Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Keep Me Sharp 

I've always competed with my friends. I didn't think of it as a bad thing. And I'm not talking about competing for prizes/accolades. I'm talking about the poems. I know if I'm reading with a good group of poets I need to bring my A game. And if I don't have it, I'd better get it. Not for ranking, but to be able to deliver the work, like I know my friends can. Maybe I'm lazy otherwise, but reading great work written by a friend/poet gets me off my ass.

Sometimes I'll say, "Damn. She did it. That's how you write political poems that won't be obsolete next week!" Or maybe it's "Okay. His poems have the music I wish I had." I'll go back to the poem-lab & work on that. Maybe I come out a stronger poet for getting blown away.

As for the acrimonious personal business- poetry is life, not an idealized back-rub. Members of your community will help you, hurt you, shake your hand & knife you. Sometimes it will be the same person, depending on the day. I agree that those who put down/shut out others to glorify their own imagined place are lacking in confidence, as well as integrity.

But jealousy & competition are two very different things.

- Frank Sherlock

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