The Ten Commandments of Convenient Poetics

- excerpted with the author's permission from "How to Write Poetry
(that Someone Might Actually Want to Read)"

_____ Advocates of Convenient Poetics, known as "ConPoets", embrace their philosophy with the pious dedication of living martyrs. The Ten Commandmants of Convenient Poetics, brought down to us as microdots on aspirin tablets by Steven Moore, may be worth keeping handy since 80+% of the poetry community's denizens seem to be devotees:

  1. That which we do not understand cannot be important.

    _____ "I don't need to learn about scansion. I write free verse!"

  2. There is no such thing as bad poetry.

    _____ "The 'Tay Bridge Disaster' isn't poetry; it's doggerel!"

  3. Criticism must never contain criticism.

    _____ "Hey, what goes around comes around, right?"

  4. Humorlessness is next to godliness.

    _____ "Ignore those who say that anyone with no sense of humor has no sense at all. Poetry is no laughing matter!"

  5. Overcomplication is the seal of the truth.

    _____ "Hey, do I look like Stephen Hawkings?"

  6. The customer is always wrong.

    _____ "Don't like my poetry? Should I 'dumb it down' for you?"

  7. Reject others, lest they reject you.

    _____ "Why would any self-respecting author want to write anything the public would want to read?"

  8. Thou shalt commit verbosity.

    _____ "To paraphrase Mao: 'Why use one word when we can use a thousand?' Seriously, who's gonna pay to hear one measly word?"

  9. Segmentation is unity.

    _____ "The smaller the readership the more intimate the experience."

  10. People never really liked poetry.

    _____ "Robert Service didn't really make $500,000 from one poem, did he?"

  11. Poetry can't be defined.

    _____ "Poetry is whatever someone presents as poetry. Why let the audience decide? Especially when there isn't one!"

  12. Thy navel is the Lord, thy God. Thou shalt not have strange navels before It.

    _____ "'I contain multitudes!' Pardon me, but why are you yawning?"

  13. Academics, critics and editors are a waste of time.

    _____ "Really. Why dedicate one's life to learn something that I can do effortlessly?"

  14. Poetry can't be taught.

    _____ "Well, not to me, at least."

_____ Did I say "Ten Commandments"? Hey, these are poets, not mathematicians.




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