Poem in Gravel
Updated: Jul 12, 2020
I have a poem titled "How to Destroy an Ideal" in the April issue of Gravel. I'd appreciate it if you gave it a gander when you have some free time or when a desperate desire to read a persona poem seizes you.
I can't often pinpoint origins for my poems. Most of the time, I'm pretty clueless about what in the world—both the real and the literary—inspired me to write a poem. However, I actually know (or recognize maybe) something about how "How to Destroy an Ideal" came into existence.
I was an undergraduate at the University of Michigan—either eighteen or nineteen—and I was taking Keith Taylor's intermediate poetry workshop. One of Keith's many brilliant teaching devices was having us write imitations of various poets on the class' reading list. And I still remember that "How to Destroy an Ideal" started out as an imitation of a Sherman Alexie poem.
I'm kind of ashamed to admit that I don't remember which poem of his I decided to imitate, but I have an inkling that it was titled something along the lines of "How to..."—though that could be completely off. I can definitely say that my title for this piece hasn't changed a whit all these years later. That's the only part of it that hasn't undergone extensive revision actually.
So there's a smidgen of background on it for you. Maybe all of that will make you even more inclined to take a look at the doesn't-seem-to-have-much-to-do-with-Sherman-Alexie poem.