SoCS: Poet

I am a poet. I claim the title, even though it isn’t the way I make a living or something for which I have academic credentials.  (Realistically, very few poets make a living at poetry.)

I read an essay a couple of years ago by a young, credentialed poet, who was published and had been an editor, but who still felt he shouldn’t be called a poet because he wasn’t suffering for his art in a garret somewhere.

I, however, don’t make it that complicated for myself.

I considered myself a poet before I was even published because it was what I felt I am, in the same way that I am a daughter, a spouse, a mother, a woman, a musician.

It’s what I am, not what I do.

Maybe it is easier for me because I don’t do paid work, so I don’t have a ready-made answer when someone asks what I do, by which they nearly always mean “what is your job?”

I can claim to be a poet, because it is a mode of expression that is important to me and that I have been working on developing.

I am also a late-developing poet, given that I have only started writing seriously in my fifties. In the last two years, I have been working on improving my poems through participating with the Binghamton Poetry Project (a community workshop run by grad students at Binghamton University), a group of local poets who meet regularly to critique each other’s work, and a new women’s group called Sappho’s Circle.

I am about to take another big step as a poet – attending a residency/workshop. I have been angsting/mulling this over the last couple of days, which you can read about here and here.

So, I think this weekend I am going to register.

It’s one of those things that we poets do.

Because of who we are.
This post of part of Linda’s Stream of Consciousness Saturdays. The prompt this week is “four-letter word.”  Join us! Find out how here:

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Author: Joanne Corey

Please come visit my eclectic blog, Top of JC's Mind. You can never be sure what you'll find!

15 thoughts on “SoCS: Poet”

  1. It’s so interesting that we have started doing these things we love seriously in our fifties. I feel like I’ve been waiting my whole life to get back to creative work, waiting to learn what I needed to learn first. It’s like coming home for me. I’m excited for you with your new adventure! Have fun!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, JoAnne! I think many of us develop or move to another level when we are in our 50s and I agree that it does have to do with learning so much from the experiences of earlier decades. One of the PhD candidates who facilitated my first Binghamton Poetry Project sessions told me that to be a good poet you need to be under 12 or over 40. I know that is not strictly true, but I think that it does point out a certain freedom that comes with age, re-capturing the ability of children to create without stressing over others’ judgement.


  2. As far as I’m concerned, if you write poetry, you are a poet. If you create art, you are an artist. If you write, you are a writer. Many people are not consumed with the desire to do these things, and therefore they are not these things (and happily so most likely) You are definitely a poet! 🙂


        1. Definitely! I’m not sure what my online access situation will be while I am there – or if I will have time to blog. I’d love to be able to blog about the experience every day, for my readers and as a way to record my thoughts while they are fresh so that I can return to them later.

          Liked by 1 person

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