So you think you're a damn POET too?

Why does everyone think they can write poetry? Most people are barely literate, walking around with their knuckles scraping the ground and communicating by means of grunts, but yet they think they can eloquently express their thoughts in verse!

Please people, leave the poetry to the poets!

I apologize to any actual poets on this board, but I was just trying to find some poetry resources on the web, and. . .


Poetry is like an asshole; everyone has one. Share what builds up behind you or you will explode!

IMHO: I think Walt Whitman can just roll in his grave but apparently, for reasons that escape me, other people like him. Okay, I can tolerate him. I don’t like him but if you do… okay. I don’t like snails but if YOU do… as long as I don’t have to kiss you later or listen to you read Walt’s drivel then I’m a happy camper!

This leads right into the CRITIC: they are the hemorrhoids on assholes; not every hole has them but enough of them do or they wouldn’t have created Preparation H.

I don’t like Walt but hey, that’s just me. If you don’t like a poet (or a writer, or a movie mogul) then yeah, that’s just you. Don’t read them, shun their books and point out to others as often as you can just how much that person sucks (like Walt Whitman). Share your own works but if you really find someone you don’t like (Walt Whitman) be sure to make your personal (WALT SUCKS!) Feelings known.

Oh, yeah, BTW… what is YOUR poetry like?

The moon looks on many flowers, the flowers on but one moon.

There once was a Samurai near Seattle
Who hated my poorly-metered prattle.
No Wordsworth, I:
A turd’s worth! (sigh)
But love to hear Sake-breath’s saber rattle!

My big sugar loaf you are near!
around me all this word play so queer!
words so hard pressed
my words more meaningless
hell, I’m just glad that you are still here!

In the style (sort of) of S. Plath

Night befalls me
And restlessness abound
That quasi-cult draws me in…

Driven to Debate
Or simply lurk

Unbeknownst to “they”
And sneak up with the Mundane.

Traipsing and
Tromping through Query
I’ve little to say
Yet oft reply.

Unbreakable bindings
Innumerable hauntings
I am part of The Ultimate System

Chained: almost, yet
Wonderfully so.

…ah, who’m I kiddin’… Sylvia Plath is way outta my league.

In the style (sort of) of TennHippie

I refer to myself as a poet.
But am rarely inclined to show it.
I write verse after verse,
But just seem to get worse,
So into the garbage I throw it.

“ChrisCTP-…the sweetheart of the SDMB…” --Diane
Chris’ Homepage: Domestic Bliss

He don’t like them poems, so I thought I’d show him,
I mix with the best of them, just tell me I don’t.
If the muse hits I’ll write 'em, and kick scratch and bitin,
I’ll publish it, damn all those fools say I won’t.

“Waheeey! ‘Duck!’ Get it?”
“Errr… No…”
“Duck! Sounds almost exactly like fu-”

As bad as most poetry is, poorly written doggerel is even worse. This forum should be renamed “The Shithouse Wall.”

Don’t get me started…

Too late.


God, can there be anything more idiotic than some dolt writing what is in essence flowery prose sentences and then calling it poetry simply because of erratically placed carriage returns?


Art without constraint is just self-indulgent literary masturbation.

And now, for the high-school literary yearbook free verse parody:
My toenail clippings
were once
part of me but then I
cut off
the yellowed
crescent piece of dead
skin and flushed them down the

That’s mighty funny! I’m with you on W.W. - what a hack!

ChrisCTP: That’s more Anthony Robbins than Sylvia Plath.

The “Shithouse Wall” indeed.

I have no problem with free verse, in fact in some cultures it is the traditional norm. It’s true, the majority of people abuse it (moriah’s example and of course, e.e.cummings), but there’s nothing that says you must rhyme and use copiuos puctuation.

Whatever best conveys your thoughts. Language must not get in the way.

Re: Free Verse is not Poetry…

Just outta curiousity, if you want to read a book of words by any one of the writers who do “free verse”, what section of the bookstore or library do you think you’ll find it in?


Don’t be such a snob. How interesting would poetry be if all poems were the same?

“ChrisCTP-…the sweetheart of the SDMB…” --Diane
Chris’ Homepage: Domestic Bliss

Okay, you’ve opened the can-o-worms.

What is poetry? If somebody writes something and calls it a poem, or anybody else calls it a poem, it is a poem. It may be bad poetry, but it is poetry nevertheless.

Likewise, if somebody paints, draws, sews, sculpts, nails together, or otherwise assembles mediums and calls it art, or anybody else calls it art, it’s art. It may be bad art, but it is art.

Sorry, but that’s just the way it is. Great Danes are dogs, Chihuahuas are dogs, Labrador Retrievers are dogs, mongrels of all kinds are dogs, even (cringe) toy poodles are dogs. The beauty of the dog is in the eye of the beholder, but they are all dogs.

