- Books, Literature, and Writing
The easy guide to how to write great modern poetry
There was a dull bloke on Hub Pages
Who wrote, knowing there were no wages
But he wrote, nonetheless,
To everyone's distress
He went on for ages and ages
Poetry is really easy. With my 9-point guide, beginners like yourself who will never have my depth of knowledge, skill and pure off-the-cuff genius for all things literature will be able to write poetry to match the masters, such as Dickens, Bronte and Bryon.
• 1 For God's sake don't say anything concrete. Don't specify any places, people or occasions. Keep it all ethereal, and never name or relate to a real person. "You", as in "I dreamed of you", is brilliant, because your dumb readers can paste the subject of your poem on to someone in their own life. So it can appeal to everyone in the world. Well, people who can read your language, but who cares about foreign people who are too stupid to learn English? Also, the vaguer the adjective the better. Aspire to using "half-remembered", "fleeting" or "kissed by". This will have your dim readers in tears as they grope for their Amazon password.
• 2 Rhyming isn't important anymore. Crusty old academics, in tweed suits with bits of pipe tobacco falling off them will tell you that it is, but our new generation of forward-looking, modern-thinking and, indeed future-building poets will tell you that that's bollocks – because bollocks doesn't rhyme with anything. Conversely, rhyming is the most important thing in songwriting, especially rapping, where it all lives on that four-beat: "I went to Wales, they have far too few jails" would be a good example. Well, as good as anything else.
• 3 Scanning! Scanning!!! Don't make me laugh [see below]. Never, and I cannot stress this strongly enough, outside of one of my superbly witty and concise poems, never include any lines of the same length. OK, if you want to walk down to the shops while people shout: "Boring poet, you don't even know it ," then carry on with your lines of the same number of syllables, as though anyone will applaud. As if. This is the example, indeed, the lofty template from Ballastrach which Orfach gave to Greebfold.
Line two bumpooooooooooooooooooooooo
Line four why the kettle bean in the fieldoooooo
And so on. It makes a pretty little picture on the page, doesn't it? Like someone's face in profile. This is important in poetry, the look of things, along with the colour of the cover of your first collection of your poems. The look of the book will encourage people to buy it. [See also: McDonalds, Burger King, et al]
• 4 Humour? Are you mad? To be a successful poet, as I have been successfully for a number of successful years, the most important thing to remember is to be a misery. The best of the miseries is loss, but being on the wrong end of selfishness is a good second. Some so-called advisors have suggested that a way to poetic magnitude is to wear a T-shirt with the message: "I am a poet, please abuse me, I would welcome more hurt to fuel my writings," but this has been researched and explored thoroughly and led to some happy relationships. And even more suicides. No, if you smile, as a poet, you may as well give up. Unless you are Pam Ayres. Sorry, Pam.
• 5 Don't finish it. At the end. Coming to a conclusion, summing up the whole thing, is so old school, and will only lead to more name-calling down at the shops (you can make up your own cat-calls here, so long as they don't rhyme, scan or enrich anybody else's life).
writing, preferably in the middle
• 6 I. Me. I. Me. You are the most important person in the whole of your world, otherwise you wouldn't be writing about anything, would you? DO NOT try to poetize from anybody else's point of view. It is all about you and nobody else. Your socks are far more interesting than the socks of the person asleep next to you on the bus. Your first view of Wolverhampton Wanderers' ground was so much more affecting than that of anyone's who had ever been there. And remember this every time you read other poetry. Just take their ideas and insert your self.
• 7 Stick in loads of rhetorical questions. No, let's start again. Why are there rhetorical questions?
So. I said 9-point.
But I lied.
Just as you knew I probably would do having known each other since.
You expected poems.
And I wrote verse.
Which was worse?
You were the most annoying pet rabbit I ever had.
You were bad.
You made me sad and mad but glad though Dad
Said you were a cad.