Tiffany Midge is an assistant poetry editor for The Rumpus, and a humor columnist for Indian Country Today. Her work is featured in McSweeney's, The Rumpus, Okey-Pankey, The Butter, Waxwing, and Moss. Her poetry collection “The Woman Who Married a Bear” (University of New Mexico Press) won the Kenyon Review Earthworks Indigenous Poetry Prize. She is Hunkpapa Lakota and allergic to horses. Follow her on Twitter @TiffanyMidge
Monster Guide to Make Poem
Writing tip: Monster say narr-a-tive poem too tell-y.
Break up story-poem into image. Fracture.
Monster like smash-y poem. Not tell-y poem.
Monster write coyote poem. All coyote howl.
That what coyote do. But who care? Cliche. Monster
make them curse instead. Ex-ple-tive, ex-ple-tive, ex-ple-tive
all over lunar eclipse. Monster no like well-thumbed
volume of shop-worn cliché.
Writing tip: Monster not like re-dun-dent.
Monster see "con-stant nagg-ing" in poem, Monster cry.
Monster re-create noun into verb. "Tinsles," and "Cottons"
to make image of snow. Monster feel proud. Monster like
nouns re-created as verbs. Monster big on re-creation.
Monster like taste, smells, touch, sound,
thing to see. Except fire. Monster not like fire.
Monster think poet should be specific, personal,
not general or abstract. Cryptic, esoteric story
not help Monster connect, Monster have no purchase
or investment in story only writer know. Bring story
into sharp relief, spe-ci-fi-cit-y monster's friend.
Monster no like surreal image.
Make no sense. Like in Sesame Street song,
'one of these thing not like other,
one of these thing just not belong.'
Writing tip: Monster no like flower poems.
Flower poem about flower too flowery, redundant.
Meta flower poem. But sometimes flower
must be written about. Flower pushy like that.
Monster no have grasp of articles, conjunctions.
Sometime that okay. Monster no like latinate words,
or pol-y-syll-a-bic words, Monster like one syll-able noun
and verb. Monster’s favorite word cat.
Monster like best one syllable nouns with slant
or end rhymes. They make poem be-boppy, monster
like sync-o-pa-tion. Monster like poem to dance.