A good poetry practice – write in the style of other greats

Early on in my poetry workshops, we practiced writing poems in the style of other poets we liked. I especially liked Frank O’Hara’s homage to Billie Holiday and tried my hand at writing in this style a couple of times. This poem came to mind when Whitney Houston died two weeks ago. Here is Frank O’Hara’s poem for Billie Holiday The Day Lady Died It is 12:20 in New York a Friday three days after Bastille day, yes it is 1959 and I go get a shoeshine because I will get off the 4:19 in Easthampton at 7:15 and then go straight to dinner and I don't know the people who will feed me I walk up the muggy street beginning to sun and have a hamburger and a malted and buy an ugly NEW WORLD WRITING to see what the poets in Ghana are doing these days I go on to the bank and Miss Stillwagon (first name Linda I once heard) doesn't even look up my balance for once in her life and in the GOLDEN GRIFFIN I get a little Verlaine for Patsy with drawings by Bonnard although I d … [Read more...]