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John Howard Reid

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Member Since: Feb, 2008

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Blogs by John Howard Reid

What Makes a Successful Poet?
12/16/2009 10:47:12 PM    [ Flag as Spam or Inappropriate ]

1. Commitment. Keep writing. Keep reading. Usually (but not always) poets require little encouragement to keep writing. But to keep reading is where 99% fall down. It's amazing how few are even aware of current trends. I was lecturing at a recent symposium and to start the ball rolling, I asked the assembled poets if anyone could define "university poetry" or "academic poetry". Most people agreed it was the sort of poetry taught at universities and colleges: "You know, Wordsworth, Shelley, Poe, Longfellow and all that lot." Well that answer is partly correct. It's the sort of poetry currently favored by the literary establishment the poetry that wins prizes in contests sponsored by universities or judged by academics or that fills the shelves in specialized poetry bookshops. At one extreme, this poetry is defined by minimalist but prosaic word sketches, e.g. here is "Nature's Leftovers" by Austin Xavier Korow: "Out walking the dog in the early morning, I came across a sycamore tree, near at hand, where ants had gathered to eat the crumbs of a midnight feast, left by hobos, tramps and drifters." That's it! That's the poem! At the other extreme, university poetry is characterized by a morbid fascination with debilitating diseases. Alzheimer's is especially favored. Needless to say, neither of these forms will win prizes in any contest with which I'm associated,

2. Passion. If you're not passionate about your writing and your subject matter, your poem will lack life. It may be well crafted, but it will also be sterile, unmoving, unengaging, charmless.

3. Selling yourself. Don't be afraid to push yourself and your poetry forward at every opportunity. Let the world know you exist! Enter as many suitable contests as you can.


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More Blogs by John Howard Reid
• Names and Titles, Questions Answered - Thursday, November 10, 2011
• Win (Vincere) the 2009 movie - Saturday, September 17, 2011
• New Light on Movie Bests - Sunday, August 21, 2011
• Which cover do you prefer? - Friday, July 29, 2011
• Poetry News - Friday, July 08, 2011
• 6 Books in Top 18 Bestsellers at Amazon Kindle Today! - Saturday, October 30, 2010
• Movies Magnificent Hits the Number One Spot at Amazon's Kindle Store - Saturday, October 02, 2010
• Bestseller Number One in Performing Arts! - Thursday, September 23, 2010
• Popular Pictures of the Hollywood 1940s - Saturday, September 11, 2010
• Who Says Poetry Is Dead? - Wednesday, September 01, 2010
• "B" Movies, Bad Movies, Good Movies in Top Ten - Sunday, August 22, 2010
• 10 Books in Top 50 at Amazon Kindle Today! - Sunday, August 15, 2010
• On with the Merryll Manning motley! - Thursday, July 22, 2010
• Revising "Merryll Manning On the Rim of Heaven" - Thursday, July 08, 2010
• Merryll Manning Halfway - Saturday, February 20, 2010
• Almost Time for Another Newsletter - Saturday, January 30, 2010
• Always happy to receive encouraging reviews - Tuesday, January 19, 2010
• Progress Report: A Salute to Spanish Poetry 100 Masterpieces from Spain and Latin America - Tuesday, January 12, 2010
• A Salute to Spanish Poetry: 100 Masterpieces from Spain & Latin America - Monday, January 04, 2010
• What To Write Next - Monday, December 28, 2009
• Poetry for Poets - Thursday, December 17, 2009
•  What Makes a Successful Poet? - Wednesday, December 16, 2009  
• Naming Names - Sunday, December 13, 2009
• Margaret Havill Reid Poetry - Wednesday, December 09, 2009
• What Do Editors Do? - Sunday, December 06, 2009
• Love & City Dreaming - Friday, December 04, 2009
• MARK and JOHN - Thursday, November 26, 2009
• Psalms - Monday, November 23, 2009
• Classic Movie Posters - Thursday, November 12, 2009
• Poetry Contest Closes for 2009 - Sunday, October 04, 2009
• Weird Book-Buying - Sunday, August 02, 2009
• Traditional Verse? - Saturday, June 13, 2009
• Red Pencils at the Ready! - Wednesday, June 10, 2009
• Solomon's Song of Songs and Proverbs - Saturday, March 21, 2009
• Merryll Manning writing times - Friday, November 21, 2008
• Contests and Competitions - Wednesday, November 12, 2008
• A Frantic Week! - Sunday, November 09, 2008
• Silent Films & Early Talkies on DVD - Thursday, May 29, 2008
• Works in Progress - Friday, February 29, 2008


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