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Why I Want to Write Useless Poetry



Lately, I’ve been writing hard, more professionally than years past, which means also a bit more mechanically. Some words are needed, so I crank them out.

GoodWordEditing is one of my few places where I can still play. Play is so important.

I’ve thought of posts I could write this week: about the 22-30 rule of engaging readers, about the scene and plot things I’m learning in my own writing, about how to carve out writing time when you have a family and a career and a church and dogs that need someone to throw the frisbee, about how to use Twitter as a method of social note taking, even a spiritual analysis of Battlestar Galactica Resistance clips showing where that series does a good job of opening the door to think about faith and religion.

Except for Battlestar Galactica, those things don’t feel much like play to me. Even Battlestar doesn’t feel as playful when I’m analyzing it for scene structure, character motivation, and theme.

But poetry is so useless, it’s only good for play. The movement of a poem isn’t going to take me anywhere in particular. I’m just here swinging with the words. Up and back. Up and back. Or maybe kayaking around Serenity Island at one of our city parks. (Yes, I live in heaven.)

And earlier this morning, I finally found this poem. Or I should say it found me. People kept sending it to me. Quoting it back to me. And I realized it was time to climb on the swing, time to get in the boat again.

You can hear me read the poem out loud here.


images are
too intimate,
too desperate,
too honest.
reading is
a little death.
writing is too.

This post is a modified reprint from GoodWordEditing, the blog of Marcus Goodyear, author of Barbies at Communion: and Other Poems.


Further Resources, for Teachers and Writer’s Groups:

On Plato’s Thoughts About the Dangers of Poetry
Why Poetry?

Your Comments

2 Comments so far

  1. David Rupert says:

    Writing is a death — as you uproot words and thoughts and emotions and lay them bare for all the elements to attack.

    But then, like a seed, they come back alive again

  2. L. L. Barkat says:

    David, I love that. A perfect cycle.

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