Non-Negotiable Demands

In the 1980s, a poetry magazine called The Reaper published an article outlining their Ten Non-Negotiable Demands – ten rules that poets had to follow going forward. We also have some rules that we MUST follow in this class (* = rules that I stole from The Reaper, which I also strongly endorse)


  • All pieces MUST have a title.
  • Editing is NOT the same thing as revising.
  • Watching is NOT participating (sorry, gang…)
  • Being on your smartphone / iPad / computer etc is being off topic – if you are listening to music while you compose, you cannot simultaneously write and DJ. Choose an album, Spotify station, whatever, and let it play.
  • A work in progress is fine. Something abandoned is not.
  • There IS such thing as self-plagiarism. Don’t commit it.
  • In our workshop discussions & markups, be critical, but fair.
  • No excuses.
  • No clichés.
  • Stop calling formless writing poetry*
  • No more poems about poetry*