Since I no longer have professors cranking me on the rack, I have to stretch myself on my own. I like reaching for things without an extra set of shoulders, there’s a certain satisfaction you get from that, that can’t be tasted any other way. But sometimes it’s helpful to have a guide.
So I bought a book. It’s called The New Book of Forms (A Handbook of Poetics). Lewis Turco wrote it. It’s not full of prompts or tidbits of force-it-down-your-throat inspiration like some books on writing. It’s an encyclopedia, really–and, if you’re creative, it can become a mentor (a nice, quiet one that doesn’t berate you when you spend too much time trying to play the The Mars Volta’s Inertiatic ESP on the drums, instead of writing poetry). It’s like the Hitchhiker’s Guide to Wordplay, only it doesn’t have a big, friendly DON’T PANIC on the front. With its help, I’m going to wander the land of poetic form. Every week, a new form, a new poem, posted here–probably to my complete and utterly well-deserved shame.
But you’ll get to laugh at my poetic failures and maybe (maybe) I’ll learn something.