how to be a writer when you're not writing
Today, the poet self stepped forth again.
I’ve been thinking about poetry. Thinking. Sometimes just thinking. The poet-self permeates all the other parts. The poet is always there.
But what does it mean when, some days, the closest we get to poet-ing is merely thinking about poetry? Forget the reading, some days. Especially forget the writing, at least in any serious way. Maybe a brief jot, a few words on a yellow legal pad, a digital note.
I spent a year freelancing, teaching here and there, unaffiliated full-time with an institution. A pandemic year when some days, my only human interaction besides my partner was a brief sidewalk “hello.”
I wrote a lot during that year. I wrote a whole book and started writing another. I wrote alongside my students. I wrote every day.
And now, over the last couple of months, in a new state, a new town, with a new full-time job and additional sense of purpose, still teaching joyfully, still facilitating, the poet self who has been holding everything together has stepped back a little bit.
It took a couple of weeks to be okay with that. I realized the things that had run dry—the experience of rich human interaction with many people every day, working with a live team, being around college students, even just sitting at a desk that wasn’t inside my house—rejuvenated.
I stopped worrying. The poetry comes back. The poetry comes back because it is always there.
Listen and Read
Today, the poet Ada Limon is reading my poem “Missing Cat” on The Slowdown.
And the newest installment of my regular column in The Ploughshares Blog, “Interconnection Beyond Denotation in Sappho’s Gymnasium,” appeared a couple of weeks ago.