Wednesday, November 12, 2003

a winter poet

I'm thumbing through the thick issue of Poets and Writer's looking at all the different poetry contests and submission announcements. I'm still understanding the seasonal nature of the poetry industry, if industry is a proper term for it. The summer is filled with various writing conferences, retreats and workshops, presumably to work on a body of work to submit to the fall/winter deadlines. This is all new to me. Though I've been subscribing to P&W for a few years, it's only this year that I look at these submissions and think, "maybe." Before the announcements didn't feel relevant to me. For some reason this year, they do.

Part of it has to do with all these reading for "Going Home to a Landscape." I get to be a writer again. Not that I had stopped being one. But my life has been dominated by me as the Kali teacher, which I don't mind either. It just happens that in general people like to associate you with your most unique trait. Sure I'm a poet, but I'm easily recognizable and memorable as the Kali teacher. The nice part about the readings is that I get to be the poet first and interestingly enough the Kali teacher second. It's good to give the poet the front stage once in a while or else people forget I write too. I want people to remember so that I can remember. In juggling all these personas and interests, it's important to remember who you are or else one of those balls slips and rolls away.

I remember I like being the poet. I remember that there were poems that I've written and more poems that I need to write. Sometimes I forget.

As I read all these announcements, I find that I'm not "ready" in the sense that I don't have poems ready in hand to send out or a system to keep track of them. I know as if that should be necessary. Though I do write in journals and such, I haven't mined them in a while to put the poems together. I realize too that seasonally, I'm out of synch. I feel like I'm doing the opposite. I read these submission requests and themes and end up writing the poem for it after the publication or after the deadline. I'm awfully bad at writing for the deadline. Always the late bloomer. Then when I write the poem, I shelve it. It waits there til the next time I might get a chance to perform it or submit it somewhere, the next time I remember I'm a poet. I hope each time I remember my memory grows longer and longer.

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