Tuesday, October 13, 2009

waxing poetic

Suddenly I realized that we're entering week 4 of my "Poetic License" course and I've promised my student he'd write over 20 poems over the course of 6 weeks. We're still in single digits and I'm getting the same panicky feeling that my high school American History teacher must have had about April when he realized we'd gotten as far as the start of the Vietnam War and still had nearly three decades to go. It's a common problem in schools--I don't think I've met a person under 40 yet who has a full understanding of the Carter Administration or Reaganomics. We're all walking around believing we're still at war in Vietnam and there's a crazy new movement about peace and love and bell bottom pants.

Still, there is poetry to be writ. By him, not me. I'm a terrible poet. How terrible? I've had my work rejected by more literary venues than I care to count. In fact, one editor was SO decisive about the craptastic quality of my poetry that he emailed me a mere THREE HOURS after I'd submitted 3 poems. That's got to be a record rejection. I can teach and inspire good poetry out of my students, but I? I am a shallow pan with a surface scorched with drippings and leavings. Scrapings, really. Set me in the sink and soak me in vinegar and water.

Still, if you're a poet, hack or wannabe, check out the 6th Annual Palm Beach Poetry Festival. It's a tremendous opportunity. The tuition for six solid days of advanced poetry instruction is slightly more than what I charge for 9 and half hours of "Poetic License." Seriously. And the folks teaching there are published poets with credentials.

Go, check it out, if you're a writer--or pass along the word to other writer types.

I'm off to finalize a lesson plan about meters in poetry. After I return the Rug Doctor I rented last night.

A blogger with a smelly cat
Upon her couch yesterday sat
She caught a bad smell
Cried out "What the hell?"
Between the cushions the cat shat.


  1. There was a blogger in Dorset,
    Who went to the sea to get wet.
    She put in a toe,
    And screeched "Eeeek! No!"
    And she's never been back in there yet!

  2. I don't know... the first thing about poetry, because...my only exposure was in high school (100 years ago) where the class I took was "pop poetry" which consisted of listening to rock and roll music and writing what I thought the drug induced) artist was trying to convey. Needless to say it was a struggle from that point forward.

    But I do know... the Carter administration has nothing to do with the inventors of childrens clothing.

    Sweet wishes,

  3. Given that my favorite poet is Shel Silverstein, that should tell you what a poetry philistine I am.

  4. you know all about my poetry. Just copies of Dr. Seuss and all.

  5. Wow, that is such a lovely poem. Oh, the visual.

  6. Obviously the people rejecting your poetry have NO IDEA what a talent you are.

  7. LOL. I love your poem.

    "I don't think I've met a person under 40 yet who has a full understanding of the Carter Administration or Reaganomics. We're all walking around believing we're still at war in Vietnam and there's a crazy new movement about peace and love and bell bottom pants. "

    Isn't that the truth! I'm 31 and I think the Vietnam War is about as far as we got. Of course it would have helped if we didn't spent an entire month learning about conspiracy theories on the assasignation of JFK. Although, I have to admit that was a fun month.

  8. A poem about cat shit? What's not to like? ;)

  9. That cat poem was CRAPtastic!

    I must have gone to high school with Sara's Sweet Surprise.
    It was the 1970's, groovy man, and our English class was about interpreting the words of popular songs.

    We were still IN the VietNam war and the history teacher decided to completely skip the Revolutionary, Civil and Korean Wars, so we could spend an ENTIRE term on Southeast Asia

  10. I did a senior project on poetry... I remember having to write a sonnet (not so easy) and lots of haiku. I was convinced I had the talent level of an untrained chimp.

    But nothing... nothing I produced could touch your pairing of the word cat and shat.

    Genius. (seriously... they pay you?)

    ;D - Julia

  11. In cooking, the scrapings are the best part. You just need to be deglazed with some wine.

  12. I haven't updated A Mother's Garden of Verses in a while; maybe your (*ahem*) limerick will inspire me.

  13. Nooo! That's both the best and the worst poem ever. I'm so sorry. I bet your cat and my dog would be best friends - they certainly have shared interests.

  14. behhh...I don't know...
    All I know is that I love your wits darling!

  15. Oh my. You've summed up both why I struggle with poetry and why I don't have a cat.

    Sounds like you need to assign this student to write a "final portfolio" of, er, TEN poems!

  16. Great poem. Have you let Smelly Cat out of the basement yet?
    Three hours is not a record - I've heard of agents firing off email rejections in three minutes.

  17. AHH!!! Did ur cat have an accident?! Poor Kitten!!! ...and poor YOU!!! :)

    Ya know, I've always written poetry-even when I was little-but I never followed ANY rules, or learned ANYTHING about it...I have a hard time with rules and grammar in general...mostly cuz I SUCK at remembering them! :)
    So- In college I turned in a poem, and the teacher thought I was being "creative" and making up my own type of poetry, but it was really just me...having NO IDEA what to do! :)


Spill it, reader.