How do you know if your poetry is any good

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Irish meadow

The East Coast is wet and warm; it feels different with the murky heat than the dry heat of California. Being here reminds me of the best times of my life when I was growing up. Running through the woods with my dog. Jumping over fallen logs. I liked stopping and looking at those large mushrooms like white hands growing out of trees. I liked to pick these and write on them. I wonder now about how often I wrote on those large white mushrooms. We were not given much paper, so I liked writing on mushrooms and on birchbark. I did not write as many girls might K Heart Joey, I was not interested in affairs of the heart. I remember knowing that many of my friends had little crushes on boys. I found it very tiresome these crushes. I liked running through the woods and looking for animals. I liked to find porcupines in trees, but I really liked to see bears and deer. My favorite thing was diving into beaver’s ponds and coming up in deserted beaver houses.

So what did I write on the bark and the branches, on the mushroom hands, what did I write in the mud by the beaver ponds and in small pads of paper that I then buried beneath the leaves? I’d like to say that I wrote was the epic story of the universe, the hidden words that if ever found and discovered would show us all the true meaning of life, but the truth is that what I wrote was mostly bad poetry. But, I’m glad that I got on the bad poetry because you have to get a lot of bad poetry out of the way to get to the good poems that are waiting. They wait for you to write any number of bad poems and the good poems begin to show their little heads one by one.

How do you know if the poems you are writing are any good? If someone tells you that they are a good poet, you ask to see a few of their poems and you read them. How do you know if they are any good? That’s not an easy question to answer. I was reading a lot of manuscripts in Ireland and I came to one that had no author listed, so I dived in and knew immediately that what I was reading was great. The manuscript was Lillian Yvonne Bertram’s new book, so exquisite, so beautiful, such great poetry. How do I know when poetry is great? It sings. It has music, and it creates a vibration in the room. It glows in the dark. When you hear it; the words do not lie on the page flat, their black lines inert on the white surface. They hear drums, we hear music. That is what I wait for when I read poetry.

Published in: on July 6, 2013 at 10:13 am  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. I enjoy reading through an article that will make men and women think.
    Also, many thanks for permitting me to comment!

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