Poets: How to Find Your Voice


If you don’t want to sound
Like some madman ranting in the desert
For gods sake shut yourself up, put in the work
until you stop sounding like an outsider and a non-expert.

Reading your own stuff
is like hearing your voice
inside your head when you speak-
your skull distorts what you say quite enough.

Listen to other poets.
Read what they say and how they say it;
get in the habit of doing this
and you’ll find you’ll pick up the tricks, and folksy idioms
and for each unwritten rule you’ll see it
effortlessly regurgitated, as you obey it and replay it

Read the pastmasters.
And if you think you’re up to it give their style a bash
but at the risk of damaging you irreparably
try Eliot , Auden, Larkin , frankly anyone but that old fraud Ogden Nash

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