Thursday, November 10, 2011

I'm Not Really a Poet

Once in a while, usually when my fiction feels lifeless, I get a hankering to read poetry. Poets treat words like pinballs in a machine, banging them around with lines and stanzas to send them ricocheting off other words and ideas.

I don't get most poems so I don't read randomly, but I really love the poems of former US Poet Laureate, Billy Collins. I don't get all of his poems, either, but I can understand most of them and it makes me feel smart. Litany was my introduction to him on NPR and is still my favorite.

When someone does something I admire, I want to know how he does it. Writing anything is mysterious. I know that. But still, I wanted to know how Billy does it. So I studied more of his poems and read interviews where he explains how he writes them, and did exactly what he said he does.

The result is "A Friday Afternoon," a poem in the style of Billy Collins about writing a poem in the style of Billy Collins. You can read it along with a lot of other poems in the 2012 Texas Poetry Calendar from Dos Gatos Press.

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