Great article here by Katy Evans-Bush containing ‘advice for a young poet’. I hope Claire at One Night Stanzas has picked up on this one!
The paragraph quoted from Kei Miller (from the excellent Iota magazine) is terrific, I think, although perhaps a “simply” would get over what I’m sure he means in this part: “poetry is never [simply] about what we say, it is about how we say it…” It's not only beginners who need to learn this, of course. I've read published collections and pamphlets where those basic points seem to have been overlooked. It’s also good to see someone (i.e. Katy) rip apart, with real style, the weird ‘Seven Steps to Becoming a Poet’ article from The Times.
Anyway, I want the Kei Miller quote here too, so:
“Now I’m not sure I can pin down three things young poets should understand – and certainly I can’t say it in any better way than such things have been said again and again: that we must read far more than we write; that poetry is never about what we say, it is about how we say it; that poetry is about making people feel things they’ve never thought before, because before our poems they never had the language to feel these feelings. And that is a huge kind of responsibility, to give people new access to their own selves. But these are big things to say, and some poets might understand the rhetoric but still never be able to do it. Perhaps such people aren’t really poets. That is a horribly damning thing to say, I know. Damning because it is so true.
“But it is a scary thing when you realise that you really can do poetry, when you realise what you are capable of doing to people through language. /So perhaps the thing I’d want to say to young poets who realise they can do it, that they can affect people, is simply one thing – don’t be afraid of yourself.”