In the Poetry Writing Workshop “Milton conceived the Paradise Lost as a whole before he executed it in portions. We have his own authority also for the Muse having ‘dictated’ to him the ‘unpremeditated song’, and let this be answer to those who would allege the fifty-six various readings of the first line of the Orlando Furioso. Compositions so produced are to poetry what mosaic is to painting.” —Percy Bysshe Shelley, A Defence of Poetry “Consider your poem a mosaic,” Said the well-meaning poet-critic. Well, I'd paid for his advice, And he acted kind of nice, Though when I saw him regale That blond and buxom female, I knew she would be his star. He'd take her, yes, and far. “What? Poetry—emotion? Where'd you get that notion? Eliot tells us 'feeling.' Just don't send our senses reeling. And what? You said inspiration? Be wary of sudden sensation. How much would it trouble you To follow Richard W.? A poem is like a fine wine, Nuances in every line. If you grasp all at once, It must be the work of a dunce. A poem should not mean but be. Will I have to give you a C?” Well, all this seemed fine and good. I said that I'd understood. But what of the mind’s “fading coal” And the God-besotted soul? In my ear whispered Shelley: “This fellow's a nervous Nellie.” An Invitation to my precious C. R. I am a poet. I live in Fantasy Land. I told my friends this once, and they all laughed. Now everyone I meet thinks I am daft. But come. Let me take you by the hand . . . Do let us sit together, here on the sand, For I can help young poets hone their craft. Oh dear. I’ll have to give this one the shaft. The books we’ll write together will all be banned. We’ll never get to Stockholm at this rate. It’s time for a really sharp volta. I like this font. Or shall we make a caesura . . . You say you Kant? I want you to write like me. An’ be wise and great. So lemme take you by the hand. For I am a Poet. I’ll show you Fantasy Land. William Ruleman is Professor of English at Tennessee Wesleyan University. His most recent books include From Rage to Hope (White Violet Books, 2016), Munich Poems, and Salzkammergut Poems (the latter two from Cedar Springs Books, also 2016).