Friday, May 27, 2011

Wadsworth Longfellow I Am Not

Brownie points if you can name his most famous poem
without googling him (I could not)

So, I entered the poetry contest on Rachelle Gardener's blog last weekend, and while I didn't win, I had so much fun writing it that I thought I would re-post my poem here to share with you all (with a few small edits, 'cause, you know, we never stop editing). It's a little long, but I hope you enjoy!


After planning, plotting, drafting,
After writing three years long,
Just imagine my elation
when an agent signed me on.

Her name was Mary Ellen,
and she knew I’d be a star.
You’re a genius! she first told me,
When I met her in a bar.

I had penned a racy thriller,
based on ancient Roman lit,
Where the killer was a werewolf--
We were sure we had a hit.

Mary took it to the big leagues,
Harper, Random, every spot.
When the indies wouldn’t buy it,
Then she asked, what else you got?

So I took those tear-soaked pages
And I hurled them in the fire,
Then I went back to my laptop
And I started to perspire.

That book had been my oeuvre,
I had nothing else to say.
How I gnashed my teeth in anguish!
How I rued the wretched day!

Then genius struck: I had it.
I could base it on my life!
I could mine my wealth of stories--
The ideas, at once, were rife.

Mary Ellen met me downtown
And she bought me rounds of drinks.
Then she said, I love you madly,
But this story kind of stinks.

I’m a certain sort of wizard
I can sell ‘most any book.
But no publisher will buy this--
It’s all fluff, and zero hook.

I know this is disheartening
But that’s no excuse to cry.
Dystopians are selling,
Why not give that type a try?

And while we’re on the topic
(Now please don’t take this as stricture)
Let’s talk about your website,
In particular, your picture.

The shot is unbecoming,
But your problem’s worse than that,
For your fans might find it strange
To see you posed with twenty cats.

Then I went back to my workspace
Feeling like a bitter fool.
And I signed up for some classes
At a local writing school.

The idea for my next book
Took me ages to discover.
I was thrilled when it was finished,
and designed a flashy cover.

A desperate tale of bravery
By a Congo-dwelling doctor.
A complex plot, a hot romance,
And prose worthy of Faulkner.

Mary Ellen cried, I love it!
This is clearly your new best!
There are just a couple changes
That I humbly would suggest.

The story starts in chapter five,
So cut out one through four.
And while you’re at it, you should tweak
The dialogue some more.

The plot twist comes too early,
So delay the revelation,
And change the doctor’s background
To define his motivation.

The ending is fantastic!
But the middle just drags on,
And could you change the setting
To Karachi, or Saigon?

Now I’m working on draft seven
Of book number twenty-two,
And my dreams of overnight success
Have soared into the blue.

I’m still working as a waitress,
But don’t dare call me a hack.
I know I’ll make it someday:
Mary Ellen’s got my back.


  1. Awesome poem! I loved it. The sad thing is it is most of the time true too.

  2. Ha ha! Love this. :) Thanks for sharing.

  3. I read this at rachelle's blog, love it made me smile :)