Dr. Craig’s 12-Step Program for White Poets Contemplating Ethnic Fraud

Are you a white poet writing mediocre poems that are constantly rejected? Do you feel cheated out of your entitled publications? Do you find yourself desperately reaching for an ethnic pseudonym?

If you answered yes, Dr. Craig’s 12-step program is designed to help you write like poets of color without committing ethnic fraud. This program is guaranteed or your privilege back!

Step 1: Read. You’ve probably spent most of your life reading white poets. Spend a year reading only poets of color. You will learn how ethnic writing is diverse and exceeds all stereotypes and expectations.

Step 2: Listen. A major thread of ethnic poetry is spoken word. Try listening to one poetry video every day. Hear our voices.

Step 3: Attend. If there is a poetry event in your town featuring poets of color, support the community and bring a dish just in case it’s a potluck.  

Step 4: Culturize. Write about white culture–your customs, values, and practices. If you are not familiar with your culture, research: “American.”

Step 5: Genealogize. Write about your parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents. Talk to them. Do research. Travel to Europe, dig for deeper roots. Write about the ancestors you admire and are ashamed of. (Avoid the Genealogy Center of the Allen County Public Library).

Step 6: Eat. Write about your people’s foods, what you ate growing up, what symbolic meanings foods have to you. Play with your food poetry: write a humorous ballad about white bread, a villanelle about vanilla, a pantoum about potatoes, etc. 

Step 7: Migrate. Write about moving, letting go, saying goodbye. Even small migrations can be traumatic. Write about larger settler movements and their consequences. 

Step 8: Speak. Write about the linguistic nuances, accents, or dialects spoken in your house. Write about your experience learning English, learning Silence. 

Step 9: Historicize. Write about how history has shaped your family and your culture. Write about major and minor historical figures.

Step 10: Politicize. Write your political opinions about the hot political topics in the United States and around the world. Write with one fist raised to the sky. 

Step 11: Ecologize. Write about your relationship to the natural world and other-than-human species. Write about how climate change and environmental degradation affect you.

Step 12: Humanize. Write about your name. Your real name. Write with passion, fierceness, and integrity. Write to inspire and empower others. Write towards justice, truth, and dignity.

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