Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Poetry Writing And Fishing Tips

Get up early.

Why? Because Steven Wright said, “There’s a fine line between fishing and just standing there on the shore looking like an idiot” and if, you get up early, fewer people will see you.

Become a fish-identification expert: full-grown haiku are small and most villanelles are inedible. Throw back the little ones.

The mola mola is also called the “ocean sunfish.” Do likewise, poets, and choose new words.

Floundering? You might need to attach more lead weight to your line.

No bites? Research what the bass masters are using for bait.

If Billy Collins is keeping the heads on the shrimp, keep the heads on the shrimp.

If, like Emily Dickinson, you work hard at hand-tying flies, one day you’ll have your own style of flies.

The more your bait reeks of decaying crab, the better to attract the company of striped bass and surrealists.

Don’t bring a banana on the boat.

Sometimes you do it for the fish, sometimes for the quiet, sometimes to make a hole in the ice to sit and wait, drinking.

It’s pulling on the line like a Shakespearian sonnet?!?! Reel it in slowly and methodically, ababcdcdefefgg.

Shit! The line’s enjambed. Put your hip waders on and go in after it, lunge at poetry, like the brown bear after a salmon.

So you spent the whole day fishing and got nothing, remember, as Rilke said in Letters to a Young Poet, “that’s why they call it ‘fishing’ not ‘catching.’ The important thing is to keep your ass in bass chair.”


  1. I'm tickled by your wit every time I read this.

  2. Lovely stuff as always. One further similarity: some people look at you strangely when they discover your passion for either, and then they sidle away as quickly as possible.

  3. Loved this! So clever, even us non-fishing or writing folks can connect with it. So thankful you shared it.