Guest Post, W. Todd Kaneko: [Poetry] & [Professional Wrestling]

W. Todd Kaneko[________] is art.

[________] is a real thing in the real world, despite what some of [________]’s biggest detractors might say.

There are lots of rules in [________]. Everyone breaks the rules in [________].

[________] requires precision and recklessness. Sometimes precision is disguised as recklessness. Sometimes it’s all recklessly precise.

[________] depends on a person’s ability to sell, the act of portraying great injury for an audience.

[________] is always made for an audience, but while the violence is staged through a series of deliberate moves to advance the audience through the story, the violence is also very real.

When [________] is at its best, it draws something primordial from inside you—a daggered kiss, a fist to your left ventricle, all those things you’ve always wanted to feel but never knew it.

When you make the decision to forge a living at [________], your friends and family will likely try to convince you to do something else.

[________] is at once graceful and brutal. You will brace for war when it begins. You will yearn for beautiful things when it is over.

[________] is a balance of high and low spots. There are high spots where emotions run hot, where the action builds to a release of violence and fireworks. There are low spots where the action slows for dramatic effect. If all we get are low spots, it’s boring. If all we get are high spots, it’s too cartoonish.

Pay attention: so many things you thought impossible—giants and angels, human-beast hybrids howling under the lights, the image of blood blossoming beautiful down a man’s face—everything becomes possible through [________].

[________] is infused with the language and mythologies of the different places it is practiced. Everything is a symbol. Nothing is really a symbol.

Often, [________] is difficult for some people to understand. That’s because they still think that everything has to mean something.

Some practitioners of [________] make a living by being beautiful, while others thrive on exposing the ugliest sides of themselves. [________] itself is always beautiful.

Some people will try to tell you that [________] isn’t cool. Screw those people.

Violence sometimes surges more inside the body than outside. Violence in [________] is always real, if you know how to look for it.

[________] often resembles those conflicts you see in everyday life. Some call this mimesis. Some acknowledge that it’s a bloodbath.

[________] is an exploration of the human heart, a drama about what it means to be alive in the world. It zig-zags and leads you in contradictory directions. In the end, good is supposed to win, but then we are reminded of how often evil comes out on top.

Sometimes, a celebrity will get involved with [________]. While their work attracts mainstream attention to the art form, it’s often not good, more of an embarrassment than a contribution to the field of [________].

You don’t have to be sexy for a successful career in [________]. Sometimes, [________] makes you sexy.

Only a few practitioners of [________] become rich or famous from their work. Most toil their whole careers in relative obscurity.

Too many people on the internet think they know more about [________] than they really do.

Tell a practitioner of [________] that he or she is a phony—that’s a quick way to get your block knocked off.

Sometimes, [________] is so good that it makes you want more [________]. And sometimes, it makes you want to go do anything else.

The history of [________] is filled with notorious characters and legendary personae. You can’t help but imitate them, even though you know better than to try any of that stuff at home.

Successful [________] encourages the audience to suspend disbelief, to embrace furious language like it’s a war cry, like it’s a prayer, like it’s going to kick everyone’s ass if the world doesn’t shut up and listen.

[________] at its worst is painfully fake.

[________] can fucking break your heart if you let it.

[________] is never fake.


Basic Rules for Great Poetry

While poetry is most often seen as a ‘free-flow’ or emotional exercise, poetry has a long standing history of rigid form. (Shakespeare anyone?)

And while using a free write exercise for poetry has its place, there is something to be said for using a healthy balance of emotion and form to create a spectacular poem.

To find a good balance for your poetry, try some of the following suggestions:

1. Figure out your form: Whether you chose to write a sestina or a free verse poem, sometimes choosing a form can help get your creative juices flowing. And remember–you can always modify the form after you write the poem, or even while the poem is being written.

2. Line Breaks: No matter what form you’re using for your poem, well placed line breaks are key to the way that your poem comes across to readers. Use shorter line breaks to make your poem have a faster pace, and longer ones to make your poem read more slowly. Be sure that you read your poem out loud after you’ve written it to make sure that you change any lines that may appear to break in awkward places.

3. Grammar; it’s not just for essays: A problem that we sometimes see here at Superstition Review is poetry that lacks (or sometimes overuses) grammar. Remember, in a poem, a comma still acts as a small pause, just like a period signifies the end of a sentence. Therefore, a free verse poem that is written without using periods is like one large run on sentence (not to say that this can’t be done, it can: but it’s hard to pull off successfully). So when it comes to grammar, tread carefully.

4. Imagery: Using images that help your readers ‘see’ and really understand what you are trying to say in your poem is important because it makes the poem more real to them.  Images are concrete pieces of an intangible expression that allow poetry to be shared by people everywhere. While imagery can sometimes represent emotions or deeper themes, a poem without any imagery stands to lose the interest of its audience and come off as paltry at best.

5. Remember your audience: While it’s sometimes easy to write poetry for the pleasure of releasing ideas or emotions, if you plan to publish a poem you need to make sure that it will be understood by your audience. That means using very little ‘inside knowledge’ (meaning, something that only you understand) or rambling on without any purpose or in a way that is confusing to your reader.

If you have any questions regarding our submission guidelines at Superstition Review, feel free to visit our Submissions Page or e-mail us with additional questions.