The next poet in our series is Jillian Weise. Jillian Weise’s most recent work is the satirical series “AWP Tips for Writers” on YouTube. Her books include The Amputee’s Guide to Sex (2007), The Colony (2010) and The Book of Goodbyes, which won the 2013 James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets. She offers this poem:
The Responsibility of the Poet in the Voice of Ray Bradbury as Channeled by the Cyborg Jillian Weise
If you want to be a poet, Jesus God, make a list of ten things you love the most in the
world. And write about them. Plug your leg into the wall and hop to it. Jesus God, you
don’t need legs to write poems. Have you read the poems they publish? They’re awful. Nothing happens. A dog gets shot. I love dogs as much as the next Wendell Berry. But
why did the dog have to die? If you want to be a poet, write a poem every day. I defy you
to write 365 bad poems. All this talk about the responsibility of the poet as if it’s a job.
Does it wear a watch? Does it clock-in and clock-out? Does it time your lunch? Does it
fire you for insubordination? I see you, the Cyborg Jillian Weise, thinking ahead to
whether readers will like this poem, and wondering if — in order for them to like it — you
need to go back and cut out all the leg parts. Jesus God, stop thinking.