Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Getting Around the Block

Robert Peake has a great post on getting Back On The Writing Wagon . He posits:

"For me, poetry is like this. Usually, when I find myself wanting to work very hard, it is because I have not been writing consistently. ...The art of not pushing, but rather focusing on consistency, is alien to our fast-food culture. And yet, writing something daily is actually a form of instant gratification as well — a true and lasting gratification of actually having written, good or bad. It is also, ironically, good for one’s career. That is because publication and awards are a numbers game. And writing consistently produces a greater volume of higher quality work than an approach of fits and starts. At least, that has been my experience so far."

My response: What if you can’t tell what is of high quality and what isn’t anymore?

Robert: "Doesn’t that just go with being a poet, Nick? I’m there right now myself, beetling away toward this MFA manuscript, hearing other poets I respect tell me they think it’s good, convinced they must be temporarily insane; ..."

This brought up the argument - that it appears much easier to work in an MFA environment with the support of colleagues and professors. But what if you're on your own working without a safety net?

What if you a poet or writer that plies this sullen craft all on your own? How do you cope with periods of creative "self-wallowing" when everything you write seems hollow?


Pearl said...

self-wallowing? chocolate and kicking back and getting out to social to unroot or reset the mood. and keep writing anyway when you get home.

Pearl said...

or switch to editing or submit cycle anyway not looking for results, just motion.

Nick said...

Gotcha...! :-)

Anonymous said...

Heya Nick,

I don't think having a community of support is limited to the MFA experience by any means. We build our own safety nets and spheres of influence. It may just be a bit more ready-made in the MFA experience. But that doesn't necessarily mean it will gel. In fact, a single, honest poet friend can form a community of one. Sometimes those are the best.

Hang in there. As my boss likes to say, "we're all alone in this together."


Nick said...

In fact, a single, honest poet friend can form a community of one. Sometimes those are the best.

Therein lies the rub...

Pris said...

Hi Nick
I've only been writing since 1999 and in that time have been fortunate to find two poets who really are in sync with what I'm trying to do. They're my support/ask for help/feedback group. They're also honest. I'm grateful. I've not been in a MFA environment. My Ph.D. was in Psychology, but the years working as a Psychologist played its own role in fascilitating my poetry.

Nick said...


We seem to have similar backgrounds when it comes to poetry except that I come from a sociological perspective and have only been writing since 2003 or thereabouts....Still haven't found the kind of support group or source of feedback that you seem to enjoy though. Still looking'...