So the official announcement of the Writers Rising Up calendar project is here:
I was having a moment of “any club that wants me as a member…” about the project, but once I saw the photo, I gave myself permission to be proud of my contribution. That photo makes me spend hours in the woods and damn the mosquitoes (they love me… they can find me if there’s only one of them and I’m 20 miles away….and I’m allergic…wish i were joking).
I also did ride the happy-wave and send some poems out. I’m still sending out to places where I’m ‘way in over my head – venerable venues (have been listening to too much Olga da Polga in the car with the sprite….if you know what I’m talking about, you’ll understand the pic) that publish MFAs who are on their fourth chapbook. That sort of thing. I’m trying to decide if it’s academic ultra-snobbery that wants entre’ into that particular type of venue, but I’m at least trying to give myself credit for a better motivation. It turns out that I’m broadly-read. I don’t think of myself as well-read, per se, but I start to notice it when I’m in any conversation and the inside of my head is saying, “oh, that reminds me of this” or “I wonder if she’s read that?” It’s one of those lovely side-effects of depression – books are one way to avoid being anxious and frantic. Of course, so is doing x. (Or both. Let’s not go there). Anyhow, I read a lot to avoid being frantic and miserable and have always done so. And that mental library shows up in the poetry – all over the place. Without my meaning to. I don’t go around saying, “Oh, let’s allude to this piece of 18th c. literature here” but it happens. Which makes academic poetry comfortable reading for me.
Unfortunately, just because I have the lit. chops doesn’t mean I have the training. I read poems by people who’ve been through MFA programs recently and they all have a particular feel that I’m not sure I could create. As the simplest example, I’m really not a narrative poet. I could try, but my body keeps saying, “Honey, isn’t that what fiction’s for?” And my body, as is so often the case, knows ‘way better than my brain. For me poetry is more about connection to biology, organisms, environment. I think it’s why I like Ted Kooser – he combines the style with the substance in a way that I love. But again, I can’t duplicate it.
Well, I guess that leaves being me and just sucking up a lot of rejection until I can do what I do well – instead of trying to imitate other people’s well-doing. Wasn’t I supposed to learn this lesson, oh, about 20 years ago?