Thursday, March 24, 2005

UNLOVED POETS

About C. Dale's post on So Much Bitterness in the poetry world: very apropos. Today's apology I also take to be sincere. Bad shit goin' down in one's personal life comes out in one's generalizations. However true they are. And however much you have going for you (C. Dale, obviously, has a lot going for him.)

I'm going to sound like Oprah for a second:

The main reason so many poets are bitter is simple: they are unloved.

I know this because I have been there.

I was unloved -- for many years. For my poetry, by my poetry, because of poetry, whatever reason(s).

I used to say things like: telling a woman you write poetry is like telling her you have a dose of clap. It seemed the rejoinder I always got was, "But how much money do you make?"

It came to be every word I wrote seemed to be pushing love away. Of course, this was an illusion. But a very compelling illusion while it lasted.

It made rejection after rejection just more salt on a gaping wound.

Eventually I stopped writing. I gave up on poetry, and for a decade found more nurturing expression in another art at which I have had some degree of success, artistically speaking, but which in the end I really don't believe is my strongest suit.

Now, irony of irony, miracle of miracles, I am loved by someone who loves my writing. Who is a writer herself, and who has critical integrity. What a difference this makes.

Most of us poets have a "Special Person" complex. We see our work as Special, and ourselves therefore as Special People, and we wish to be regarded that way in a world of six billion people and teeming thousands of writers.

It's quite a demand to make on the World. It can also be a setup for total frustration.

If you are not a star in someone's world, if you do not have a support system of a few other writers whom you respect who give you critical feedback and support, God help you.

To be a poet in those circumstances, you have to be a tough bastard.

I am not a tough bastard.

Right now, I am exactly where I should be. But I'm coming out of the woodwork. Just watch me.

5 comments:

A. D. said...

A great post. Thanks.

Paul Adrian M said...

I second that, this was right on the money. But sometimes I wonder, maybe i am a tough bastard poet like bukowski. I played rugby, I drive a truck, i've been bearded, i love bacardi, eh, well you know what I mean right? I especially connected with your idea of with each word we wrote, we pushed love away. thank you for that kind of clarity, it really made me say "a-ha!".

-paul

Nick Piombino said...

Yes!

Peter said...

Hi Brian: I liked your "unloved poets" post. I'm adding you to my blogrool.
Peter

Brian Campbell said...

Thanks, Peter. It's nice to be loved for having been unloved for SO MANY YEARS...(violins)