Today’s guest poetry poster is Rebecca Kai Dotlich, giving a very serious lesson, so pay extra attention.
1. Put yourself in a rhyme trance, focusing only on rhyme.
Hummmmm cat bat hat hmmmmmm sat fat rat hmmmmmm …. Get the point, joint?
2. Make sure the rhyme is forced.
Frog loved to play music and he loved to sing.
To prove it to his teacher, the bells he did ring.
3. Use lots of adjectives instead of verbs.
Batter SPLASHED all over the cat
Batter went all over the fluffy cat
4. Revise only once or twice, or not at all:
It would be very hard to show an example of this, but I will try:
It would be very hard to show an example of this
An example of this might be
An example might be
(pretend those revision steps above do not exist (you are entering the Twilight Zone)
5. Use clichés. A lot. Use 5 of them if you can
The park was covered in a sea of grass.
He saw two bears, black as midnight,
but he was cool as a cucumber.
The air was thick as molasses,
and the sun was hot as fire.
6. Don’t take the time to weave-in poetic elements. It’s too much work, anyway.
And so this space is empty.
7. Make sure the poem never gets to the heart of what it needs to say.
So if a friend moves away, and you are sad, tell the whole story; tell the reader how he went to Ohio and how now he goes to a different school (because it really happened that way) and don’t write with an economy of words like this:
“I loved my friend
He went away from me
There’s nothing more to say
The poem ends,
Soft as it began-
I loved my friend.”
~ Langston Hughes
8. A good poem takes time. (Usually. Almost always.) Chunks of it. Hours and days and weeks of it.
So slap down a rhyme and call it a day.
9. Do not read your poem out loud over and over and over and over, and don’t waste too much time listening for the rhythm . . .
And if someone reads the poem and trips over the lines a little, just tell them they aren’t reading it right. Like this, you say, and then you read it the right way.