big time cat fancier


rules for NaPoWriMo (and to live by)

from Kenneth Koch's The Art Of Poetry

Just how good a poem should be

Before one releases it, either into one’s own work or then into the purview of others,

May be decided by applying the following rules: ask 1) Is it astonishing?

Am I pleased each time I read it? Does it say something I was unaware of

Before I sat down to write it? and 2) Do I stand up from it a better man

Or a wiser one, or both? or can the two be separated? 3) Is it really by me

Or have I stolen it from somewhere else? (This sometimes happens,

Though it is comparatively rare.) 4) Does it reveal something about me

I never want anyone to know? 5) Is it sufficiently “modern”?

(More about this a little later) 6) Is it in my own “voice”?

Along with, of course, the more obvious questions, such as

7) Is there any unwanted awkwardness, cheap effects, asking illegitimately for attention,

Show-offiness, cuteness, pseudo-profundity, old hat checks,

Unassimilated dream fragments, or other “literary,” “kiss-me-I’m poetical” junk?

Is my poem free of this? 8) Does it move smoothly and swiftly

From excitement to dream and then come flooding reason

With purity and soundness and joy? 9) Is this the kind of poem

I would envy in another if he could write? 10)

Would I be happy to go to Heaven with this pinned on to my

Angelic jacket as entrance show? Oh, would I? And if you can answer to all these Yes

Except for the 4th one, to which the answer should be No,

Then you can release it, at least for the time being.

I would look at it again, though, perhaps in two hours, then after one or two weeks,

And then a month later, at which time you can probably be sure.

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