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Giving Up Breathing

I have all this poetry that I've written. I don't know what to do with it. I don't even know if it's any good. A friend of mine who publishes chapbooks offered to anthologize it, but I don't know. I don't want to be a "poet." The sound of the word and the connotations make me distinctly uncomfortable.


( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 20th, 2003 11:38 am (UTC)
Oooooh.... I'm looking into doing a chapbook in a year or so-- I'm still building my repertoire of poems, but I've written about 30 in the last 4 or 5 months, and they don't all suck.

You could always publish poetry under a pseudonym. My grandfather used to publish stuff in Playboy and other such dirty magazines (back when Playboy was dirty) using the pseudonym "G.C. Rockwood," which was, of course, his father-in-law's name. Hee hee hee....
Jun. 20th, 2003 08:29 pm (UTC)
What's wrong with being a poet? What connotations does the term have that are so negative? I think (good) poetry can be an incredible force in a person's life. Of course, I think the best poetry is that spoken aloud by the author - it tends to be more real and present than poems on flat sheets of paper.
Jun. 21st, 2003 08:03 pm (UTC)
What's wrong with being a poet.
You bring up a good point. Poetry can be exceedingly moving and is of course the basis for songs, etc. The bad taste I have in my mouth over poetry relates to having heard many people who style themselves as "poets" talking about their desire to change the world via poetry. While I wholly agree that the world certainly could use a change, I am dubious about poetry being the idea vehicle for that change, and the sort of people who propose change via poetry are the same sort of people who feel that interpretive dance is an artistic force with which to be reckoned.

I love the exercise of writing poetry. I am occasionally fond of explicating poetry that has stood the test of time to discover for myself why this particular poem has survived while others have not. But on the whole, I read poetry for the same reason that I watch dancing or go to movies. I do it because I am seeking a diversion from my habit of endless introspection. I expect that the artists involved should have done the work for me, so that I can just sit back and enjoy it. I, as a writer, put a great deal of thought into my work, but I would expect that it should be invisible to the reader. I just want it to flow and be beautiful.

So, while I don't mind writing poetry, I don't want the weird inflated sense of self-importance that many poets I've listened to seem to possess.

On the other hand, I think that having another Nano Open Mic Night wouldn't be a bad idea.
Jun. 22nd, 2003 10:56 am (UTC)
Re: What's wrong with being a poet.
Ah, now I understand. I've run into people like that. The editor of a college literary journal once "edited" a poem I submitted, without consulting me, before printing it. Now a certain amount of editing, such as misspelled words, I can see. But cutting, pasting, dropping a word here and there, that I don't see. He had a pretentious name too - went by Bill W (and I'm NOT leaving out the rest of his last name - that's what he went by).

Still, I ripped him and his journal a new one in a letter to the school newspaper, which felt tremendously cathartic. I'm actually infamous among my friends for my letters to the college paper - one I coauthored actually spawned death threats! :)
Jun. 21st, 2003 11:57 pm (UTC)
Like Ian, I prefer to hear a poet rather than read one. Slam poetry, with its emphasis on performance, can be really entertaining.

But there are people who like to read it, and if you're passionate about your poetry -- which I know you are -- it's nice to share.

Your Nano reading night sounds like a great idea to me!
Jun. 22nd, 2003 10:58 am (UTC)
Hey, when's the next slam poetry session? I keep telling myself I should go to one (as an observer, of course!).
Jun. 22nd, 2003 12:02 pm (UTC)
Funny you should ask. I used to attend a FANTASTIC slam poetry event called BakaTalk downtown SJ. They usually had a guest poet from the Bay Area, or as far away as the East Coast, but their venue closed (the long laments Cafe Babylon) and I lost track of them. I recently found them, they now have their event on Fridays, at Channel 1 Cafe on The Alameda. If you're up for it, I'm going to go on Friday. I'll put out the word on the Nano group board, and see if anyone else wants to go.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )