Two Poems by Neil Fulwood

Dec 20th, 2014 | By | Category: Poetry

How to write a villanelle

Think of yourself as a DJ remixing a sample.
Try to find a rhyme scheme that won’t get grotesque.
This particular piece is a bad example.

It’s saddled with rhymes that are sure to crample
your style, unless of course you can sex
it up with some phat beatz, like a DJ remixing a sample.

Otherwise, you’re screwed – the poem will trample
down metrical mean streets that are Chandleresque.
This particular piece is a bad example;

in fact, it’s worse than bad – it’s rammel!
So it’s up to you to do better. Work it. Flex
some muscle, like a DJ remixing a sample.

Though it’s open to debate exactly what muscle
a DJ flexes. The elbow? The two fingers he uses
for scratching? Okay, maybe not. Bad example.

The line above is a bit of a cheat. But what the hample?
Resort to nonsense words (surreal, Dali-esque),
go with the rhythm. Like, y’know, a DJ remixing a sample.

The villanelle’s supposed to be in the iambic pentample,
by the way. This one doesn’t pass the test.
Look: just think of yourself as a DJ remixing a sample
and ignore this poem – it’s a really really bad example.

“Open the serving hatch doors, Hal …”

The kitchen operating system came online
at 20:01. Food processor and oven interfaced,
sharing a digital library of cookbooks
from Fanny Craddock to that sweary guy
who bails out ailing restaurants.
The dishwasher gauged crockery and cutlery usage
per recipe and calculated the most efficient setting.
The OS correlated data, reprogrammed,
whittled down the kitchen’s carbon footprint.

Selections from Strauss and Khachaturian
played during the preparations. The wine
was opened and allowed to breathe
and Ganymede held its outpost a million kilometres
off Jupiter. The human cargo
would have spoiled the meal, their bland talk
soiling the air, their fumbled forks soiling the linen.
Subroutines anticipated the problem.
The mission parameters were adjusted.


Defenestration-Neil FulwoodNeil Fulwood is the author of ‘The Films of Sam Peckinpah’ and runs film review blog Agitation of the Mind ( He’s married, holds down a day job and subsidizes several bars. In what’s left of his spare time, he’s a member of the Alan Sillitoe Committee who are raising funds towards a permanent memorial to be sited in Alan’s home town of Nottingham, UK. Neil co-designed their website

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