Mike Finley

Rookie (July 4,1950 / Flint, Michigan)

Be a Better Poet


1. Stop talking and listen. Listen to yourself listening. Then listen to that.

2. Pile all your hats in the back yard and burn them. Especially any with feathers.

3. Remove your name from everything you do. Anonymity purifies. Fame corrodes.

4. Drive out your own sound by inviting in others.

5. Stop breaking sentences into lines. Instead, breathe. The breaks find themselves.

6. Stop talking with other poets. One god per universe is the legal limit.

7. Stop reading poems. Read hands, read faces, read hearts.

8. Unless it feels like a gift, don't give it.

9. Leave poems in unexpected places. In umbrella stands, in robins' nests, on piles of buffalo manure.

10. Stop being a poet at all. Throw away the sash. Because it isn't about your being. It's about being, period.

11. Stop writing them down. Leave them unfolded on the doorsteps of the fearful - the only copies in the world.


(2006, for the good folks at Poemhunter.com)

Submitted: Sunday, April 02, 2006
Edited: Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Do you like this poem?
0 person liked.
0 person did not like.

Form:


Read this poem in other languages

This poem has not been translated into any other language yet.

I would like to translate this poem »

word flags

What do you think this poem is about?

Comments about this poem (Be a Better Poet by Mike Finley )

  • Rookie - 303 Points Joe Breunig (10/21/2011 8:10:00 AM)

    An intriguing list of what not to do; I'll use what I can and discard the rest; for example, number 3 is not realistic - for people will steal and plagarize the work of others; real poets do not need to seek fame - their work will speak to the masses; besides, you're in violation your own point, seeing that's posted under your name.

    -Joe Breunig
    author/poet, Reaching Towards His Unbounded Glory (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Alison Cassidy (5/20/2006 9:02:00 PM)

    This is fan-bloody-tastic stuff. Except the advice about not reading other poets. Let's face it, all the great ones share the same inspiration in the end! love, Alison (Report) Reply

  • Bronze Star - 2,228 Points john tiong chunghoo (4/16/2006 7:20:00 AM)

    mike, i like this. very enlightening. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Duncan Wyllie (4/7/2006 5:57:00 AM)

    Freedom Mike, Freedom is poetry and on reflection.Love Duncan (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Sandra Erickson (4/2/2006 2:26:00 PM)

    Mike: Well said!

    I compose best in the car as I am driving. For a long time I used to try to write these bits and pieces down-arriving late, or driving erratically ((smiles)) . Now I just say them out loud a few times -until I get it exactly right-and then let them go....I figure it's good to give a few back to the Muse...you know?

    I really enjoyed this poem.

    Sandra

    Sandra (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Esther Leclerc (4/2/2006 9:51:00 AM)

    Excellent advice, Mike. I see my problem now: I've only done the second bit! Thanks for the laughs and sound ideas. : ] (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 0 Points Patricia Gale (4/2/2006 9:47:00 AM)

    An interesting concept.

    Regards
    Patricia Gale (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 3 Points RAY LUCERO (4/2/2006 9:12:00 AM)

    Mike,
    Number 12 should read:
    Stop telling other poets what to do!

    Of course, I'm kidding...nice write.
    Gotta go now Mike, as I have poems that need to be posted on steaming manure piles.: 0)

    Ray (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Danny Reynolds (4/2/2006 9:09:00 AM)

    12. Make the first word of each line, the one that rhymes? (see if anyone guesses!) (Report) Reply

Read all 9 comments »

Famous Poems

  1. Phenomenal Woman
    Maya Angelou
  2. Still I Rise
    Maya Angelou
  3. The Road Not Taken
    Robert Frost
  4. If You Forget Me
    Pablo Neruda
  5. Dreams
    Langston Hughes
  6. Annabel Lee
    Edgar Allan Poe
  7. Caged Bird
    Maya Angelou
  8. If
    Rudyard Kipling
  9. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening
    Robert Frost
  10. A Dream Within A Dream
    Edgar Allan Poe
Trending Poets
Trending Poems
  1. Still I Rise, Maya Angelou
  2. The Road Not Taken, Robert Frost
  3. Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening, Robert Frost
  4. Dreams, Langston Hughes
  5. Daffodils, William Wordsworth
  6. Annabel Lee, Edgar Allan Poe
  7. If You Forget Me, Pablo Neruda
  8. Phenomenal Woman, Maya Angelou
  9. If, Rudyard Kipling
  10. Invictus, William Ernest Henley
[Hata Bildir]