Creative writing lessons from Richard Hugo


I often say this in the classroom with young poets.

You will never become a poet, until you realize that everything that i say and do today in the academic quarter – wrong. Perhaps it is right for me, but for you – not true. Every second i, unwittingly, and without even trying, tell you’ll have to write like me. Still, i hope that you will learn how to write like you. In a way, I hope i didn’t teach you how to write and how to teach themselves letter. Not for a moment don’t unplug your bullshit detectors. If i’ll tell you something useful – it’s good. If i say something senseless – throw out of your head. Do not breed disputes. Disputes fruitless and lead us away from the goal. As Yates pointed out all the important reasons – in yourself. Do not agree with me – do not listen. Think of something else.


Starting to write, you may, unknowingly, brings to page one of its two positions. First, all music must obey the truth. Second: Any truth must obey the music. If you believe at first – you will greatly complicate the task itself, and not just comes down to writing poems such that the strength to make only the most resourceful and clever, like Auden, but also undermines the legitimacy of the programs of study of belles-lettres. You can generally choose this approach if you wish, but you will thus jeopardize my survival, as well as their chances to write a good poem.


If you close the second position, i keep my teaching position. Let us assume that this is correct, because i need the money. Also, if you think that the truth is obliged to obey the music, those of us whom life is confusing, who does not know the meaning of things, but he likes the words sound so much that he was ready to wade through a lot of drafts of the poem, can write and more – go stop us.


A sign of a beginner – the desire to lord it over the language, to make him serve that the poet conceived as truth, or, in some cases – that the poet conceived as a form. Even Auden, sometimes clever to the point that made music to obey the truth, loved to quote a woman from the book Forster, said about this: “How do i know what i think until i see what i said.”


We can say that every poem has two items: a generator, or trigger, he begins a poem, or has his “cause”, as well as real or created, the object – about it in the end tells us a poem, or it becomes sense to write it created or opened as writing poems. This is not quite true, since suggests that the poet sees the real thing. The poet may not realize what is his true subject, and only have a certain instinctive feeling that the poem is ready.


Therefore begins can be difficult to get rid of generating object. The poet writes the name of “autumn rain”. Grope for two or three rows of glorious autumn rain. And then everything unstuck. He can not find what used to say about the autumn rain, and then the poet begins to invent, to push, to go into abstraction, we interpret the meaning of what was said. Error poet, of course, is that he feels an obligation to continue to talk about the autumn rain, because, as he fancies, this is the thing. So, this is not a subject. You do not know what your subject, and when exhausted all that could be said about the autumn rain, start talking about something else. Generally it is best to start talking about something else before you run out all you have to say about the autumn rain.


Do not be afraid of running too far ahead. There are those who are able to enhance interesting statements, lingering long on one subject. But, in my experience, most people are like me. The more they talk about the subject, the more boring made. Take the following sentence in each new item that is different from an already recorded. Rely on the rhythm, the tone and language of music – let them pull together all the pieces together. Write a meaningless sequence of statements is not possible. In a sense, all subsequent has its place. In the world of imagination, a place around the world. Take it on faith – and, perhaps, will seem reckless, but reckless, like trout.


Never worry for the reader and for the fact that he’s currently understand. When writing, you look – you have no leverage for the reader. There is only you and the page in front of you. Alone? Nice. If, say, you are able to write coherent sentences, toss worry about the message. Want to report anything – use the phone.


To write a poem, you need a certain arrogance – but not at home, i hope. In a life so try to behave well. This will save you from troubles and leave more time to write. Under the arrogance i know is this: when you write, you should assume that everything has its place sets out – not for reasons of logic, common sense, or the narrative development, but because you wrote it.


Creative writing


“The Triggering Town: Lectures and Essays on Poetry and Writing “Richard Hugo