1.   There is no universally accepted definition of what a poem is.   

2.   There is no agreement on what a poem is not.   

3.   Prosody is the study of versification.   

4.   ‘Versody’ is not a word.

5.   Versification is the art of making verses.

6.   A stanza is a verse paragraph. Sometimes it is called a ‘verse’. 

7.   A verse is made of verse, and most verse comprises verses.

8.   The canon is not a weapon, and does not have balls, although it sometimes feels as though it is, and does.

9.   Alfred Austin succeeded Alfred Lord Tennyson as poet laureate in 1896. He wrote a verse autobiography, The Door of Humility,
      which nobody alive has read.

10.  The ink used in 99.99% of poetry publications is black.

11.  A list poem is usually formatted vertically and left-justified i.e. it does not list.

12.  If a list poem is entered into the National Poetry Competition, it could be said to have entered the lists.

13.  Writer’s block is even in Wikipedia. But this is not a problem. A computer can write poems for you. Here is my latest.

14.  More poets are alive than dead. They thrive.

15.  More poems are dead than alive.

Lino print by Gillian Rose


  1. How, John. I am so impressed! Have you REALLY read it, and all the way through? Maybe I should change the bold assertion to ‘that only one living person has read all the way through? Is Austin one of your relatives?

  2. More poets are alive than dead …. Eh, interesting idea. Might the last 100 years have produced more poets than all of history previously. Or perhaps there a lot of living poets who are more than 100 years old …. ?

  3. Pity the poor poet if this is so. I find that most poetry is not dead but just needs to be resuscitated and given understanding.

  4. The Door of Humility is a free download from Kobo … is it worth reading? I might be tempted to give it a go! 😉 xx

  5. No 10: an acquaintance of mine, who ran a well-established and well-received mag and an equally well-received press, gave up completely when the SWA rep overseeing his grant told him it was all black lines and couldn’t he break it up a bit with colour…

  6. Thinking about it, it was not just well-received but probably the most important poetry mag of its era.

  7. Nell, I did download the free copy, and how spooky is this? The first poem must have been written especially for me!

    We lead the blind by voice and hand. And not by light they cannot see;
    We are not framed to understand The How and Why of such as He;
    But natured only to rejoice
    At every sound or sign of hope.
    And, guided by the still small voice. In patience through the darkness grope;
    Until our finer sense expands.
    And we exchange for holier sight
    The earthly help of voice and hands.

    I love it! 🙂 xx

  8. And I love that you love it, Giles! Context and placement is everything. You just made that poem come alive!

  9. A pedant writes:
    There is no universally accepted definition of what a poet is. Did Hopkins become a poet only when his poems were published? Or was my mother a poet, whose poems certainly never will be published? If we define a poet as someone who writes poems, and there is no universally accepted definition of what a poem is, then #14 seems hard to justify, as the dead (poets and non-poets) outnumber the living by about 15 to one.

    Nevertheless, it *feels* right. There are certainly more being published now than ever before. 🙂

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