Poetry Friday: Hans Ostrom


Sometime not too long ago, I came across the enchanting poem “Emily Dickinson and Elvis Presley in Heaven.” I’m not sure if someone shared it on the Roundup or if I stumbled across it elsewhere, but I liked it so much that I printed it out and tucked it into my writing notebook, where I stumbled across it again today. (Update–Tabatha Yeatts linked to this poem last fall in this post.)

Who is this Hans Ostrom? I wondered. This poem is so quirky and engaging. What else has he written? A quick google search revealed that Hans Ostrom is an accomplished professor, writer, and scholar. I also discovered the poem below which appealed to me no less, but quite differently, than Emily and Elvis had.

“How to Write A Poem: A Poem”
Hans Ostrom

First, clear the area of critics.
Next, grab an image or a supple
length of language and get going.
It’s all you now. Mumble, sing,
murmur, rage, rumble, mock,
quote, mimic, denounce, tell,
tease. Recall, refuse, regret,
reject. Dive, if you dare, into
psychic murk. Down there grab
the slick tail of something quick.
….(click on the link to read the poem in its entirety)

This poem ends with the lines:
“…when and if
in doubt, remember: what you want
to be is to be writing. ”

And if you’re looking for poetic inspiration to kickstart your own writing, make sure to visit poetic dynamo Laura Purdie Salas at her blog, Writing the World for Kids. She’s sharing information about her newest book, Meet My Family, and hosting this week’s Poetry Friday Roundup.

21 thoughts on “Poetry Friday: Hans Ostrom

  1. Oh, my gosh….that’s a great poem! It’s definitely a keeper. I’m writing this one down in MY notebook. Thanks for a great start to my Poetry Friday.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. lindabaie says:

    It’s wonderful, and now you need to travel over to read Tabatha’s poem, a great connection!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Molly,

    One again, my life is enriched because of we connected & I visited. Thanks for sharing these poems.

    See you tomorrow again.

    Best wishes.


    Liked by 1 person

  4. Tabatha says:

    Wonderful! “Invent like the conning, conniving/poet you are, you lying spitter/of literature, you.” Hans is so sassy and so loving at the same time. Thanks for sharing it! (I linked to Emily and Elvis last October– how lovely that it made its way into your notebook!)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Love this poem- especially that last line. Definitely words I needed to hear today. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Ahhh. So much good advice even in just the excerpts you shared! Grabbing the tail of something quick is an excellent description of writing poetry!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Cathy says:

    “First, clear the critics.” Yes, this is always the challenge. Thanks for sharing this smart advice.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. jama says:

    What a fabulous poem! Thanks for the heads up about Hans Ostrom too. Mystery man no more. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I definitely need to clear my writing area of critics before I can start writing, especially my inner critic, who can be just a little too vocal for its own good! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Alice Nine says:

    I came here after reading Tabatha’s babysitter poem… a good connection. Love: “Say what you see, see what you say, / write it for love and for free. Own what / you write and give it away.” With those lines to guide, anyone can write poetry. Thanks for sharing, Molly.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Yes, “what [we] want/to be is to be writing.” I love both poems, Molly. Thank you so much for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I remember reading that poem, too, in the PF maelstrom of goodness. I like this new one, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Kay Mcgriff says:

    I am in love with this poem! All those verbs, “lying spitter of literature,” “lay a big wet kiss.” Oh my. There is so much to love, especially, “what you want to be is to be writing.”

    Liked by 1 person

  14. “a supple length of language” Oh my and ooh la la! How inviting is that?!

    I also love, “Language
    will always love you back, so lay
    a wet kiss on the words”

    Thanks for sharing this today, Molly!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. What a powerful poem and wonderful lines, ”
    “Mumble, sing,
    murmur, rage, rumble, mock,
    quote, mimic, denounce, tell,
    tease. Recall, refuse, regret,
    reject. Dive, if you dare, into
    psychic murk.”
    Thanks for sharing it Molly!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. O. says:

    Thank you very much for posting my poem. I appreciate it. –Hans Ostrom

    Liked by 1 person

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