When Sylvia Plath said . . .
Full title: When Sylvia Plath said “People or stars regard me sadly” I think she mostly meant “people”
Poetry’s not hard. All you have to do is,
instead of saying things like “I washed my clothes
at a motel laundromat in Orchard Park,
NY,” say “I ate gold in Milan.”
Tell it slant. You don’t have to use old-fashioned
phrases like “Write down Prince John a villain!”
Just imagine you’re at a seminar
with Prince John, making fun of fat people.
Show don’t tell. Saying “my feelings were hurt
when you winced at my Burger King jokes”
is very telling. Saying “You have great taste
in movies!” shows us more with fewer words.
Make it new. You learn from the old masters,
taking, say, Keats’s “I believe you had
liked me for my own sake” and updating it
as “Can I be on your panel at AWP?”