People Hate Poetry”

Listen to Some of My Poems on Soundcloud

Hearing a poem is often stronger and more enjoyable than reading one. I’ve placed audio files of me reading eight of my poems on Soundcloud. Enjoy these. Pick an opening line: “When spring began to breed mosquitos…” Listen (“DDT(Or, a psalm to dichloro-diphenyl tri-chloroethane)”‘ “Jim writes, ‘I feel like the designated scribe of the apocalypse…” Listen (“BatContinue reading “Listen to Some of My Poems on Soundcloud”

Poetry as Music: The Fundamental that Poets overlook

Music is so important to poetry, that not developing it is equivalent to being tone deaf and trying to create a song. Remember, Sonnet means “Little Song” in Italian, and lyric poetry is so named for its musical qualities. Yet so many poets omit taking the time to train the ear.