Why I Am Not a Poet – National Poetry Day 2016

In celebration of National Poetry Day this year I thought I’d be brave and pen a little poem of my own – all about poetry, naturally!

It started as an ode to one of my very favourite modern poets, Frank O’Hara, whose work I have loved since I studied him at university. From there it evolved into a jokey, self-deprecating piece about poetry in general, and my natural incompetence for this particular genre.

As a nod to Frank, as well as mentioning him by name, I have entitled this poem ‘Why I Am Not a Poet’ in homage to his piece ‘Why I Am Not a Painter’.

I also recommend reading this aloud, if you’re that way inclined, as I tried to write it with a lovely bouncy rhythm.

It’s my first time putting my creative work out on the big wide web, so I hope you enjoy!


It’s time that I confessed to you that I am not a poet.
This genre is really not my forte, as you may have guessed.
After many drafts and tries, I think, perhaps it’s time I left it
To the cannons, and the legends, and the ones who do it best.

I cannot write about my life with the vim of dear old Frank,
Who is forever captured in the streets of NYC
With his bright hum-coloured taxis and coke bottles, half drank,
And stuck somewhere halfway between both art and reality.

The scenery on my commute is rather second-rate
In comparison to Wordsworth’s old Westminster bridge view.
Despite some stunning sunsets, there’s little to celebrate,
And my poor attempts to mimic his sweet imagery fall through.

I have not the creativity for nonsense, just like Spike
whose words, from each and every page jump, crackle, leap and fizz.
His poems are exciting, not just simply childlike,
And so, I fear I’ll never be a literary whizz.

My meter, rhyme and rhythm all leave much to be desired,
The masters of this ancient art are famous for a reason.
You must admit, my persistence should really be admired,
Though my lyrics are so poor they’re almost verging on high treason.

And so, today, in a little celebration of the greats,
Listen here, I swear it’s true, I’m happy to admit
I am NOT a poet – no Costa prize for me awaits
And it doesn’t really bother me – not one tiny, little bit.



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