Poetry, process, progress.

A small competition

I am currently in a small “poet war” where another poet and I write a poem a day and share the draft with each other. This is a busy semester for us both, and that is all the more reason to do this. I hate how my life seems out of control, even unanswered when I don’t write. Now, I also have an article simmering away in the back of my brain, but that takes a different length of time to do. I need to clear my schedule for at least two to three days to get the foundation for that article down, and that is not something i can do right now. In the past, I’ve used Fall Break for that, but my university quietly did away with it this year, so I will have to set aside part of Winter Break. I will write about that article as a part of my process, but not here. Expect a post on it on my more academic blog, Just a Blog.

Poems are more doable during a busy semester in that they take little time at first to get down. Of course, some poems can take ten years to finish, but that too is another story. Doing this in competition with a another poet mean accountability and reciprocity. She will know if I don’t do this and she has a right to expect that I will send good poems since she will be doing the same. Competition like the leads to better work and more of it.

One thing that I found strange about my MFA years was a different kind of competitiveness that it can generate. There was a generalized feeling–not with everyone–that good things happening for other people meant fewer possibilities for self. I very much disagree. There is plenty of good luck to go around, and as long as we writers continue to write, revise, and send, good things will happen for people who do good work.

I have a friend from those MFA years who recently got a book contract after way too many years of not trying (long story and not my story to tell), and believe me, my happiness for her is sincere. I’d like that to happen for me too and that means continuing to write poems and do the other scutwork that makes up a poet’s life. Today’s agenda? Thesis reading and commenting, grading, and write one poem.