In my non -poetry life, I have an “identity” that doesn’t really change from day to day. I “am” a gardener, a poet, a runner, a father, a lover, an investment manager, a brother, a walker in the woods, an appreciator of naps, a geek (nerd?), and Poppy (grandpa to you). Of course, there are perturbations and wrinkles in this fabric of identity. But the above list is largely unchanged from the one over the last 6 years (poet and Poppy having been added).
But with poems it is different. A poem I wrote last week was written by a different “me” than one I might write today. I contemplate this as my first short collection, a chapbook responding to Russia’s war on Ukraine, is due for release. The poems I wrote in late February marked not just a different time in the war but were written by a poet open to different epiphanies. The poetic doors I chose to walk through – or even made themselves evident to me – were different then than now.
As I give the obligatory (and joyful) readings promoting the book, I’ll have in the back of my mind the thought: “Yes. But don’t you want to hear the poem I wrote today?” I love reading fresh work out loud – both as I draft and revise it and at readings. It’s then that the work seems most honest and surprising – to me and so, I imagine, to you the reader or listener.
I’d be interested in hearing what you think – as both a poet and a reader of/listener to poetry.