I've been doing something that's not really good for the poet spirit, which is reading a bunch of poetry blogs. People can get vicious in those things, whether in the comments or in the actual original entries. Very turf war-ish, name calling-y, vitriolic, acerbic, bullying, piss contestish, and generally not inspiring by any means. Makes a completely unpublished writer of poetry really not want to bother trying for fear of the effects of the fray. Fracas.
Anyway, while thinking about everything I've been reading (and I'm not going to list any sites I'm referring to because I have no wish, search engine wise, to be tied in any way the melee) it made me wonder why, as mentioned in the countless websites I've read through, there are so many MFA programs with so many students? So many people who want to be published poets? More people than ever writing poetry? Why is there more people than ever wanting, wishing and willing to call themselves poet?
It's not the fame or the money. It's not that you'll see their name in lights. That doesn't happen. That's been relegated to the pop singers, reality celebs and power couples of Hollywood. So what is the big draw nowadays?
I can't answer those questions. But I can ask myself the question why, in the midst of all the muck I've encountered, from my disheartening MFA experiences to the icky feeling I get when I read the comments out there, do I still love doing this and want to somehow find a way to sustain myself, away from the fray?
It's nice under your hands
a stranger whom i've never met
before tonight but twice
It's nice beside you on the bed
where my heart bled for love.
It's nice to have you here
and having said that, dear
nice to feel your hands upon my hair
and nicer still, to know we will
meet again, start off where
your girl friend, mistress, what ever
she is, that sleeping bride
will not be on your other side.
This poem by John Wieners, it does something for me that not many other things do in the blur of the day-to-day. And it's not just Wieners who peps me up like that. Poetry from before his time, Sappho, Emily, poetry after him, CA Conrad, my dear friend Florine, many others, they do too. And opening my notebook and picking up a pen, I just do that. I have since I can remember, in this exact room of my parent's house that I'm writing from right now, loved turning on some music and sitting here and writing something. So that's why I'm here. Because I love it. Because it's how I feel better being in the world.
Maybe that's naive. Maybe it's overly optimistic to think one can just be with other poets and reading poetry and writing poetry, but not hoping for it to mean something like any sort of notoriety or big external reward; to just be amongst like minded people sharing ideas and time together, reading lovely or brilliant or exhilarating poems, feeling good sitting down to write, and being happy for all of that as it is at face value.
Maybe, but I'm going to keep doing this anyway.