Why The Hell Do I Write Poetry?

15 06 2008

I posted a deal over in the Absolute Write poetry forums yesterday, asking for the opinions of other poet’s regarding a poetry collection that I am putting together.  Basically what I wanted to know was whether I should use a POD printer, like Lulu, or do the thing myself and print it locally.

So right off the bat this dude jumps in and begins to lecture me about POD, and vanity press, and self publishing, and so forth.  His point was that if I did ANY of these things, I could not consider myself really published.  In order to REALLY be published, I had to go through the TRADITIONAL publishing process.  Otherwise I was just a BIG OLD FAKER!

Whatever.  Here it is for all and  sundry: I do not aspire to be a poet.  I have never in my life aspired to be a poet.  I write fantasy fiction.  I aspire to be a fantasy fiction novelist.  If God Himself came down right now and told me to stop writing poetry I’d say “yes Sir,” and I wouldn’t think twice about it.  I have no intentions of placing my poetry on the alter before the elitist eggheads of jolly old academe to be weighed and judged by them.

I KNOW my shit’s good.  Well, some of it, anyway.  Some of it sucks ass.  Either way, I write it for no better reason than that I love to write it.  That’s it.  If I get a poem published here and there, every once in awhile, yay!  I feel no motivation whatsoever to pusue a career as a widely published and well repected American Poet.  The Voice Of A Generation!  The Love-Child Of Bob Frost And Ed Cummings!  Sylvia Plath Minus Tits, Plus Balls!!!!!!

I love poetry, don’t get me wrong.  I’ve studied poetry all my life, and I’ve worked diligently at the craft.  I love reading poetry too, if that matters.  For me, writing poetry has always been a joyful act of pure creativity, unmarred by any desire to publish, or market, or target, or conform to any standard other than my own.  I like for my poetry to be read, of course, when I can find an outlet.  I suppose that is true of all writers.  But you won’t find me leading the charge of any new poetic movement, or staunchly defending the poetic crusades of old.  You won’t find me standing up in front of a bunch of doe-eyed, gape-jawed people reciting my poems while everyone ooo’s and ahhh’s and nods knowingly at each other.

Probably I’ll just put the poetry page back up on this blog and post it all there.  Read it if you like, won’t hurt my feelings if you don’t.  If you don’t like my fantasy fiction, on the other hand, there could be a problem.




3 responses

15 06 2008
Cliff Burns

WRITE, that’s the main thing. Poetry, fantasy fiction, follow your muse wherever she takes you. The important thing is the regular, daily practice of writing. Improve your craft, keep those authorial muscles toned and sharp. Poetry teaches one the compression of language, how to create an effect or emotion in a few words. Short stories are similar in that respect. Both are excellent formats to help writers avoid the bloat that afflicts so many works today. Lean and mean, that’s the way to edit. And poetry and short prose help improve that capability.

Write on…

15 06 2008

Thanks for stopping by, Cliff. I love your blog, btw. Looking forward to exploring it further.

17 06 2008
Cliff Burns

Thanks, kid. Drop by any time. That’s the nice thing about these cyberspace cafes and book stores: they’re open 24/7.

Have a terrific summer…

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