Tips For Aspiring Poets

Never let it be said that a career in poetry is not viable. You can become a successful poet by simply following the handy tips listed below.

PD*40018071) Think Positive. Nobody likes a whiner. And poets always seem to be harping on the negative. Americans don’t want to know how to die. They want to know how to lose weight. How to get rich. How to sustain that erection! Be the poet of erectile dysfunction, and you might just be the poet who picks up a fat check.

2) Take Your New Positive Attitude And Direct It Towards The Paying Customer. The customer is your friend. Your typical poem really doesn’t seem to pay much attention to the living retail customer.  The time you spend trying to figure out what’s wrong with the people who don’t buy your poems is time you could spend fixing the poems.

3) Think About Your Core Message. Your average reader might like a bit of fancy writing, but at the end of the day he will always ask himself: What’s my takeaway? He will inevitably ask himself: Is this poet making sense? Of course, poets can dodge questions about what they mean by making a fuss about the complicated way they say it. But eventually your shrewder customer is going to see through the packaging to the product.

4) Strive To Be Relevant. Once you start making sense you can turn your attention to making sense on a topic that concerns lots of people. Here’s an example: a lady finds a human finger in her Wendy’s chili.

5) Overcome Your Fear. You may be thinking: OK, I see how I can reach a mass market, but what will other poets say about me? You are right to be afraid. There will be some jealousy. Some envy. But take comfort, you’re not alone. Flipping though a stack of poetry books published in the past couple of years I found a lady poet named Ai. Ai wrote a poem called “Delusion.” It starts:

I watched the Trade Center Towers
burning, then collapse
repeatedly on television
until I could see them clearly
when I shut my eyes.
The blackened skies even blotted out my vision,
until I screamed and threw myself on the floor

See! It can be done! Here we have proof that you can grab something off the front page, stuff it in a poem, and still hold your head high. But I sense there’s some evil little demon sitting on Ai’s shoulder: Fear of success. The reader thinks: “OK! Now we’re finally getting somewhere. Sure, I’ve already seen the World Trade Center collapse on TV, but maybe I’ll pick up a new twist here.” But then what does Ai do? She forgets about the World Trade Center and goes off on some depressing story about her sister!


  1. lefalcon

     /  July 18, 2009

    WHAT’S MY TAKEAWAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Good advice for all would-be minstrels!

  3. acilius

     /  July 21, 2009

    Thanks for the post, LeFalcon!

%d bloggers like this: