When life gives you lemons, post the lemons somewhere else.
Recently I submitted something to a site that would allow me to do some book promotion if I taught readers something in 400-1,000 words. The piece eas rejected, but it is a good blog post all the same.
Life goes on.
Before my first book came out, a long-time friend told me that poetry was really “hot” these days, I laughed and told her that not everything that was labelled as poetry really was.
There is more to poetry than spewing some words on to paper or a computer screen, fiddling with the lines and punctuation, and declaring it to be a poem.
An example I use in class runs like this. Someone asks if I want to hear there poem. I say that I do.
“I had a balloon.
It was red.
I lost it
The world stinks.”
“What do you think of my poem?”
I reply, “Where was it?”
Cruel? Yes, but also honest. Where are the poetic features? Where is the different word order? What about the words that are used differently or the seldom-used words? Merely because one wants it to be a poem, does not make it a poem.
I am an Owner at both a very large Google+ poetry community, and a very small one. I find better poetry at the latter. At the former I offer critique/mentoring, and it usually works.
What do I advise newer poets to do? I tell them to read a lot of good poetry. Then I tell them to imitate it. Gradually they will find their own voice. When I shared a poem with a friend, she thought it was TS Eliot. To me, that was a compliment!
As newer poets develop, they realize that there are new people to read, and new styles to try. I have my mentors, and value their insight and critique.
But none of that would have happen if I wrote “poems” like the one above and left it at that. I imagine that another form of writing will be “hot”, and some people will gravitate towards it.
In the meantime, I am no Rilke, but the advice I give to poets of any age is to read, imitate, experiment with different styles, and last but not least, experience life!
Arthur Turfa has two books of poetry, Accents (Blue Deco Publishing 2017) and Places and Times (eLectio Publishing 2015). He is an Owner at POETS and Words on Fire on Google+. Since 2005 he has lived in South Carolina, where he is retired from some things, but not everything.