How to Become a Poet This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

March 2, 2010
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Begin at the age of thirteen.
Write mellow dramatic and dreary
Read Poe.
Quote him.
Idolize him.
Show your friends your poetry. They'll ask how you got to be so deep.
Show your parents your poetry. They'll ask if you're okay.
Start handling your emotions in an “adult manner.”
Stop writing.

Stumble into a poetry class in college.
Pull out your old poems,
toss them away.
Begin writing new ideas.
Carefully count the syllables in your sonnets.
Submit to contests, magazines, journals.
Drive a nail into a wall in your bedroom.
Slap the numerous rejection slips on it.
Look out your window.
It will be a dreary, rainy day.
Pout, moan, sigh.
Smirk at the irony.
Pathetic fallacy.
Develop depression.

Decide to change everything you are.
Attempt another adaptation of alliteration.
Write similes like an e.e. cummings' prodigy.
Metaphors are your crutches.
Personification breathes life into your words.
Let zeugma open your journal and your mind.
Recognize that this is all cliché and as common as dirt.
Take up drinking.

Toss down a few more shots at 30 and begin again.
Write vague verse.
Show it to a friend.
He'll say poetry's bullsh**.
Get offended.
Call him an uneducated fool.
Toss out phrases like freedom, expression, and art.
Bolt out of the room in a rage
then stare up at your white ceiling at night
wondering about life.
Take pills for insomnia.

Finally, get published in your forties.
See your name in prestigious literary collections.
Craft yourself an ego.
Parade yourself at seminars and events.
Submit sh***y work and watch the critics fawn.
Dramatically read your work at festivals.
Someone will approach you, confused about its meaning.
Sneer and throw around words like metonymy, chiasmus, and anadiplosis.
Think of your friend.
It's bullsh**.
Have an affair.
Get a divorce.

Go to rehab.
Write poetry for your own cathartic purpose.
Let every drop of ink symbolize a tear running down your cracked, wrinkled face.
Begin to play with guns and ropes and pain pills.
Keep your new poems on loose-leaf paper, sporadically tossed around the room.
Weep and shake as you look at it.
O Captain! my Captain!
Write a biography, a memoir, a suicide note.
Whose woods these are I think I know
Notice the jagged rocks below your third story window.
Blow, blow, thou winter wind
Before you jump, write a sh***y poem about what you've learned.

Title it: How to Become



This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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This article has 11 comments. Post your own now!

MakaylaS. said...
Aug. 2, 2012 at 7:47 pm
Literally an amazing poem, funny, because it's spot on my life so far. I have depression and insomnia, I write poetry, I'm a teenager, requirements met. kidding, kind of. but really, freaking amazing job.
Mike6546 said...
Oct. 10, 2011 at 7:40 pm
I just felt sad, happy, angry, and laughed all at the same poem.  good job!
KelbyMcCoy said...
Feb. 7, 2011 at 2:01 pm
This is a GOOD poem! Keep up the good work
ScottC374 said...
Feb. 1, 2011 at 8:14 am
This was a very interesting poem about a poet's life. I really liked how the end of the poem brought me back to the beginning.
Mgymnast This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jan. 23, 2011 at 7:04 pm
I enjoyed reading this!!! :) if you get the chance could you check out my work such as A Mirror Image & The Sinners confession (comment and rate them???) it would be greatly appreciated! THANKS!!! :):)
DrewSki said...
Jan. 4, 2011 at 4:35 pm
dang that was a sick poem first part about the Poe thing s just like me.. u should check out some of my stuff... keep on writing!!!
DrewSki replied...
Jan. 4, 2011 at 4:37 pm
that first part is just like me!! i just cant get over how accurate it is same age and everything!!!
BrOkEn_LoVe said...
Jan. 4, 2011 at 12:48 pm
love the ending :)
happily.ever.after said...
Dec. 31, 2010 at 10:28 pm
Haha, this is great (:
Sadie0saurus_rex_is_a_Nerd0saurus™ said...
Mar. 16, 2010 at 3:09 am
oh my god.
i love this, it was super cool.
I litterally started laughing out loud when i was reading this, more than once. Quite a few times actualy.
great work!
m.a.dubbs This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Apr. 27, 2010 at 11:07 am
Thank you so much! I'm glad you enjoyed it!
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