Poetry, a gift

Tonight I was discouraged to recieve yet another rejection letter. Maybe I should have sent him an invitation to Thursday night’s gig at Malaprop’s instead of six poems.

“Chin up,” I say to myself. “Review the poems,” I tell myself. “Make sure they are a gift to the people who will attend.”

A poetry reading is like an art gallery portfolio review. You want to pick your best 12 to 15 pieces and include a couple talking points per painting. This enables the audience/curator to understand the piece in context. It also allows room for conversation after the reading/viewing.

I read today that it’s the poet Philip Larkin’s birthday. It is reported that it took him three years to complete his 50-line masterpiece “Aubade.” His literary legacy can be found in 4 small books (consisting of 117 poems).

This encourages me, for I have been working on a poem for almost four years. Many poems have been created in that period and maybe they will be collected in four or five small books.

Small books often capture my attention. I guess that’s why I like graphic novels and small books of poetry like Simic’s Wedding in Hell or Flynn’s The Lost Sea.

I also read that Thoreau published Walden on this day. It took him five years to get rid of all 2000 copies. I thought of how I’d like each book I create/publish to be a gift. If it takes three years to compose a poem and five more years to circulate copies, it will still be a rewarding gift.

Unfortunately, an editor did not know he received a gift. Instead, he rejected the gift I sent him–finding no room in his poetry review for it. His lose really–not mine.

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