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How Poetry Should Work

December 7, 2018

When I write poems, I don't rely on poetry prompts. If a prompt is presented to me, I will have fun with it, but I don't use prompts in the poetry I want to get published. I approach my poetry differently than some writers. I feel that a poem is what it is. It has always worked like that for me. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve sat down to write only to have my writing go in a different direction than I’d planned. For example, I once tried to compose a poem about an experience I had driving to Logan in the dark. I wanted to write about how distant lights blurred and morphed while I squinted and examined them from different angles. However, the poem I wrote turned out to be about a nervous prostitute. My view of poetry is similar to what I imagine a parent’s view would be like. You may want a poem to be about a certain topic, but the poem will pick its own subject. It's never going to work well if you force it.

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