A Poem on Commission

would be awesome — however, such things usually only occur when one is rich and acclaimed (and richly so) and probably don’t include any money anyway (Does the President pay for the inauguration poem?) OR they are requests from relatives and friends or gifts to the same. The latter, as you might expect, definitely don’t include any money. (Full Disclosure: My girlfriend did indeed pay me $1 for a poem a few weeks ago — not for the completed poem, but as a commission to complete a poem, so I guess I’m no longer truly qualified to write this post. In that case, imagine someone else is writing it.)

There is another kind of commission (probably, of error) in my mind, however, and that’s writing to a particular topic or theme set by a magazine or anthology. I’m guilty of running one of those myself at the moment (Let’s have everyone who is taking part in the High School in Another World anthology please stand up! Good, good. Now applaud yourselves.) and I’ve been guilty of attempting to enter such in the past (Note 1: Civilization After Zombie Apocalypse – story rejected. Note 2: Horror Story to Take Place in a Creepy Town, Name Provided – story never completed.) and now I am guilty of entering another such like thing.

Find yourself come, finally, to The List Anthology! The seduction is this: take the following six words and put them into a poem:


That’s it. And, well, the poem has to make sense. And the words have to fit organically. And it has to be a good poem.

If all these things and more are true, then you too might be chosen to be included in the anthology (author of this post has not yet had his poem chosen to be included in said anthology). It’s a poetic exercise, of course, one of a kind that’s often done in classes. I did many in the classes of William Logan and Debora Greger, and a number of those poems turned out to actually be some good after all, regardless of their scurrilous origins. Granted, whether said origins are scurrilous depends purely on your POV re: poems being crafted objects vs. children of inspiration. I fall squarely in the camp of “poems are crafted objects of inspiration and/or objects of inspired craft” and, I must say, that I’m pretty happy with my poem that resulted from the six words above.

Caveat: I’m eager to see what the end anthology looks like. It seems to me that a number of poems might overlap, and I think this purely because of the inclusion of “Anteros” (which, for those of you not in the know, as I wasn’t just a few short weeks ago, is the Greek god of Unrequited Love, brother to Eros). Having such a word included is like requiring mention of Einstein — it’s bound to skew the sample towards Anteros-laden work.

Or maybe I’m wrong.

Either way, I’m open to commissions.

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