Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Should Poets Retire?

Athletes do it - and I don't mean using steroids. Professionals from most walks of life do it. So why shouldn't poets meet mandatory conditions for retirement? What if the creative spark blows out and does not rekindle in phoenix-life fashion? Might this happen at any age or is it age-specific? (Have I asked enough questions already?)

Is there an age when one's poetic acuity wanes? The mind after all, much like its fleshy counterpart declines in later years. Are some more established (perhaps over-established) poets rehashing old rhetoric - much like a one-trick pony? Difficult to say isn't it, since the creative process cannot be quantifiably studied, measured and/or defined. What triggers a creative episode in one poet might very well have no effect in another.

I had better stop thinking about this as it is over-taxing my brain and giving me migraines. I'm ready for my cup of cocoa. Just thinking out loud....


Collin Kelley said...

I would like to think that most poets know when their work has degraded and would either work to make it better or give up. Some older great poets' work I love wavers, but even in the humdrum there is something fantastic. I'm thinking of Margaret Atwood's latest, The Door. I adore her -- she's one of my muses. But the new book is a bit musty and mushy, and yet there is still brilliance.

vegetablej said...

I like the poems I've read from _The Door_ and think some of them are very pertinent to what you are talking about here. You can go to Google Books to read quite a few of them online.

Thanks to your commentor for the heads up.