Bluffer's Guide to Poetry
Instantly acquire all the knowledge you need to pass as an expert in the world of poetry and verse (bluffers might be surprised to discover that there is a difference). Never again confuse an anapest with a distich, a panegyric with a polemical, or a haiku with someone clearing their throat. Bask in the admiration of your fellow soi-disant literati as you pronounce confidently on the comparative merits of a rhapsody and an elegy, or a dactyl with a spondee, and effortlessly learn how to hold your own when extolling the sublime gifts of possibly the greatest poet who has ever lived – William Topaz McGonagall.
DO SAY: ‘Yes, I suppose it’s about time I rediscovered (insert name here), although I’m afraid that I’ve always found him/her a little too deceptive. On the other hand he/she also has a tendency towards the tiresomely reductive. In the past my response to his/her work can only be described as lacklustre . . . but everybody deserves a second chance.’
DON’T SAY: ‘There was a young lady from Bude/ Who went for a swim in the nude/ . . . .’
Nick Yapp first became aware of poetry when he had to learn some as a punishment at school. Much moved by the experience, and swamped with thoughts of Love, Suffering, Death and Toffees, he subsequently wrote a great deal of verse, but has stopped all that since he became a grown-up and retired from teaching to become a full-time writer.
is the winner of the inaugural Picador Poetry Prize and is the author of 'Misadventure' (Picador, 2012). He lives in London with his wife and two young children and has been known to write as many as three words a week.