A Guest Post: How To Kill a Poem

My friend, Marla Wolfe, is participating in this year’s Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month) in her own unique way. She is composing a poem for each of the thirty days. She is sharing her poems with me at the end of each day. I was particularly blown away with this poem from Day 3. She has graciously consented to let me post it here. Thank you, Marla.

How to kill a poem
by Marla Wolfe

Yesterday I killed a poem.
It wasn’t pretty.
Everything started innocently enough, though.
I followed my usual routine:
Pondering, listing, researching,
Referencing, organizing, adjusting,
Working out all the details.
After several drafts
Something beautiful came into focus –
It was unique, naturally patterned, real –
But then I went too far:
I added meter and rhyme.
I poked at the poem, prodded it,
Stuffed that full-grown being
Into a neat little cocoon
Of eight syllables per line,
Dropping emotion to make it fit,
Erasing color, adding artificiality.
And before I knew it,
The poem was dead –
No movement, no flutter of life.
Flat on the table.
For a moment I stared at it in disbelief,
Sick with awareness of what I’d done.
Then in a panic I snatched away its burden.
It raised its wings, revived.  A miracle.
I opened the window and set it free.
©Marla Wolfe, 2015

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9 thoughts on “A Guest Post: How To Kill a Poem

  1. I love the ending!
    My 14-year-old daughter has been writing a lot of poetry for English class this year, and some of it blows me away. I don’t know much about poetry, but when you like it, you like it.

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