The last time I wrote a poem was for a class in college. It was about a shark who ate people and it didn’t end well for my mental health. I still wake up at night worrying about the Malawi Terror Beast.
What I’m trying to say is, I don’t know anything about poetry. I can’t remember the rules for writing a sestina, I’m not sure what differentiates an ode from a ballad and I wouldn’t know iambic pentameter if it systematically chewed my face off, Malawi Terror Beast-style. I can identify a haiku and a limerick, but I don’t know what T.S. Eliot’s deal was and I can never tell if e.e. is cummings or goings.
Two years ago I took a class that spent half a semester on poetry. I hate poetry. Not for the usual reasons. Every time I have to write a poem, I wind up spending hours on Google researching things so I can write intelligently. (Do other people fact-check their poetry?) Invariably, I find something I’d rather never have known. (See: DeDe, the Indonesian Tree Man.)
The poem that ruined my life was one I was writing about sharks. I wasn’t sure if I could call a shark a “man-eater” because I’ve only ever heard that term applied to lions and literally everything in Australia. I Google one little thing, and all of the sudden I’m unable to stop researching things that can eat you. Long story short, I now travel everywhere with a key specifically for stabbing things, a flashlight specifically for blinding things, and a baseball bat specifically for clubbing things. (You think I’m joking.)