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Relax, and don’t be too artsy!

In the early twentieth century Arthur Davison Ficke and Witter Bynner perpetrated the Spectra Hoax. Many critics since have said that the Spectra poems were their best works. The reason cited is often that they let themselves go and allowed themselves to have fun, as opposed to their more serious and self-conscious works.

So relax. Have some fun with your poetry. You might create better work by thinking less and packing less into a poem, if being too artsy seems to be your pattern. It is also true that many beginning poets want to imitate the rich, dense poetry of some of the grand masters of the past, packing poem with a plethora of devices and classical allusions until a scorecard would not be enough to follow the story-line. Relax. Start small. Don’t overdo it.

Poetry is a form of exercise. You have to build up. You can’t lift the world on the first day, or every day. So, at the very least, alternate between serious poetry and lighter works. It will help keep your work fresher and keep burnout at bay. It might also keep your poetry more readable for a general audience.

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