Lectures on poetry & writing by Richard Hugo (cont.)
- Don’t write with a pen. Ink tends to give the impression the words shouldn’t be changed.
- Write with what gives you the most sensual satisfaction.
- Write in a hard-covered notebook with green lined pages. Green is easy on the eyes. Blank white pages seems to challenge you to create the world before you start writing. It may be true that you, the modern poet, must make the world as you go, but why be reminded of it before you even have one word on the page?
- Don’t erase. Cross out rapidly and violently, never with slow consideration if you can help it.
- Start, as some smarty once said, in the middle of things.
- Play with syntax.
- Never want to say anything so strongly that you have to give up the option of finding something better – if you have to say it, you will.
- Read your poem aloud many times. If you don’t enjoy it every time, something may be wrong.
- If you ask a question, don’t answer it, or answer a question not asked, or defer. (If you can answer the question, to ask it is to waste time).
- Maximum sentence length: seventeen words.
- Minimum: One.
- Don’t be afraid to take emotional possession of words. If you don’t love a few words enough to own them, you will have to be very clever to write a good poem.