“Rules for Poetry” by Rick Lupert

Rick Lupert


Never use adjectives
unless you’re trying to describe something
and you don’t want to do it the hard way.

Never use the word “forever.”
It reminds people they’re going to die
and the last thing you need is people distracted
by their mortality during your poem.

Write what you know
unless you’re a fool, in which case
look to the internet, and write about something there.

Avoid vowels
and their angry sister
the letter Y.

Avoid cliché.
On the other hand …

Learn the difference between
epigrams and

Use as few words as possible.
In fact, hand out blank sheets of paper
and tell people it’s your finest work.

If you ever use the phrase “darkness in my soul”
be prepared for me to come to your house
and kill you.

If you’re going to write in form, do it right.
For example, as I understand it, a haiku
is eight hundred words written while
sitting on a cheesecake.

Line breaks are important,
but use them carefully. Once you’ve broken a line
its parents will never forgive you.

Finally, go to poetry workshops.
Sometimes they serve food and
you can’t write poetry if you’re dead
because you forgot to eat.

from Rattle #33, Summer 2010
Tribute to Humor


Rick Lupert: “Once I met Art Garfunkel. I handed him a small journal and told him it was a book of my thoughts. He wrote in it ‘Rick, I’m your next thought.’ Soon after I lost this journal. I continue to write thoughts, in the form of poems, in the event I might run into him again and bring closure to that embarrassing loss. I’ve since published twelve poetry collections. I also organize the Poetry Super Highway, an online resource and publication for poets. The mission of these projects is to expose as many people to as many other people’s poetry as possible. The secret mission is to prepare people, in case they run into Art Garfunkel.” (web)

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