Mary Biddinger, editor of Barn Owl Review, asks, “What are your written or unwritten rules.” The responses, on her blog, are very interesting reading. Mine is here:
Allen’s Rules For Writing Poetry
- First, I have no rules.
- I don’t follow other people’s rules
- If there is a rule that I’m supposed to follow then I break it.
- If I’m expected to break a rule then I follow it.
- Sometimes I write a rule just so I’ll have one to break.
- I take risks. Even when I’m not taking risks, I’m planning my next rule break.
- I don’t shun forms or devices because they’re too hard, too easy, or because I don’t like them. If I don’t try it then I can’t beat myself up for failing.
- I write like an editor, edit like a writer, and read like a critic.
- No poems go unrevised, except those that don’t need it.
- There’s nothing I won’t do in a poem, nothing I won’t write about, and no one I won’t include; but I just might decide to leave things out anyway because I have that option.
- I always limit my rules to ten.
All questions regarding these rules should be directed to the Department of Poetic Policy at (123) YAM-ETA4. Press 1 for discussing the rules, 2 for breaking the rules, 3 for obedience and submission, and 4 if you don’t give a damn. Otherwise, hold. We’ll be with you shortly.