So you fancy yourself a poet. You’ve written verse upon verse for adoring readers- specifically your romantic interests- who praise you for the “sweetness” of what you just did. What you just did is actually a grievious literary crime, punishable by angry stares from me in public.
Here are 3 things you do wrong. If you’d like to write worse than an earthworm, here are the tips you need.
1, Write in “poetic language”
If you recognize yourself in the sentence above, your poems suck. There is no escaping that fact. If your tend to coax each sentence into a faux-Victorian form, where you use uncomfortable expressions like “To you I have come” and contractions like ” ’tis” and ” ’em”, please put every page you’ve written a poem on in a pile. I’d like to hold a bonfire at your house.
Here’s a sample poem you wrote:
Even as I have to you shown
How much I need thee be my own,
My love you tell me to suspend,
My cash you want at clubs to spend.
I’d steal your money too, fuckin eejit.
2, Conclude Sentences in each line
This is a capital offense I have noticed many “poets” commit. You compel the soul of poesy into the most rigid linguistic structure known to man, forcing free expressions to crash into arbitrary conclusions instead of flowing into each other like rivers in the divine garden.
In simple language, you start and stop sentences in every line.
This is one of the easiest to detect of the symptoms of extreme naivety in versification, a sign of chronic underdevelopment.
I have come to your door,
It is you I’ve been waiting for.
I already came here before,
Your poem is a pathetic bore.
3, Use flat oxymorons
Flat oxymoron is what I call those ridiculous partnerships of opposing words you use in your poems. You use functionally contradictory words in direct or near direct opposite relationships side by side, such as light/dark, beautiful/ugly, happy/sad. This stems from a fundamental misunderstanding of the concept of oxymoron. An oxymoron is not an arbitrary yoking of opposite terms, it is a deliberate tool to create complex, congested imagery by combining words that have conceptual contrast. The purpose of an oxymoron is to be useful for imagery, if your oxymoron is not useful for imagery, it is flat. The more concrete/solid/obvious the contrast, the more flat it is, and of no use.
Flat oxymoron: I have seen your happy sorrow
Better oxymoron: I have seen your pleasant sorrow
Good oxymoron: I have seen your excited sorrow.
Flat oxymoron: in the cold warmth
Better Oxymoron: in the heatless warmth
Good oxymoron: dance motionlessly.
To live in death
Offer to keep
I am not arguing that your “bright darkness” oxymorons are not oxymoronic, I am stating that they are flat, useless, of no use for imagery, structurally chaotic, and therefore moronic.
An oxymoron can be expressed over the course of a sentence;
To die is to live in fear
Over multiple sentences;
I learnt to love you when
I acknowledged my hate for you
It’s NOT HARD. Stop with your watery solid bullshit. It’s giving me cramps in my toenail.
Finally I’d like to point out that poets are free to use whatever structure, diction and expression they like. There are no rules for poetry, and poetic license means a poet can break whichever conventions they like. What I have listed out here are not deliberate exercise of poetic license by the authors, they are errors that stem from misunderstanding, naivety, and on occasion lack creative ability with language.
If you’d like to send me an hatemail, forward your disgust to me at email@example.com, or attack me on Twitter, @okeladeelfaez.