Saturday, September 21, 2013

  Whether we like it or no, poetry and poets have an image.  Say that you're a poet and people will often imagine that you're a head in the clouds dreamer with no practical knowledge or skills, or that you have a drink problem or are on drugs, or that you have sex with anything that has a pulse.  These clichés can put a lot of people off.   Years ago when I did a bit of creative writing at university, my poetry teacher Tim Liardet, a very fine poet, asked the class to think about the clichés associated with poetry and poets and write a poem about them.  So here is my effort.
In Order to be a Poet…..

You don’t have to be high brow, low brow or a cow.

You don’t have to be mad, bad or sad.

You don’t have to have a PHD, a GCSE or be an S.O.B.

You don’t have to be well read, well bred or dead.

Don’t have to be Greek, a geek or a freak.

Don’t need to be hairy, scary or a fairy.

Don’t need to be medicated, alienated or inebriated.

Don’t need to be poor, a whore or insecure.

Don’t need a Rolls-Royce, or to be James Joyce; just need your own voice.

  So don't let what other people think stop you from achieving what you want from poetry.  You don't have to be a cliché, you just have to be yourself.

Janet Parfitt
photograph from i-stock royalty free photography


  1. All the real live poets I know are anything but clichéd - they are : fun, funny, gregarious, observant, creative, good communicators. It is communication that drives me to write poetry. Maybe in the past there have been one or two weird ones ......!

  2. Love this Janet! Thank you so much for this playful way to break down stereotypes and show how fun poetry can be!

  3. i just happened along here following a link from Viv. I don't have my own blog yet, but this is something I wanted to share especially apropos to what you posted on Sept 2nd. This is something I wrote last year for the PAD challenge over at Poetic Asides last Nov:

    How to Forgive Yourself ( a fib)
    front of
    a mirror
    in all your you-ness,
    look yourself in the eye and say,
    "I give you permission to be human. I love you"
    (hope it helps :)

  4. Yay for fibonacci!! So glad to read one this morning. I love being a poet. I love how people raise their eyebrows sometimes when I say I am a poet. AND! I love to have audiences squirm when the poetry I perform is so opposite of what they expected from my mouth!!

  5. This is perfect, Janet. I am one of those people who hates to be put in the proverbial box. Just when someone thinks they found a mold I fit in, I break it. We poets are all unique (and perhaps some of us are quirky) in our own special and IMPORTANT ways. Thanks for the reminder that it's ok to be our own versions of "Poet".