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How to Get Into a Poem

[A startling observation about the nature of human life]

or [A concrete description of trout]

[Backstory, alluding to an individuating experience]

or [Personal background, like “I have a weird relationship

to rural America”]

[Imagery only loosely related to backstory/background]

[Plants]

[Fruits]

or [Tropical fruits if part of you is tropical]

[Some intellectual discourse on the word “part”]

or [Agonized associative thinking about the nature

of something politically urgent, like colorism]

[A return to the opening vignette so folks stay on track,

like “is it possible that a suburban mixed kid actually

has nothing at all to claim, not the trout, not the breadfruit”]

[A direction, e.g. “towards”]

or [A time e.g. “now” or “after”]

[A prepositional or noun phrase if grammatically necessary]

[A turn, which should also be startling, as in oh

this is what the poem is really about]

or [Imagery that achieves roughly this purpose, like that of

the properties of brackish water,

or the length and nature of brackish days]

from Poetry Northwest WEBMore by Kimberly Quiogue Andrews from the library

Copyright © Kimberly Quiogue Andrews
Used with the permission of the author
on behalf of Poetry Northwest.

Published in Kimberly Quiogue Andrews Poems

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.