“If a poem is completely literal, if it’s completely true, then the imagination has failed. Really, a poem cannot be completely true. It’s a translation of life into language. We each write from a certain subjective perspective. We only know bits and pieces, not the whole. Certainly, we should write honestly about a situation, an event, our reactions to it, our thoughts about it, our emotions. But a poem is a presentation. It’s a performance, much like an actor’s performance on stage, or a magician’s. For truth, readers go to a newspaper. They come to poems for the performance. When you write poetry, let your imagination guide you. Look at the imagery as it appears on the page. Believe in the metaphors. Listen to the sounds the words make. Feel the rhythm of the language flowing across the line. All these aspects of poetry are in play at the same time. At their best, they work together, each contributing to the whole, and thus they create a poem. They’re the necessary mechanics of poetry, the craft. But they’re nothing without the imagination. Let your imagination guide you, always. Be ready for surprises.” ~ Jeff Mock, “You Can Write Poetry”, p. 65

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