Throughout this (not quite a) year of postings, I’ve often wondered about the wisdom of putting my own poetry on my own website. There is a traditional process that poetry goes through on its journey to eternity. Of course the writing and the re-writing and the re-writing. But then come the submissions to the millions of little journals publishing poetry for other poets to read. And the contests. And the setting of readings for the faithful few. And the state poetry societies. It is a lengthy and time-consuming process, especially for those of us who come late to the practice of poetry. It has the advantage of making the poet work hard to improve her work, to make it speak truly and well.
A young person with real discipline and love for the art has the time to put in her 10,000 hours in the long trans-continental pipeline to transcendence. Ted Kooser woke at 4am every morning of his life to write and re-write (before going to his other job) and look where it got him (i.e being named Poet Laureate.) Emily Dickinson literally did nothing else but write, and still truly never knew if her writing had any merit, let alone the eternal kind. At 50 or 60, a person with a job AND a love for poetry makes some choices about time. A person with access to the web and easily built blogs makes other choices, for once published on the web the poem is no longer an “Unpublished Poem.” I’ve almost entirely stopped sending my poetry out to the “littles,” (can’t keep track of what is sent out and what is on the blog anymore) although I keep getting responses back from submissions made months and months ago. Here is a poem just published in “Star*line,” the journal of the Science Fiction Poetry Association. I remember being so happy to see a journal combining my two favorite genres. Now that it has already been published, all publication rights revert to me. Does anyone here in the cloud care that it has been published before? I think not. Is it read by anyone, in a “little” or on the blog? I can only guess and hope. Will any of these poems make it to the future?
That’s really not the point. The point is still, and always has been, the writing and the re-writing and the re-writing.
The Poet Addresses a Theory of Quantum Mechanics and Dyes Her Hair Simultaneously, Thereby Proving that Particles can have Two States at the Same Time.
The string theory posits a great many dimensions:
a dimension of sight.
Probably one of sound.
A dimension of plastic furniture from the ‘60s
and a dimension of china dolls.
A dimension of very small teapots
and one of faithful lovers writing sonnets.
These dimensions exist simultaneously
winding throughout the known universe;
throughout the unknown universe.
Physicists ponder these theories but why don’t they ask me?
I could take them to each dimension,
explain the décor and point out all the doors and windows.
They’re searching for a dimension of innocence,
and I still have an old map showing
the faint path in that direction.