To the FB poets

Do you know how a cell phone works?  I get the general concept.  I could not build a cell phone and tower to actually make a phone call.  I can write basic html, jet a carburetor and stick a bag of popcorn in the microwave, but that does not mean I get the internet, really understand the internal combustion engine, or have any clue how microwaves actually work.

Lately, there has been an outbreak of facebook poetry.  I haven’t gone off on a rant in a while so let me be the first to say you’re   not   fucking   poets.  This rant is not aimed at the actual poets in the world.  It is aimed at the people who think they’re poets because they passed seventh grade English.

If you’re reading this, you had some degree of education in English.  A big part of the problem is that we’ve all had some training so we all think we can do it.  I am a pretty highly trained user of words.  I would not dare write a poem.  Somewhere out there is the reincarnation of Wordsworth or Coleridge, and they have the innate ability to be poetic. 

For the rest of us, your fragments, inverted sentences and shitty imagery are not poetic.  They’re just shitty.

“On the street, I walked” is not poetic.  It’s a fucked up sentence.

“There, alone, trembling, in the dark” is just a bunch of words strung together

“Like raindrops sparkling and glistening like so many mirrors falling from the heavens” is just fucking stupid.

(I made all those examples up to protect the not so innocent.)

I won’t even start on rhymes.  There are people in the world who can make cell phones work.  There are people who can overhaul an engine.  There are rare geniuses who can do things without being taught.  The rest of us have to learn and practice.  I know several prose writers who can also write poetry.  I am very envious.  I’ve met a few naturals who create stunning images in words.  For most, if your job title is “CPA” and you haven’t spent years studying poetry, don’t subject us to your “Ode to the Tax Code.”

If you’re not a genius, and you haven’t studied, spare us your poetic waxing.  It’s harder than you think.

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3 Responses to To the FB poets

  1. Kelly Gamble says:

    Wonderful, Darren. What’s even better are the 25 comments from friends, “oh, you are so good!”

  2. Brilliant! Your rant made my day!

  3. Rob Greene says:

    I think I’d tell those folks to keep writing, but avoid posting (which is essentially publishing) until you’ve worked it, reworked it, workshopped it, and have at least brought it up to four draft. And read the work of some real poets. I have little confidence in writers who don’t read.

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