Writing that is discovering is reaching is tightrope walking.
Insight is not polish: don’t scrub the aleatory, the unresolved, the catch of meter and rhyme out of your work, yet rewrite and rewrite and rewrite.
Don’t write what you’re sure of, what you want set in stone, write what you are willing to have transform.
Don’t write to please, but do please yourself.
Understand that terror is pleasure.
Between what you most want to say and what you are most afraid to say is your emotional field, but,
not the emotion, the image that triggers the emotion.
Laughter isn’t a crime.
Write not what you know, or how the other kids do, but write who and how you know who you are and will.
You might love a sonnet, so love the sonnet. It doesn’t mean you have to write one.
If you are out of fashion, be consciously so.
The self, or a self, is always à la mode: gestures come and go.
Poetics is not prêt-à-porter. Create your own aesthetic.
If the poem is feeling, let it feel all the way.
Emotions are also not a crime.
Nature is not natural and if it is it is not nature.
Take the library to the street; bring the street to the archive.
Not the prayer, the moment before prayer.
If, on a snowy night, you find yourself feeling like you are inside a Robert Frost poem
and are moved to write, know that you are feeling moved to write
the poem Robert Frost already wrote.
If, on a crowded street you find your thoughts walking ahead of you, at a steady pace,
as if they have never been known by you,
you are probably writing your own poem.
If you are so in the shadow of a poet you love that you can’t see your own hand you should probably pull your head out of their ass and take some air.
Sometimes an idea is just an idea.
Sometimes a poem is just a Tweet.
Sina Queyras grew up on the road in western Canada and she has since lived in Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal, New York, Philadelphia, and Calgary where she was Markin Flanagan Writer in Residence. She is the author most recently of the poetry collection MxT (2014) and Unleashed (2010), a selection of posts from...