A TEST FOR POETS

 

1. What is your first thought when you wake up in the morning?

2. Would you rather be a pop star than a poet?

3. What is the best time of day to write a poem?

4. What role does the ego have to play in the art of poetry?

5. Does poetry matter?

6. Is there such a thing as a Poetry Establishment?

7. Can the craft of poetry be learned?

8. Does poetry need a subject?

9. Do you remember the first poem you ever wrote?

10. Is it better for the poet to be

          (a) unrecognized

          (b) underrated

          (c) unknown

          (d) undressed                 

11. Is it reasonable that many of our "best" poets are actually no good?

12. Is the internet a kind of poetry?

13. Which of the following best approximates to the distance between the poems you wanted to write and the poems you have written?

          (a) a couple of inches

          (b) a mile

          (c) from here to eternity

          (d) more than words can say

14. Is your poetry too personal?

15. Is poetry sociable?

16. Have you ever dreamed a marvellous poem only to find it was gone upon waking?

17. In which of the following periods was it a joy to be a poet?

          (a) the Elizabethan Age

          (b) the 1950s

          (c) the Thatcher years

          (d) last weekend

18. Is it possible to be original?

19. When you write a poem do you discover a larger better version of yourself?

20. Is self-doubt important for the poet?

21. Are you sure?

22. Is there any subject unfit for poetry?

23. Look at the following drawing. Do you see

          (a) a horse

          (b) the Taj Mahal

          (c) Manet's
Olympia

          (d) the poet laureate       
[choose one]

24. In which city is it best to be a poet?

25. Are your poems in colour or black and white?

26. How do you usually feel when you hear other poets read their work?

          (a) uninterested

          (b) depressed

          (c) suicidal

          (d) elsewhere                           
{tick as appropriate}

27. Did you ever count syllables whilst writing a poem and, if so, do you now realize it was a mistake?

28. Is it possible to be both a poet
and a nice person?

29. How many times have you given up on poetry?

30. How many times has poetry given up on you?

31. Which weather is best suited to the writing of poetry?

          (a) summer calm

          (b) autumn mists

          (c) typhoon

          (d) sunshine and showers

32. For whom do you write?

33. Is poetry the same as real life?

34. Is poetry these days a young man's game? Or a young woman's?

35. Do you have any idea what the poets in Ghana are doing these days?

36. Do you think anyone really understands what you write?

37. Is the maintaining of a healthy diet and a clean and ethically sound lifestyle important if the upcoming 21st century poet is to be "taken up" by the Poetry Establishment?

38. Should a poet dress

          (a) fashionably

          (b) eccentrically

          (c) what might best be described as "neutrally"

39. How may a poet tell when they have "peaked"?

40. At what age should one retire from poetry and bow out gracefully?

41. What is the difference between a poet and an undertaker?

42. Is the culling of poets the way forward?

43. Has the idea of "influence" had any influence on your writing, and do you think you have influenced other writers?

44. A propos Question 43, has the evil of plagiarism ever disturbed your tranquility?

45. How many friends do you have?

46. Has poetry had its day and, if so, what day was it?

47. Do you think your poems will continue to live when
you don't?

48. What is your last thought before you fall asleep at night?

49. Do you sleep well?

50. What's for dinner?

 
                  Martin Stannard, 2015