When my students ask me
“What makes a good poem?”
I find it difficult to find
A desirable explanation
For such a phenomenon.
I tell them
It’s generally a matter of opinion
But if it’s up to me
You’ll have a recipe
Consisting of a number of stanzas
Built around sentences split by
The odd simile will jump out like a flea
Off a cat’s back.
There is usually a degree of rhyme
Internal or couplets
And an irregular rhyming structure
Means you back off from the typical
And into creative territory
Metaphors should cascade off the page
A touch of assonance
And some onomatopoeic reference
And of course
Try to avoid
They’ll just make you
like a pretentious twit.
Try to channel Armitage
Speak about experiences
That have made you a better man.
There’s nothing more annoying than
A poem that ends at a sudden point
Halfway through a