How about being tapped on the shoulder
by a Muse, or dragged by your hair
to pen and paper?
What about old-fashioned Inspiration?
And leaving those other jottings
to the trash bin of the mind?
Teaching writing? Wouldn’t it be better
for everyone to read?
Aren’t there too many poems
people don’t want to read already?
Wouldn’t it be kinder
to serve someone hungry soup?
Inspiration—what’s that anyway?
Where does it come from?
Some god you haven’t met yet?
Instead of technical games and tricks,
why not get out on the road and walk
until you meet Her.
In memory of Robert Duncan
and all the other inspired Poets
Introduction to Writing a Poem
There is bad poetry, mediocre
poetry, and good poetry.
Bad poetry and good poetry
cannot be taught.
To write bad poetry requires a big ego
that only bad parents can give.
Good poetry is given
by the gods.
But mediocre poetry
can be taught.
wasting yourself on making others
means inspiring others
to become more.
From Janine Canan have come many books of poetry including Ardor: Poems of Life, Changing Woman (Small Press Review pick) and Of Your Seed (recipient of an NEA grant); two award-winning anthologies, Messages from Amma and She Rises like the Sun; translations of two early 20th century poets, Francis Jammes and Else Lasker-Schueler; illustrated storybooks, Journeys with Justine and Walk Now in Beauty; and Canan’s collected essays Goddesses Goddesses. Janine lives in California’s Valley of the Moon where she is a practitioner of holistic psychiatry, graduate of New York University School of Medicine and Stanford cum laude, and follower of Indian humanitarian Mata Amritanandamayi. Visit JanineCanan.com for more information.