Tag Archives: poem about writing poetry

#380: Poem on April 6, 2021

I’ve been in the habit of writing these little preambles before the poem of the day. Today, the preamble will be necessarily short, as the following, I hope, speaks for itself. I didn’t like the prompt for today, so invented my own out of desperation and some inexplicable afternoon blues, and it was, simply, to write something by hand. I’ve provided photographic evidence, but, out of courtesy, I typed up a revision afterwards.

Poem on April 6

The last time I wrote
in a physical notebook
it was November and
I was taking notes on
a discussion about a
book I was writing.
Some writer friends
were telling me what
they thought, how they
reacted, if and when they
were moved, which moments
stood out, how I might
experiment with form,
and I took notes on
what they said.
After that, in this notebook,
nothing: some names
and times, related, I think,
to the only conferences
this year between
parents and teachers,
and then, mysteriously,
a phone number, on
a page all by itself, a
number without a name
or any other identifying

This afternoon,
in a kind of lethargic fog
unlike anything I’ve experienced
since I stopped drinking,
I struggled; I didn’t know what
to do with myself, pacing
around the house like an idiot,
trying to avoid my phone,
longing to be outside, but
longing also for a task,
something to do. And then
I remembered, almost begrudgingly,
that I had set myself
the goal of writing 30 poems
in 30 days.

Let’s go outside, I said, into
the backyard, where earlier
the kids next door could be
heard reenacting Lord of the Flies,
and let’s write a poem in a physical
notebook, no technology, a draft
of a poem in pen on paper
inside of the notebook we’ve
neglected since November.
Yeah, let’s get that done. In our
shitty mood for no reason,
with our dogs, in our chair, on
the new patio, using what has become,
after years and years of disuse,
an almost indecipherable scrawl,
we will write a poem for
April 6, 2021. And we will feel
better somehow,
as if something we were currently
doing made a difference.

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#31: The American English Teacher Critiques His Own Poetry

Either he’s a Stat Blip Junky or he just can’t give up the poetry, one or the other.  In the following blog entry, the American English Teacher decides to keep writing poetry even though National Poetry Writing Month is over.

The American English Teacher Critiques His Own Poetry

I’m no T.S. Eliot, he says,
pouring over 30 little things
he’d like to call poems,
but doubts somehow that
they’ve earned that distinction.
His sentences sit there on the page
just moving right along being sentences,
rarely do they leap or do fancy spins.
And while he prides himself
on being relatively free of
the constraints of rhyme,
he suspects that music might be altogether
odd, he thinks, for a musician.
I lack authority, he says, for poetry,
remembering a critic who once said
there were no figures in his poems.
What’s a figure, he wonders,
and concludes that his ignorance
of the figure must be the key ingredient
wanting in his work, preventing
his lines from forming stanzas,
and forcing them into odd
and apparently arbitrary breaks.
No matter.
He continues to write poems
despite the end of April,
despite the obvious dangers
of saying the right thing
in the wrong way
sans rhyme,
sans music,
sans figures,
replete with arbitrary line breaks and


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