On Being A Poet: 7 Things You Should Know

I found this through Deborah Ager’s blog, who discovered it through someone else’s blog who didn’t play the game. But the original 7 things you should know about being a poet can be seen at The Michigan Daily.

Then, Bernadette Geyer got in on the act.

Deborah also inspired Jim Murdoch to create his own list, but he published his list on Deborah’s comment board.

I thought it might be a fun game, so I put together my own list of 7 things you should know about being a poet (even if you’re not a poet or don’t want to be [but especially if you are a poet or wish you were]). Here goes:

My 7 Things You Should Know About Being A Poet

  1. No two poets are the same.
  2. Most poets don’t get famous until they die; if a poet does get famous before he dies then he will likely grow less famous as time rolls on after his death.
  3. The statement just above this one is not an absolute.
  4. There are no absolutes in poetry.
  5. All poets have serious character flaws. That’s the only absolute in poetry. It’s a rule that can’t be broken without serious poetic consequences.
  6. Contrary to popular opinion, not just anyone can be a poet; however, anyone can write a poem, but then, anyone can boil water for soup too.
  7. Any poet that isn’t psychotic, sociopathic, perverse, mathematically inept, religiously fanatical, sexually deviant, dirt poor, unscrupulous in business and in life, anti-authoritarian, chemically dependent, or just plain whacked out en la cabeza, isn’t a real poet.
  8. Poets don’t like rules or guidelines; any opportunity that can be taken to break a rule or veer from a reasonable guideline will be taken by any poet with half an ounce of self respect.

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6 Responses to On Being A Poet: 7 Things You Should Know
  1. janetleigh
    December 22, 2007 | 1:35 am

    That’s a great list you have there, Allen, and you’ve clarified something for me, re #7.

    I AM A POET!!


  2. Jim Murdoch
    December 22, 2007 | 11:55 am

    Thanks for the mention – always appreciated. I would have written a whole blog to accompany my seven, which were totally off the cuff, but I already have enough blogs written to cover me till the end of January and I really wanted to post one on depression before the year is out, besides I think what I might do next year is have a look at all the lists and see what else there is on the Web and post a kind of master list of what you need to be a poet. I have a poem ‘Advice to a Young Poet’ which would sit quite well in an article like that.

    I particularly like #6 on your list but I think I take umbrage to most of #7

  3. the poet
    December 22, 2007 | 4:41 pm

    Thanks for the votes of confidence. I see I’m in good company. :-)

    And, yes, #7 was my favorite as well.

  4. “7 Things” from the Poetry Blogosphere
    December 28, 2007 | 9:56 pm

    [...] Geyer took me up on it early. Allen Taylor jumped in on the action. Jim Murdoch wrote his list — you can read his latest blog entry or [...]

  5. Poet Hound
    February 1, 2008 | 10:05 pm

    Absolutely number 7 sums it up best!

  6. Pat Paul
    May 9, 2008 | 9:54 am

    # 7 here as well ;)

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