Tuesday, August 04, 2015



Advice to budding revolutionary poets on how to
write a modern poetic masterpiece for the arty,
cut-throat world of bourgeois poetry publishing!

Rule Number One’s obligatory--
It’s never, ever,  write in rhyme;
Because in modern poetry,
That is the most outrageous crime!

Rule Number Two - advisedly,
Is never let your poem scan;
Make it irregular and free,
Or else you’ll be an ‘also-ran’.

Rule Number Three - write in forced prose,
Pretentious lines of  little sense;  
As in the ‘Emperors New Clothes’, (1)
Who wants to be thought of as dense?

Rule Number Four is be obscure,
So one will be upon firm ground;
The literati will ensure,
One’s work is lauded as profound!

Rule Number Five – add the odd note, (2)
On the sly pretext they’ll explain;
The muddled nonsense that’s remote,
Inside the author’s fuddled brain.

Rule Number Six - assimilate!
Post-Modernistic double-speak;
So on ‘Imagine’ one can prate, (3)
Ad nauseam with the ‘in’ clique.

Rule Number Seven - play the part!
Eccentric, bearded (4) and half-drunk;
Act arty-farty for your art,
Or they’ll dismiss one’s oeuvre as junk.

So poetasters now you know,
The key to fortune and to fame;
Your work may be completely faux,
But you’ll gain scholarly acclaim!

(1) Hans Christian Anderson’s story of a king who was
conned into believing his clothes were only visible to
clever people - until a young child spilled the beans.

(2) As here.

(3) ‘Imagine’ - BBC TV Arts Programme.

(4) Optional for women poets.

© Richard Layton

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