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November 20, 2007

ok, so what’s a meme anyway?

 danika at open channel tagged me to write 4 things beginning poets should attend to and 4 things to avoid. i think she called it a meme (is that pronounced mee-mee? or meeem? or meeem-ee? anyway so here goes!

a beginning poet should attend to:


even if there isn’t an open mic, especially if there isn’t an open mic, go to as many readings as possible and listen–listen to what catches your attention, listen for sounds which find your ear, listen for images which ignite your inner eye. listen to how the poet reads the work, introduces the work, pauses, speeds up, plays with the words. or doesn’t. try to remember one image and tell the poet about it. most communities have poetry readings listed somewhere on line or in print. the listings aren’t usually correct but they can give you a start. if you’re in california, lists readings all over the state. lists readings they are co-sponsoring.


not just yours but other poets, any poet. listen to how they write to inform your reading, listen to how the words tickle your tongue while they tickle your fancy, how they might roll around in your mouth, slide into each other, or dance right out to seduce your ear.

3. MAKE CHOICES. know that every thing you do in your poem is a choice you make to inform your reader how to read and understand your poem.


1. centering your poem unless you have a specific reason for centering–unless it’s a concrete poem or a stanza poem like herbert’s easter wings or you have some other reason which helps your reader understand your poem. poems on hallmark cards are centered. unless you are writing a poem which you will be submitting to a card company, do not center it.

2. if you must rhyme (for example you are writing a ballad or villanelle or some particular form) put the rhyme at the end of the line.    


i am working on this post still…more to come soon. i already wrote it once and it got eaten by the cyberspace monster

4 Comments leave one →
  1. November 22, 2007 12:20 am

    LOL! (laugh out loud) – this brings back such memories for me of the first time i got tagged with a meme and i had to email bloggers to ask them WTF is this and what do i do with it?
    Just to be persnickity I started slightly “changing” or leaving Rhi-isms in portions of the memes so i could later see if my warped versions made their way out into the big bad blog world.
    of course i’m slightly evil like that. Also easily amused.

    Trying to figure out blogese was it’s own challenge. it took me 6 months to realize ROFL meant Roll On Floor Laughing and LMAO meant Laugh My Ass Off. For the longest time i thought ROFL was code for puke.

  2. November 22, 2007 12:21 am

    ps – great advice!

  3. November 22, 2007 1:27 am

    LOL! Rhian, that’s the first thing I thought when I read ROFL, too. I didn’t get “ttyl” right off the bat, either.

    Gwen – All your “attend to” idea make complete sense to me, I’m just wondering about #2 on your “not to do” list. I really like internal rhymes if they surprise me. Can you clarify or were you being snarky?

  4. artpredator permalink*
    November 22, 2007 7:08 am

    i haven’t figured out how to find my work on this crappy dell using internet explorer when i lose my connection. i lost this post 2x!! and have been left with this draft.

    i too like internal rhymes–but i see in beginning poets rhyming poems where the rhyme is not at the end of the line. i actually revisde this so the point is much mroe well put and accomodates internal rhymes. just haven’t been able to get back into that head space and have the time to do it.

    i’m def a neophyte with the jargon here. i have a student this semester who has no email account –she only text messages. fascinating world out there.

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