National Writing Project

Writing Poems
"Like Yellowstone National Park"

By: Barry Spacks
Publication: The Quarterly, Vol. 6, No. 1
Date: November 1983

Summary: Spacks provides a method to help young poets "shake out of the habit of a sing sing-song, usually rhyming formalism." The great tool for the poet, he says, should not be the metronome.



My main concern with young writers as they attempt to make poetry is to shake them out of the habit of sing-song, usually rhyming formalism. Too often imagination fails to appear for students inviting the Muse because they've been encouraged to confuse the light game of versifying, for all the fun it provides, with the energizing plunge of fresh invention. Many are taught, in effect, that the great tool of the poet is the metronome.

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