(after Jo Bell)

If you fall off the wagon, don’t stress. Just get back on.
If your early efforts are not masterpieces, don’t worry.
If your latest efforts are also not masterpieces, don’t worry.

It’s not just you. Be a little kind to yourself, but also
be a little hard on yourself – only a little. Life gets in the way,
but life is also your source material, so you can’t have too much.

Read every single poem in this book. Any poem you don’t find
in this book you will find online. Read every single poem
you can find, anywhere that you can find poetry.

Nobody writes good poetry without reading good poetry.
Those who don’t take this seriously are doomed because
they are not aware of the context in which they write.

Use this book to teach your own class. Better yet,
become your own class: be the student; be the teacher;
be the famous poet laureate brought in as guest lecturer.

True success is in the private conversation between poet
and page. The process of writing, not the process of winning
awards, is where the real treasure may be found.