Free verse is worth what you pay for it. :wink:

Poetry is what you make of it. I like things that rhyme, it just seems to flow better then irregularly placed ramblings. You can take just about any piece of literature and make it poetry, it all depends on what the author of the piece thinks of calling it. I for one hate free verse, just doesn’t do it for me. I consider myself a very weak poet, I don’t try and make very inciteful, deep, layered poetry, I go for funny. I also think that if you spend more than 30 minutes a month on poetry, you have serious problems.

“I’m not dumb. I just have a command of thoroughly useless information.”-- Calvin and Hobbes
\/-------\ | |-----| |

A blue urinal may be art and “There once was a man from Nantucket…” may be a poem, but that doesn’t make their creators artists and poets.

Just like putting the Pet-of-the-month on the garage wall doesn’t make you an interior designer and making a wooden box for Spot to sleep in doesn’t make you an architect (and if Spot is a Shih Tzu, it doesn’t make him a dog).

There is an elment of craftmenship in art (poetry, music, et al) - it’s more than just throwing something together and selling it. Sure, someone may buy the vacuum-cleaner-on-a-pedestal for $202,000 because the “art” world is more about marketing than art these days.

Not everyone thinks they have the talent to paint or write a great short story, but when it comes to poetry - they’re suddenly Paul Celan. I hate it, and I hate when they ask my honest opinion about their drivel. No one really wants to hear it, so they’re surprised as hell when I tell them that it’s “very simian” and “very simian, indeed!”

What do we do when even the damn Poet Laureate of the country is a huge hack?

Just to ask, is there anyone writing today who you consider to be GOOD?

(I’ll offer my list when I can think of more than Sharon Olds and Margaret Atwood)

The MW Online Dictionary had two entries for “poetry”:

poetry (noun)
First appeared 14th Century
1 a : metrical writing : VERSE
b : the productions of a poet : POEMS

2 : writing that formulates a concentrated imaginative awareness of experience in language chosen and arranged to create a specific emotional response through meaning, sound, and rhythm

3 a : something likened to poetry esp. in beauty of expression
b : poetic quality or aspect <the ~ of dance>


concrete poetry (noun)

First appeared 1958
: poetry in which the poet’s intent is conveyed by the graphic patterns of letters, words, or symbols rather than by the conventional arrangement of words

Hm. I saw the word "rythm", but not "rhyme".
Personally, I've always thought "poetry" was a general term, with little subclasses (lyrical poetry, free verse poetry, haiku, etc.)

I use many different writing styles, including free verse (thankfully, nothing as atrocious as that awful attempt at imitating Ms. Plath) and I consider it poetry. When I write said poetry, I am a poet. When I'm writing prose, I am an essayist.

In general, I call myself a writer, and the reader can judge for him/herself whether or not I'm any good. I'm still going to write, because it's therapy for me. And I'm still going to call free verse "poetry".

Drain Bead: Alas, most of the poets I admire are dead. Among the living I like Lucien Stryk and Octavio Paz. Atwood is very strong. I have a friend whom I admire as well.

Chris: I understand very well writing for therapy - although sometimes it just makes things worse for me. Some things are best left unwritten!

Whoa, kids, don’t go throwing those pointy technical terms around like that, you might put someone’s eye out.

As the self-designated inserter of semi-off-topic snotty intellectual asides, I feel compelled to imform y’all that free verse has nothing to do with rhyme.

Free verse is the opposite of metrical verse. It can be rhymed or unrhymed.

Scientific surveys has proven the ** the vast majority ** of very bad poetry is, in fact, rhymed poetry written by 14-yr-old girls suffering from crushes on celebrities named Corey.

My favorite poets are Shel Silverstein and Daniil Kharms, BTW.

“There is nothing you ought to do, for the simple reason that you know nothing, nothing whatever- make a mental note of that, if you please.”
-V. Nabokov

Sake: the good news is, I won’t try for poetry/doggerel.
The bad news: I agree w/ TennHippie.

There are taste and preference and good and bad in any art. But I’d far rather people love language, use it, even badly, in an honest pursuit of expression. That’s why, as much as I personally loathe rap music, it still has it’s own integrity of purpose: people playing with language, experimenting, making mistakes, but using it.

Could this difference of opinion be part of your contempt for Pinsky? Completely leaving aside taste preferences, I greatly admire his passion for poetry and his drive to share that love with everyday people. He strives to give Americans a love of poetry and language like the Welsh and Russians have. He’s trying to share a passion for the texture and rhythmn and sounds and richness of our language.

Hey, people learn, okay? Everybody is a beginner at something. If someone is still under construction as a poet, then it seems to me the criticism should be constructive, too.

It’s patently unfair, and rather vicious, to condemn honest efforts that don’t match an arbitrary opinion of what perfection should be.

Cut people some slack, already. So you don’t like their efforts. They TRIED, damnit, and the least you can do is give them a kindly and constructive analysis of your thoughts.

Bad at a lot of things,

Forgot to add that, of course, that this is merely the opinion of a barely literate, grunting dolt who wishes she could bandage her bleeding knuckles.

It’s so annoying when the masses insist on bleeding on the pavement just because they’re too insensitive too notice pain and
not literate enough to get the box of BandAids open.