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Bad Poem Tricks

Ok. So what are the steps to writing a bad poem? In the first place, just a write a poem! It is likely to be bad already. So even the at...

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Two Poems

These are not deliberately bad in execution. The idea is just to use a kind of silly premise but still do the best with it. I wrote them in my head when I woke up in the middle of the night and don't know what they will look like in written form yet:



violins fly

south for the

winter. Flocks of

oboes, too,

migrate. So

in temperate

southern trees

we listen to January's

woodwind foliage


With Swiss Army hands--

each finger a tool--

I could open wine,

cut, file, screw...

Making love, though,

would not be so convenient.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

"Sam taught Emily and I how to make tortillas"

I saw someone I respect on a social media site use this construction... [cringe] Of course this is the error of the well-educated person for whom "Emily and me" sounds like a mistake even when it is the object of the verb, not the subject. So much the worse.

Of course I would never be so rude as to point out this mistake to the person making it. But be warned: I will judge you for this even if I don't say anything.


I'm using this phone app to learn Irish. The app is base on a simple principle of practicing every day. My daughter is visiting and doing it with Spanish, a language that she never studied despite having two Spanish professors as parents. She will progress more rapidly than I.


I think I have a different metabolism because I often find even short poems to be too long. I think, I could say that in about half the words. That could explain too why people don't find my poems very good: maybe they think the poem is just not enough, that there is not enough there there.

Here is one that I wrote as part of a bad book that ended up being good (imho).

There are skyropes

If you find one

you can climb quite high

past cold clouds

Here's another one:


My book Pristine

was rejected 14 times

but never so cruelly

as by the woman for whom it was written

Monday, August 22, 2016

The Parodic Swerve

It takes very little swerve to transform a serious imitation into a parody, or a seemingly good poem into a bad one. Sometimes it is only the failure to mimic the original faithfully. The way a caricaturist will exaggerate the most prominent feature of the subject's face. Of course I prefer a slightly more subtle form of parody in most cases. Elizabeth Bishop would be almost impossible to parody, not only because she is so good, but because there is almost no endearing weakness. I like poets more who open themselves up to gentle mockery.

Someone at last...

Someone at last will recall
the resting silences
of the birds.

We are impulses
in the jungle
of desolation.

childhood has awakened
all the imperceptibility
of a kiss
ancient as the color
of paradise.


found this in an old file of poems. I am not sure if it is a translation or a poem I wrote. I will have to see if it is by Lola V. or not. It is not a super-bad poem, but just sounds like a parody / translation of her work.

Theory of Poetry

The poet feels an emotion

puts that emotion into words

the reader reads those words

and does not feel that emotion

unless the poem is really, really good