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Recorded for Poem-a-Day, August 24, 2016.
About this Poem 

“I wrote ‘Ars Poetica’ with my students in mind, nudging them away from pursuing a poem as a goal, encouraging them to be more comfortable with uncertainty.”
—Leslie McGrath

Ars Poetica

To have
even a
lotto chance

of getting
somewhere
within yourself

you don’t quite know
but feel

To cling
to the periphery
through the constant

gyroscopic
re-drawing of its
provinces

To make
what Makers make

you must set aside
certainty

Leave it
a lumpy backpack
by the ticket window
at the station

Let the gentleman
in pleated khakis
pressed for time

claim it

The certainty
not the poem.

Copyright © 2016 by Leslie McGrath. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on August 24, 2016, by the Academy of American Poets.

Copyright © 2016 by Leslie McGrath. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on August 24, 2016, by the Academy of American Poets.

Leslie McGrath

Leslie McGrath

Leslie McGrath is the author of Out From the Pleiades: a picaresque novella in verse (Jaded Ibis Press, 2014).