When Good Poets Write Bad Poems (Tom Jones is in the house...)

Ladies & Gentlemen, Mr. Tom Jones!

In 40 minutes, I'm off to my poetry group.  We've been meeting together for 8 years, maybe more.  I've lost track.

What I realized tonight as I tried to find a poem to bring is that I have written a lot of terrible poems.  Not just a few, but a lot.

It hurts to read some of them.  Some of them looked like they had a nice title, but them Top Gun style, they crashed and burned in the end.  I guess this is like meeting a beautiful person then realize there's no one home inside.

If you think you must always write good poetry, you are kidding yourself.

Right now, I am typing this to you to remind myself that I will write another strong poem again.  I am writing to remind myself that sometimes we just have a drawer, a file, a computer filled with bad poems, but we need to write them to get to the good poems.

Like stepping stones.  Or stairs.  Or climbing a ladder where every rung is broken.  These are my poems.

I found decent poem to bring tonight though I'm wishing it was better (I tried revising and it didn't work, I've moved towards wishing).

I guess this is what my group is for.  They will tell me where it worked and where it crashed and burned. Or sizzled out.  The poem I'm bringing has some sizzle, but not that good sexy kind, the kind at the end of a whistling Pete firework when everything starts out loud then gets quiet.  We were rocking out to Jimi Hendrix then someone put on Tom Jones and we were rocking out to Tom Jones and then the power went out.

These are my poems. It's not usually to be loved by anyone. These are my bad poems.  It's not unusually to have fun with anyone.

In October I will get one full week to write poems and work on my manuscript.  Susan Rich recently looked at what I have for a manuscript and told me it was better than I think.  She's a kind friend.  What I think is that I have a lot of work to do.

Better put on my Tom Jones shirt, strike the pose and get to work...


  1. I get it. I so get it.

    Every fall, I bring my students a giant box of journals and notebooks and tell them that most of what's inside is junk that will never be anything but practice.

    Pen to paper. (Or keys to keyboard.) And your amazing poems will continue to come.

  2. It's never a bad idea to insert a little Tom Jones into your poems (or blog posts). Keep rocking it.

  3. Oh, yes, many bad poems on the way to a good one! And how lucky to have good poetry friends to help out!

  4. But there is a counterpart to this phenomenon: When bad poets write good poems. (I get lucky once in awhile!)

  5. I love that W Stafford quote about writing--and keeping writing. He says to lower your standards, meaning I guess to let go of that harsh critic. My critic shreds everything I write. Sounds like you have the same critic? I love love love your work. I am with Susan.

  6. poems write themselves, w are just a conduit, if they are not good, it is there fault, our job is to get out of the way and scribe


Post a Comment

Always love to hear from you...and the anonymous option is open for those feeling shy.