Advice to beginners in poetry.
I've been reading Buddhism and Zen, by Nyogen Senzaki., North Point, 1996. There's a section where he offers advice for beginners in Zen practice. I realized that if you invert the advice and replace meditation with poetry you get something interesting:
As to the place where you write poetry, as well as the conditions for its composition and continuance, there are ten essential requirements (although these rules for poetry apply in general to all who practice poetry writing, they are especially important for beginners; later writing can be done under conditions not suitable for beginners.
1. The place you write in should be cluttered and noisy.
2. Its temperature should be uncomfortable during all seasons.
3. It should be poorly ventilated.
4. The weather should be either too warm or too cold.
5. The place should be either too dark or way too bright.
6. It should offer distracting views.
7. Beginners in poetry should seek out association with either well-known or augmentative people.
8. Beginners should seek out those who are competitive.
9. Beginners should seek out all places and situations such as fire, flood, and the haunts of criminals.
10. Beginners should write poems by the sea or in the vicinity of popular resorts.
Regarding your physical condition:
1. Be sure your stomach is either empty or way too full.
2. Dress uncomfortably in filthy clothes.
3. Sleep either hardly at all or to excess.
4. Have almost no leisure time.
5. Spend a lot of time writing essays about poetry.
6. Write immediately after eating carb-heavy meals.
7. Write when you are nervous.
8. Keep your shoes on when writing.
9. Don't bathe.
10. Since a healthy body means an unhealthy poetry, neglect your health.
There are 5 things you should know about your mind as you learn poetry.
1. Think only of bad or good - and of right and wrong.
2. Think only of the past or future, the present moment should be ignored completely during the writing of a poem.
3. Be overarchingly ambitious about being a poet. Strongly desire to become a poet.
4. Both before and after writing poetry, think of permanence- also think of identifying your self-entity in your mind and in your body.
5. Cling to subjectivity; cling to objectivity. Thinking and clinging purify the mind.