January 29, 2015

How to Write a Bad Poem

People, Places, and Ideas to Explore

Be influenced by as many great artists as you can, but have the decency either to acknowledge the debt outright, or to try to conceal it. - Ezra Pound

In 1913, Poetry magazine published Ezra Pound's "A Few Don'ts by an Imagiste." The piece offered would-be poets such memorable advice as "don’t imagine that the art of poetry is any simpler than the art of music" and "don’t retell in mediocre verse what has already been done in good prose." A hundred years later, acclaimed literary scholar Marjorie Perloff, the recipient of the 2014 International Humanities Medal, put her own spin on Pound's famous guidelines. Perloff shares her five additional "don'ts" and reflects on her early childhood in Vienna. 

Image Wikimedia Commons: Ezra Pound photographed in Kensington, London, October 22, 1913. Audio Free Music Archive: Jared C. Balogh