Poetry by Janine Canan



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.




Competition means

wasting yourself on making others

feel less.


Whereas Excellence

means inspiring others

to become more.


From Janine Canan have come many books of poetry including Ardor: Poems of LifeChanging 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.


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