poetry & the gertrude stein test.

In college, as part of my English degree, I took a class on writing and reading poetry. I approached the course the way a lot of young people approach poetry: with a mix of skepticism, uncertainty, and reluctance. I knew enough of poetry, I suppose, to know that it didn’t need to have a rhyme scheme, but I favored rhyming poems nonetheless.

The first poem I wrote for the course compared writing to running, both of them liberating and capable of breaking through internal barriers, both of them about untying knots. The first line was ‘Writing is a lot like running.’ The class’s response was clear: I had good ideas, but it didn’t move them.

Read the rest of this entry »