A note of encouragement for poets

I recently received the following note from a poet I greatly admire:

I really want to submit a poem to you from my blog, but I am debating whether any of my work is worthy enough to be featured. Can you be brutally honest with me and let me know if my longer poems are up to standard?

To be honest, I was flabbergasted by this because the person who sent it to me is one of my all-time favorite poets to read on WordPress. I consider their work incredibly raw and brainy – and pure in a way that I only strive for. How could a poet as amazing as this individual think that their work might not be “worthy” of being published on my blog?

Shortly thereafter, I received this comment on my blog from yet another blogger:

I love to read and write poetry, but imposter syndrome keeps me from sharing it with anyone. Iโ€™m working on moving past that.

Now, this writer is one that I’ve had less exposure to than the first, but… “No!” I want to exclaim, “Be proud of your words – be confident in your voice!”

Of course, look who’s talking – Me, the guy who has yet to submit any of his poetry to any other poetry publication. And why? Because I’m insecure about it! What is collectively wrong with us? Why are there so many talented writers out there who don’t believe in themselves or don’t believe that their work is “good enough”?

Ok. I know that I keep on saying this, but I am now setting a hard deadline for myself – I will submit at least one poem to a publication by the end of this month (March ’22)! And – if you also are feeling doubtful of your poetry skills, please – bite the bullet! At the very least, publish your poems publicly on your blog… We’ve gotta start somewhere!

Let’s write poetry together!

When it comes to partnership, some humans can make their lives alone – it’s possible. But creatively, it’s more like painting: you can’t just use the same colours in every painting. It’s just not an option. You can’t take the same photograph every time and live with art forms with no differences.

Ben Harper (b. 1969)

Would you like to create poetry with me and have a completed poem of yours featured here at the Skeptic’s Kaddish? I am very excited to have launched the ‘Poetry Partners’ initiative and am looking forward to meeting and creating with you… Check it out!

55 thoughts on “A note of encouragement for poets”

  1. I found this quote from Martha Graham that spoke to me:

    Martha said to me, very quietly: โ€œThere is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. โ€ฆโ€ฆ.

    โ€œwhen I see my work I take for granted what other people value in it. I see only its ineptitude, inorganic flaws, and crudities. I am not pleased or satisfied.โ€
    โ€œNo artist is pleased.โ€
    โ€œBut then there is no satisfaction?โ€
    โ€œNo satisfaction whatever at any time,โ€ she cried out passionately. โ€œThere is only a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.โ€

    Keep up the dissatisfaction!

  2. Well said, David. Encouragement is an important part of a writer’s diet. Good luck with your submission ๐Ÿคž.

  3. To be a good writer you have to be brutal with the work that you create. Often good poets can’t see past their inner editor and therefore everything they write looks unfinished. The funny thing is that I know that I write to the best of my ability (most of the time), and I still feel like my writing is garbage. I know that it isn’t garbage, but I feel like it is just the same.

  4. Rejection is hard to swallow, David. You have to grow elephant skin to be immune to it. For what it’s worth, I admire your work and consider it quite a gem for any publication. Go for it, b’Hatzlacha!

  5. Thank you for shining a light on our frailties. Before looking to publish, I wonder if there is not a supportive stage in which constructive feedback is offered. Not destructive criticism, but genuine response to poems and their strengths. This is not something I have seen on WordPress, though would really appreciate from a small group of empathetic friends. People who take the time to read and absorb a poem and let the author know what worked for them.
    Some poems deserve a conversation!

    1. If you really want people to give constructive criticism to your writing, you will have to take a college writing workshop class. But before you do that make sure you have a thick skin because no one gets out of one of those classes without having their writing brutalized. Having a class of twenty or more serious writers break down every word you wrote is no picknick.

      1. Thanks Richard. My College, University days are far behind me now, for practical and geographic reasons. However, you raise the possibility of a small group of virtual students in a Zoom room!
        The gift of that is we can be as constructive as we choose โ€ฆ no teachers to impress or exams to pass!

  6. Every time I write something, I feel the very same wayโ€ฆ. but then I get the comments that people actually like what I read and it makes it worthwhile. Thank you for being a word of encouragement to others!

  7. Insecurity is real. And the conciseness required of poetry could appear vague to everyone but the author.
    I will not claim to have overcome mine, but Iโ€™m doing it anyway.
    Thanks for celebrating our human foibles this way: mirror to our faces. We need to hear this. Nice job

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s