RIDING IN CARS WITH POETS


the other day a poet posted on my facebook wall the preview for tonight’s episode of gossip girl which is called riding in towncars with boys. then on sunday I spent the entire morning riding around south bend and it was exceptionally grey. then today I was trying to not do homework so I watched riding in cars with boys thinking it would be a romantic comedy because it had drew barrymore in it and I had just watched a romantic comedy with drew barrymore in it. it was not at all a romantic comedy but I think it was the movie I was supposed to watch at that exact moment. which is all to say that I think there’s something strange happening in the universe, and my elle.com horoscope says in my weekly forecast that there’s a lunar eclipse in my house of collaborative efforts.

today I sent out phd applications and looked for jobs on craigslist and could not write poems because I was so burdened with the administrative duties of living in society (see feudalismisrad for a possible alternative). yesterday I did write poems so I assumed that today I also would and I did not.

I think it’s important to think about what it means to go to away to poetry school for two years, in my case in the middle of the country, and to engage with the internet as one necessarily now does. to have the absolute luxury of academic libraries and time to think. to be surrounded primarily with other people with these same luxuries.

mostly when I came to school I wanted a full-immersion baptism in poetry, like the seal in the elizabeth bishop poem about the fishhouses. that was the exact way I thought about it in my head. I thought a mighty craftsman a god and determined that I’d become mighty or die. and I came was baptized etc. and am still alive which means I have not given up the daily effort to acquire might.

because I believe that poetry is cosmically bestowed upon one in the manner of the divine rights of kings I sometimes think it is very unfair that poets are expected to make their way in the world like everyone else when they already have this incredible burden but sometimes I think it is a necessary weight. I cannot decide whether or not it is dangerous to make a living off of poetry at all let alone to make it very commercial, which is something I consider. I think it is very dangerous to poets and poetry and the world but I sometimes want to do it anyway.

once I met someone with an mfa in poetry. they were probably forty or something like that and I met them in a context almost but not entirely separate from poetry. I had just graduated from college and was in virginia for the summer doing the most sincere living I have ever done and I was going to get my mfa and I thought they were a god. and I remember they talked about their mfa with a kind of casual fondness, like summer camp. and I thought, I do not want it to be like that.

I don’t know if poets can belong to the world the way an adult “must” belong to it, to the structures and the things and the need to deal. and if it is part of the job of a poet and I increasingly believe it is that a poet is supposed to occupy a kind of neutrality or ambivalence in some areas so that they might serve as mediums or channels for the energy of art or beauty, perhaps poets must not belong completely to the world.

the first time I really thought about writing I was playing baseball and the sky was very blue and the baseball diamond was this brilliant russet and I thought the physical world sublimity itself and I didn’t have language for what that thought felt like.

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