iUniverse Author Sander Zulauf Imparts Tips For Becoming a Recognized Poet – Part 1

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Poetry may be a lost art to this generation, but not to iUniverse-published poet Sander Zulauf.  A professor of poetry, creative writing, and literature, Sander lives and breathes this literary art. Walking his talk, Sander wrote a collection of haiku entitled Bashō in America, inspired by the 17th century Japanese haiku master Matsuo Bashō, and published through iUniverse this year. This modern poet composed most of his three-line poems on a Lake George island in the Adirondacks, New York, US.

iUniverse Book Basho in America

iUniverse author Sander Zulauf channels Japan’s ancient haiku master Matsuo Bashō in this poetry compilation aptly titled “Bashō in America.”

The iUniverse Blog pays literary homage to this contemporary haiku master for reliving this ancient poetry form and shares with you his tips on becoming a bona fide poet and surviving the challenges in a largely poetry-ignorant culture.

His iUniverse advice on poetry and recognition

You will become recognized as a poet when you’ve written poems deserving recognition. “Poet” is something poetry lovers will call you. But be careful not to proclaim yourself as a “poet” and open yourself to humiliation or ridicule. Wallace Stevens said “Every man is a poet, or ought to be.” In my heart’s core, I believe that, truly. However, the only way I know to be appreciated as a “poet” is if other people think of you that way.

The problem: in the reading world of the United States, few books of poetry ever make it to the Times best-seller listings. I suppose Longfellow’s “Song of Hiawatha,” which sold 18,000 copies in one year in the 1850s, still ranks highly as one of the best-selling books of poetry in America.

There is an easy answer to this fact: while thousands of Americans avidly write poems, few Americans buy books of poetry.

Here’s a test. How many books of contemporary poetry did you buy and devour in the last twelve months? How many poetry journals did you subscribe to and thereby support? Therein lies the solution: we write it, it pours out of us in torrents of passion and love and loss and angst and revelation, but few of us buy it and read it with that same fervor. If everyone who writes poetry this year goes out and buys at least five to ten new books of poetry and subscribes to at least three poetry magazines, the picture would change overnight. 

I once assigned each person in my creative writing class to order a subscription to a literary magazine to use as a supplemental text and to review it. One student’s review concluded that he would rather have bought a six-pack.

At the first class meeting of my Introduction to Poetry class this year, I asked my students to name an American poet. Two-thirds of them said “Poe.” There were a few Walt Whitmans, three Emily Dickinsons, two Robert Frosts, and one Charles Bukowski, God bless her.

iUniverse author Sander Zulauf reveals more of his invaluable advice in the succeeding sequels of his iUniverse Advice contribution.

Read the sequel of his blog here.


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