“Select a poem by another writer, and map out for yourself what is going on with the line breaks. What’s happening at the ends of lines? What kinds of rhythms are set up in each line? How do those things intersect with what the poem is saying? What patterns can you detect?
“Once you’ve figured out at least some of what the poet is doing, try a poem of your own, borrowing those techniques. Copying has long been used by painters, so they can understand kinetically what the great artists were doing. It’s also a useful way to learn about how poems move.
“The point of copying this closely is simply to get a feel for the lines and rhythms of a strong piece of writing. The artists who copied Rembrandt did so to learn about painting, not to be lesser versions of the master. They imitated as a way of looking closely, and then used what they had learned to develop their own work, brushstroke by brushstroke.”
-Kim Addonizio, “Ordinary Genius”
Ever since I read my first poem by Allen Ginsberg, I’ve been hooked. There are a lot of times that I have no idea what he’s talking about and yet those moments still grab me. Something about his style has caught me and pulled me in. I chose Cosmopolitan Greetings to study.
As I started reading and rereading Ginsberg’s piece, I started thinking, “What have I gotten myself into?” I don’t know if I could have picked a harder poet to mimic. And then, over halfway through writing my “version”, it clicked. I understood what he was doing and what I was doing. I’m not going to tell you which part. Take a guess and tell me in the comments. If you guess correctly, then I think that means I really did reach a moment of oneness with Ginsberg.
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Stand up against injustice, against war.
Stay vastly aware.
Say only what you know & can prove.
Obsessions are avoidable.
Aversion is obsession.
Children’s words often prove wisest.
Change what’s wrong.
Fix what’s fixable.
Hope is self-completing.
If we don’t tell anyone, we’re free to think anything.
Remember your dreams.
Dreams come cheap in the U.S.
Reproach only myself.
Don’t cry yourself to sleep.
Every human interaction is a psychological study.
The notes determine the outcome of each experiment (post-Freud).
God is present.
Allen Ginsberg celebrated Whitman.
We are tool, carpenter, judge, victim, Human.
God is Human.
Inside life is hidden behind outside life.
What’s in between quarks?
Love is dark matter.
What do we say when we have no one, praying alone?
“Our Father, Amen, Amen.”
Woman is shapely, Poem is shapely.
Minimum information, maximum air time.
140 characters, sound is bytes.
Hashtag fragments of useless thought, like.
Forget rhythm, roll on the floor LOL.
Colons and brackets make sense.
Savour faces, appreciate time.
Subject is known by what she writes.
Others can measure their life by what we post.
Speech ends confusion.