Poetry in Phoenix

Last night Shawn and I attended our first Caffeine Corridor poetry feat at {9} the Gallery. It begins with open mic poetry readings. We arrived late, because Shawn had to drive all the way home to pick me up. We missed the first few readers, but many of the poets we did see kept mentioning an article recently published in the Phoenix New Times. The print version is here in the house, Shawn had Rachael pick it up at ASU on Thursday, because Joe is a friend of his, and he wanted to read the article. But by last night, neither one of us read it yet.

I read it this morning. Wow, it really is electrically charged with negative feelings about the poetry scene in Phoenix. All I can think is, Okay not everyone who gets up to read an original poem is going to be Whitman, Sandburg, Angelou (poet of your choice here), but you never know who will be the next great American poet. The fact they got up the nerve to stand in front of an audience to read and grow deserves kudos. You never know, in a number of years you may be able to say, I heard them when…

A person cannot improve on their skill locked up and alone. I thought poetry readings were encourage not disparage. I don’t go to poetry readings with my ego on my sleeve. Mostly because you won’t see me stand up and read a poem. I do enjoy the isolation of a computer. I’m more like Dickinson, the amount of poems people will find I’ve tucked away when I’m gone, that is if I don’t burn them all first. Yes, folks I’m analog and still write out more poems than not on actual paper I can burn.

When I first started the whole I’m going to be a published writer journey, my first submission experience was great. Those who read my blog, know I started submitting stories to the Star Trek Strange New Worlds anthology. I joined a wonderful online critique group specifically for SNW writers and I met great writers there who encouraged us newbies. And I realized I was pretty decent at this writing game. My second year, I submitted a story elsewhere and saw my first published piece. The other writers in that anthology introduced me to ritro.com and I started writing articles for the site. I shared Peter Pan Envy on this blog. I also wrote, The Hunt and Peck Method to Novel Writing.

No I was not interested in writing a novel – still holds true. But I also was not serious about poetry. I felt poets were egotistical, pompous jackasses until I joined gather.com and met some lovely poetry people who took the time to read the few poems I posted and comment with well done and at the same time offering ways I could improve my work. This was the kind of environment I saw at {9} the gallery last night. And it is the best way to grow as a poet. I’m not sure why the New Times journalist wrote they were nervous and did not make eye contact. They have the courage to stand in front of people and open themselves up. Maybe he should try it once instead of just printing he words out on a screen. And as for the featured poet in the article…I’m glad I did not run into his ilk when I first put poems out for critique. It was bad enough I was comparing myself to a great poetic ghost.

check ego at door
devote time to encourage
poetry will thrive

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