How to Avoid Fleeting Poetry Trends

Develop and keep your own style. Trust your instincts about what sounds best with your education, theories, influences and place in the poetry hierarchy.

Adopt what you truly like, but recognize that it may not be the last word forever.

Understand the process. Be aware of why, as well as when, a poetry trend is cooling. Poetry trends and fads can happen because a style is cool (spontaneous bop prosody) or fun (flarf) or even shocking (the gurlesque).

Adapt the style you want to adopt. For example, is everyone writing short short poems but you just can’t? Add an extra stanza to your poems so you can write them short but not as short as everyone else.

Mix trendy words with classic ones.

Break some rules; bend others. If the poetry fashion is proceduralism, try writing eight poems of eight lines each instead of retyping the whole goddamn newspaper. If slow poetry is in, use long vowels and dying metaphors before you actually opt to O.D. on barbituates.

Develop confidence: Take a class, read poetry magazines, get a poetics lesson, get your MFA done.

Learn about poetry, style, tips and tricks, then go out and make your own poetry news.

Tips & Warnings

  • Take a long look at yourself before you go on a poetry safari. Will those politics go with your voluptuous sensibilities and your weakness for beatnik paraphernalia?
  • Realize that a stylish writer with purple prose can carry it off if he’s confident.
  • Impulse poems are for gratification in haste and repentance at length.