Frequently Not Asked Questions: Two



Why is “Poetry” listed as one of the categories on your blog? Aren’t you a failed poet?




Thank you for asking.



First, please note that you should be asking only one question at a time. Did you realize you asked two?



Second, do you have a problem with me listing “Poetry” as a category?



Third, I really wish you would capitalize the word “failed.” I just so happen to write in the literary style of poetry known as Failed. Surely you have heard of the Baroque1 or Metaphysical poets, Imagist poets, Confessional poets, and Martian poets? I am part of that great tradition and subscribe to the tenets of Failed Poetry, so technically I should be referred to as a Failed poet.


Martian poet, Christopher Reid, looking good, but a bit spaced out. (On Wikipedia.)


Like all great poets, Failed poets have one long foot and one short foot. (By the way, the easiest way to determine if someone has an ability to write poetry is to ask to see their feet. Don’t be fooled if they are so-called “Long fellows.”) Those of us who are part of this movement favor mixed metaphors and imprecise language, with an occasional forced rhyme in tribute to early rhymers like Shakespeare and John Donne. To us, poetry is music and every poem a song to sing, so when we’re feeling metrical we write singsong verse. Otherwise, we just write down whatever we are thinking but without the punctuation. We love words and like how they look on paper or computer screens. Many of us like to spell our words correctly, but it’s not required.


John Done is now done with poetry. We miss him. Thank you Wikipedia for this portrait.

Fourth, I put that category on my blog because I believe in the U.S. Constitution. For a little over a year, I submitted my poetry to various journals. Although one online and one print journal accepted my work out of pity, the majority wrote back to express regret and sorrow. Apparently editors all over the nation were filled with sadness and grief after reading my poems. I felt guilty singling them out and making them bear the full burden of reading my poetry, so I chose to include some on this blog and make that pain available to anyone and everyone. It is the American way.



Fifth, please keep in mind that on this blog I use the word “Poetry” in its broadest sense:  a bunch of words.





1 The Baroque movement never died. Most poets since the 1600s consider themselves Baroque; however, they now use the modern spelling “broke.”







29 thoughts on “Frequently Not Asked Questions: Two

  1. In this age of mixed metaphors and free verse, best not to declare our intentions at the gate. Let others describe us, and give us our degrees, just so long as they don’t come with strings attached, like all those awards that have been flying through blogland like locusts… to me, your every word is poetry… what was that you said about the tuna salad… ?

  2. I can relate to this so much.
    When I was 17
    or so
    I had the audacity to submit a
    to a Very Important Magazine.
    It was returned back to me
    with a penciled in regret.
    It didn’t fit,
    they said.

    My professor of Poetry said I was good. I guess I fit with him. Unfortunately, he decided to leave this world the same day I moved to Texas (unrelated). Somewhere around 21 I stopped saying I wrote poetry. They’re just words! That’s what I’d tell everyone. Words to read. I like them & I don’t care what you or The New York Times thinks. 🙂

    Anyway. I enjoyed this.

    • I’m so glad you could relate. I think blogging gives everyone a place to put their words. Most people want to improve their writing, but they don’t want to wait months to be rejected. It’s much easier to post and get rejected right away. 🙂 And it saves stamps.

  3. I don’t know how it is with poetry, but for short fiction I would consider two acceptances to be a pretty good year. I think you should break out the 2012 Failed Poetry Writers Market and give it another go.

    • The interesting things about poetry journals is that they’re mostly read by other poets, just like blogs are mostly read by other bloggers. I think blogs have a wider audience and it’s more immediate. Plus it’s fun to be your own editor. Sometimes, just for fun, I reject my own poems.

  4. I took this as an open invitation to visit said “Poetry” category. I was not dismayed, nor was I overwhelmed. I think that category has only failed in that it contains so little volume… please contribute more Failed Poetry to that category so that we can go there and read it at will. Thank you very much.

        • You both are too kind. I wrote on another post that I only have marked two posts as “poetry,” and both were lighthearted. Even if I think something I write has the slightest chance of being construed as a poem, I tag it as “writing.” At some point, I may go back and re-tag everything as “typing.” 🙂 Somehow I feel a great affinity for that designation.

    • I can well understand this choice, yearstricken, especially after reading some of the published poetry available. Sometimes, it’s very complicated, putting a tag on our own work. I truly see much of your writing as poetry. But when writing, and sometimes publishing my writing… I often think of myself as a young man, looking for something that I could relate too… and these tags do appear as an invitation to someone out there, who’s looking for something… and might yet not know you. I am so happy I found you… in this wide cyberworld.

  5. I read this piece, which was funny and lovely and self-deprecating. Then I went and read the two poems you’ve posted so far. I am giving you fair warning, now, that I will be hounding you to post more poetry in the immediate future. Your poetry has not failed in any sense, YS, in my humble opinion.

    Rejections are part of the process. Always. Sometimes it has to do with timing. Sometimes it has to do with preference. Sometimes what you’re writing isn’t a good fit for the magazine/site’s audience, or doesn’t fit with the direction they are going in the next year. I’ve known quite a few great writers who’ve wallpapered entire rooms with rejection slips.

    Unless the editor or graduate student/gatekeeper has given you some spark to inspire a revision or a new idea, the rejections themselves don’t mean anything at all.

    I will be pestering you to post more poems, though. Hope that is okay with you.

    • Your poetry always touches me, Courtenay. Your control and command of the language pleases the ear and the heart, and you always surprise me with an unexpected image. Thank you so much for your encouragement.

      • Thank you, YS! I feel the same way about your writing— you really get language at the cellular level. The muscularity of your sentences floors me.

        Meanwhile, I will begin my pestering/encouragement right… now—

        Are you going to post another poem soon? Will you please post another poem soon? Please?

  6. I must confess that the only reason I’m not of the Failed Poet school is because I have never submitted a poem to anyone who had any power to accept or reject it, as far as I can remember. But then, that means I’ve *failed* to submit to others’ assessments, so perhaps I can at least be an Honorary Failed Poet, eh?

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