Why write a poem? Write it because I haven’t felt what you’ve felt, but I should. Find a feeling that I’ve never felt before and make me feel it. But don’t just describe it to me. Set the scene, lay the path, and let me walk through your words on my own. If you did it just right, I’ll run right into it, and not only will I feel that feeling you wanted me to feel, I’ll think I came across it without your help. I’ll think it’s a feeling all my own. I’ll think I’m the only one who’s felt it—who can really understand it.
    You don’t have to try to rhyme if you don’t want to, and you don’t have to form some specific rhythm in your lines either (though it’s all the more fun if you do). Just make sure there’s something a little bit magical about the way your poem sounds. Make sure there’s at least something I’m going to want to picture in my head. But don’t just stuff your poem full of strings of pretty alliteration and original concrete imagery. Pick out the right ones; the ones that will make me think, the ones that will lead me in the direction you want me to go. Pick out the ones that will paint the picture you’ve already got in your mind.
    Your poem should find the delicate balance between explaining itself to me and confusing me. Sure, it’s nice to read a poem and say, “Aha! I totally get that,” but it’s really more fun when I don’t totally get that. A poem with a little mystery is best. Mystify me. Make me think a little longer about it. Make me wonder if I really understand. Work it into my dreams that night. Make it pop back into my head four days later while I’m in the middle of pouring some milk on my cereal.
    Once you’ve gotten that magical, mystical, mysterious feeling across, be satisfied. Try something new next time. No need to write seventeen more poems about it that blend together into the same strain of thought. I get it already. Don’t fill a book with poems that can be unified under one little title on the cover. Each poem you write should be unique. No, not just unique, but something totally different from anything else. Write in as many different styles as you can about as many different things as you can. Don’t get in a groove; don’t get popular for writing about one particular topic. Each poem is a work of art, and a work of art should be driven by creativity and the desire to create something that hasn’t ever existed—not yet.

Our Last Ride
Making a Bowl
Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Wind Chime
Green Eyes