Verse And Purse

May 11 2013 @ 1:25pm

In a 1972 interview, L.E. Sissman compares writing poetry and writing ad copy:

Copywriting should always be precise, true, purposely literal. Poetry should always be ambiguous—i.e., capable of being read different ways at different levels. You work for compression but you’re building a skyscraper on your little plot. Obviously, I don’t mean copywriting should be devoid of humor, nuance, or colloquialism, but I think it ought to give the reader as honest an account of the good points of the product or service as possible, and without equivocation or weaseling …

Copywriting is evanescent and poetry is, the poet hopes like hell, perduring, but there are a lot of similarities otherwise. Copywriting teaches you to say exactly what you mean in the fewest possible words the first time around and under pressure of time [as does journalism]. This is a valuable lesson for the poet.