Literarisches Events (in and around Lawrence KS)

  • PATRICIA LOCKWOOD. Lawrence. Thursday, September 11, 7:00 p.m., Spooner Hall, KU Campus.
  • PATRICIA LOCKWOOD. Lawrence. Friday, September 19, 7:00 p.m. Lawrence Public Library. Sponsored by Raven Bookstore.
  • DENNIS ETZEL, JR. & RACHEL CROSS. Lawrence. Thursday, September 25, 7:00 p.m., Raven Bookstore, 6 E. 7th St.
  • TONY TRIGILIO. Lawrence. Thursday, Oct. 2, 4:00 p.m., English Room, Kansas Union, KU Campus. FREE.
  • CALEB PUCKETT & JUSTIN RUNGE. Lawrence. Thursday, October 16, 7:00 p.m., Raven Bookstore, 6 E. 7th St.
  • BEN LERNER. Kansas City, MO. Thursday, October 23, 7:00 p.m., Epperson Auditorium, Vanderslice Hall on the KCAI campus, 4415 Warwick Blvd.
  • KRISTIN LOCKRIDGE & ROBERT DAY. Lawrence. Thursday, December 4, 7:00 p.m., Raven Bookstore, 6 E. 7th St.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Letter to a Young Poet

Dear Young Poet,

You need to know:
I don't care about your exotic vacation locale,
or your feelings about the peasants there.
I don't care what happened to your pet.
I don't care about your sex life.
I know that's hard to believe.

I don't want your vatic nuggets of wisdom,
esp. that one? - at the end of your poem?
Even when you're old enough
to dispense them plausibly,
leave it to the self-help books
and checkout-line philosophers, ok?

Please don't talk to me in present tense
unless you are transcribing something
actually happening as you write.
If you're writing while it's actually happening,
please get a life. . . . Especially a sex life
(look, if you were raised Catholic, we know for sure
it's not as fascinating as you're making it sound).

Don't tell me what I do ("you do this, you do that").
You're not here.
I know what I do, and that's not it.

And don't use foreign words if you can help it.
Esp. when describing your exotic vacation locale.
OK, you went to high school. We know.
You don't have to tell me anything
about yourself to make me feel sorry for you.

If you "weird up" a confessional poem,
it's a weirded-up confessional poem.
Everyone will know this
(writing confessional poetry in 2010
is like writing "thee" and "thou" in 1968
in a poem w/rhyme and meter -
so if you do it, do it proudly).

Feel free to use "thee" and "thou."
Think of it as "Post-TheeThou" poetry.

And then and then you don't
have to think about line
breaks at all. Or you could go back
to writing stories in prose.

O yeah and BTW it's like
what we imagine knowledge to be, b/c
I have wasted my life
reading poems
that have already been written before.

Thank you very much for your consideration.
Please do not hesitate to contact me
if I can be of any further assistance.