Advice for aspiring poets

· When writing a poem, keep in mind that a poem is something made of words, not of feelings.

· And that you are writing for a reader who has no reason to care about your personal thoughts, feelings, or experiences.

· And that a poem is self expression, but the self a successful poem expresses is that of the reader, not that of the writer.

· And that trying to make a poem successful by having it express important moral truths is cheating and, what’s worse, won’t work.

· And that for a poet, as for an actor, to say “I” is not to take off a mask but to put one on.

· Read a lot of poetry, preferably in more than one language, making no effort either to concentrate on or to avoid the poetry of any particular country or century, including your own: just read what you like.

· Assume your reader has read, understood, and liked all the same poetry that you have read, understood, and liked. That this isn’t true doesn’t matter.

· Don’t touch anything labelled “Creative Writing” with a ten foot pole.

· Never pay reader or contest fees. If asked why, say, “I don’t pay for love and I don’t pay for readers.”

· Get a good education. Then get the hell out of the university and don’t hang around with literary types.

by Jon Corelis © 2014