Thirteen Ways To Say This Poem Sucks

(based on the shape of “Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird” by Wallace Stevens)


Mountain of formula buzz words
Spinning its wheels with
Nothing in mind going nowhere.


It has three big flaws:
A bit worn,
Boring and misses the mark.


The language is flat, evoking no feeling.
Trying a bit too hard to be edgy.


Cliché and triteness
It’s bad.
Cliché and triteness and redundancy
It’s bad.


I do not know which is worse,
Poor breaks and awkward phrasing
Or the tongue twisting word choices,
The oral dissonance
Or lack of tune.


Cliches fill this over long attempt
With cluttered images.
The too abrupt transitions
Jarring, too often;
Falls flat on its face.
Parody of a metaphysical attempt.


Hidden overly poetic
Stuff is not working, why bother?
Trying too hard to show something,
It becomes silly,
Loses focus for the reader.


Too much telling of details
In forced, unnatural rhythms,
Any smart reader can guess at.
Not enough showing how this
Felt and happened.


Mistaken thinking the subject itself
Ennobles the effort;
Attempted by earnest thousands.


Here you are telling the reader
How to feel about this,
Rather than showing them
And letting them decide.


This is over the top.
Your metaphors
And symbolism
Are so out of sync
With your intended message
It’s hard to understand.


Typical teenage drivel.
Unable to get any coherency from it.


The images are imaginative
The language rich
And the rhythms flow.
It hangs together,
Really sucked me in.

(I wrote this 2004 when I was obsessing on poetry and workshopping my attempts online in a well moderated and very serious forum. Practically all the lines in this were from actual critiques on submitted poems ( a number of different poems, not just mine).  I tried to pick representative lines from the typical categories of errors committed when writing poetry)