So you haven’t heard from me, your official Poet Laura, for a couple of months. But there is a very good, very poetic reason for that.
I’ve been working on my newest “How-to” book, How to Write a Form Poem, off and on for the past couple of years. But over the past month or so, I’ve really
hunkered down––partly because quarantine has given me no choice but to hunker––to make enough headway for what T.S. Poetry Press plans as a summer release.
One of my Poet Laura duties is to read a poem every weekday and encourage others to do the same. In writing How to Write a Form Poem, I have fulfilled this duty to the extreme, not only rereading the poets I love in search of the best found poems, but discovering new voices as well.
Here are the ten fabulous forms I cover in the book:
I devote a chapter to each of the forms, including a definition and background, classic and contemporary examples, my own personal writing journey, and detailed guidance on how to try out the form yourself. In the back of the book, I provide more poems and exercises. In all, we’re looking at around one hundred poems, and I’ve gotten to know them quite intimately.
In the coming months, I’ll be offering opportunities to “Meet the Poets” from How to Write a Form Poem with snippets of their work and personal travels with form. In the meantime, here’s one of my own that I feature in the book. Can you guess the form? And once you guess it. . .can you relate?
From the Anxiety Series
Whatever this is about, I’m sure it’s humiliating,
Even paralyzing because
Never have I forgiven myself for disappointing someone
Else. Grieve me instead, please.
Eke out a reason to offend me and I will
Drench you with understanding.
To be in pain is easier than having caused it
Or, worse, waiting for the conversation
That for now has stopped time
And told my stomach that danger
Lurks in the hours ahead, as I reply and wait,
Keening for your love again.
Featured photo by Guiseppe Milo, Creative Commons license via Flickr. Post by Tweetspeak’s inaugural “Poet Laura,” Tania Runyan.
How to Read a Poem uses images like the mouse, the hive, the switch (from the Billy Collins poem)—to guide readers into new ways of understanding poems. Anthology included.
“I require all our incoming poetry students—in the MFA I direct—to buy and read this book.”
—Jeanetta Calhoun Mish