The Friendship of Poets

Do I have friendships focused on poetry? Friendships where I bounce poems back and forth? They all are, or none of them are.

I have friends who poet, I have friends who read poetry, I have friends who I met through poetry, but I don’t have friendships that are based around poeting.

Partially because, to quote Graves, to be a poet is a condition rather than a profession. However the friendship began, they stand before the poetry, in the same way that I don’t have friendships focused on common beard choices.

And partially because, to paraphrase Scalzi, poeting is my consequence-free expression. I author and publish prose fiction professionally, and author and publish political and social commentary to shape debate, so much of my use of words is crafting and recrafting for a goal. Poetry is my outlet for joy of words and spaces. While I poet to express emotions, and to conquer odd structures, even the work I share is play.

I follow or break a form because I want at the moment I do it to see how it feels; I rage out my anger without pondering whether the conceits extend smoothly; I write love poetry so obscure it makes Classics teachers frown; because I poet to express a moment in the moment.

Which might be why I have more haiku than other forms. Flicking a poem into the face of death, releasing emotion/thought/analysis into a tiny package and moving on.

Thus I don’t seek – or avoid – discussion of how I achieved – or didn’t – an aim or emotion; I discuss my work with those who wish to discuss it, but don’t feel a drive to seek a close exchange of techniques with another who poets in the same way as I do for prose.

Whether that will change if I seek to publish my poems as more than offerings to those who choose to take them is a question for the future.


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