William Carlos Williams
Lesley Heath Morrow
To name a few of my influences in no particular order, and off the top of my head.
Yeah, I'l admit that when I'm in front of an audience I want to do well. Everybody hopes to be well received. Here's the thing...The same person who told me about frustrated rock star syndrome, also told me that the duty of any good poet is to "bring the next guy up".
Most of my favorite poetry people are the ones who live by the second rule more than the first. Bringing the next guy up, is not just about being a good artist and paying it forward. It's about removing the stigma of poetry.
The greatest poets, whether famous or not, spent most of their time molding their insides into words and keeping a record of what that looks like. Most practitioners are just looking for a place where that behavior is accepted and maybe appreciated.
I have often wondered why Poetry is not as appreciated as music, painting, or acting as an art form. I mean there are art museums and theaters, and even a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I don't believe I've ever heard of a place where fantastic Poetry is on display for the public to appreciate.
I think that deep in the underlying thought of most non-poetic artists is the thought that they are making art to please the populace. Every band wants to be on the charts, to get played on the radio, to get a platinum record. There are exceptions to the rule, but most of those bands either obtain a cult following or fade into obscurity with a small band of really loyal fans
Most of the greatest poets have carried with them a, this is what my soul looks like and fuck you if you don't like it, attitude. It was all created under a big banner that reads "NOT FOR GLORY".
The last thing that I was taught about being a poet is "If a poet is good, He will tell you, if a poet is great, somebody else will." I've met some Great poets, and, through conversation, I've found that most of them weren't looking for the attaboy, the accolade, or the praise. They were trying to scratch an itch, pick at a scab, or exorcise a demon.
so the three things I always try to remember are
- Every poet really is, partly, a frustrated rock star
- pull the next guy up
- remember it's "NOT FOR GLORY"
Because sometime I forget.