Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle, Plato

So a funny thing happened on the way to getting my poem about dead babies at the post office and my desire to have children of my own workshopped. See, on my way to having my poem workshopped I had to read it out loud, which I was amazingly fine with.

But as soon as I finished reading, one of the guys in my class burst out laughing. Not just polite, easily-stifled giggles either, we’re talking full-fledged, bowl-full-of-jelly type guffawing.

And then because his laughter wasn’t humiliating enough, two of the other penised-members of class also started to laugh.

It was so inappropriate and uncomfortable that I was left speechless. Which never happens to me. NEVER! These buffoons robbed me of my words. Worse than that, they robbed me of my memory.

I cannot remember hardly anything from my workshop, and I remember everything!

However, the two things I do remember are great and brilliant things.

First of all, Jude, the poetess, (that’s what I’m calling our teacher who everyone in class is completely in love with) talked about how she liked how the narrator of my poem was so bitchy but then has remorse at the end.

“It’s like Plato said,” The Poetess said. “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”

I think at that point everyone in the class let out a collective dreamy sigh.

The other thing I remember was something Polly had said. Polly offered me feedback in class and I didn’t understand it, but at Grumpy’s she and I had this wonderful discussion on the differences between poetry and fiction.

“What I was saying,” she said. “Is that some of your words are only there to lead up to the end of your poem.”
“Yeah,” I said, crinkling my eyebrows at her. Because duh, of course my words are all leading to the end.
“But they serve no purpose other than to get you from point a to point b,” she said.
“Uh-huh,” I said.
“But this isn’t fiction,” she said, putting her elbows on the table and leaning towards me. “In poetry every single word, every single line has to have a reason to exist on its own.”
“Really?” I said, and just like in the cliche we both had to blink from the brightness of the light bulb that had just gone on over my head.
“YES!” She threw herself back into her chair. “That’s what poetry is! That razor-sharp exactness. It’s beautiful. Just so exact and perfect.”
“Fuck,” I said. “No wonder poetry’s so hard.”

Then we went on to discuss the relative difficultness of each of our preferred forms of writing.

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  1. UH 21.Jun.07 at 2:35 pm

    I disagree with Polly.

    In lieu of an argument, I give you a WCW poem:

    I have eaten
    the plums
    that were in
    the icebox

    and which
    you were probably
    for breakfast

    Forgive me
    they were delicious
    so sweet
    and so cold

  2. Jodi 21.Jun.07 at 2:49 pm

    Yeah, I am so not poetry-intelligent enough to even argue the point. But I bet your sweet bippy that Polly could.

  3. FFJ 21.Jun.07 at 5:45 pm

    ummm…where is the part about you punching the laughing assholes in the throat?

  4. Placemat 22.Jun.07 at 3:50 pm

    Every damn word, eh?

    Guess I prefer blunt instruments.

  5. ramblinrose 22.Mar.09 at 5:53 pm

    A Silly Poem

    Said Hamlet to Ophelia,
    I’ll draw a sketch of thee,
    What kind of pencil shall I use?
    2B or not 2B?

    Spike Milligan

    take the word “said” out of this “silly poem.” It is not an absolutely important/necessarily integral part of this poem…take it out…Polly has taken the fun out of poetry. Nice Plato quote.


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