How To Start a Poem:

Carolyn Liu


Think about form and subject. Form can be molded; form can be framed.
Remember that form is never actually free.

Pull from hippocampus and right lung. Air out, let it rise in the sun—defer the

Need the poem and roll words until sticky with meaning and an egg wash coat.

Remove the egg wash coat. Wipe it off; rawness is uncomfortable with the hands.

Shape lines into doughty links. Smudge out every seem.

Put poem in toaster oven. Conventional ovens are for greater means; recognize that the highest outlier isn’t always high enough.

Smash the whole thing into the ground. Grind it to cortical dust. Critical step. It’s been overbaked.

Make a dust well and add another egg in the central impression.

Cradle the egg.

Cradle the egg. The egg won’t ever hatch—but cradle the Possibility.


Carolyn Liu is a Penn undergrad majoring in English with only one more semester left before adult life. She enjoys reading most things—this includes instruction manuals for household appliances—but likes writing poetry the best.