My most helpful poem reader, Dana Salvador, crossed out all the to-be verbs from the first batch of poems I sent to my writing group, ever. She didn’t judge me. She asked me for more descriptions.
Even though I had yearned to write and publish poems, I feared my previous experience of my self-perceived failures, which included getting my ass handed to me in workshop along with countless rejections, so I was scared to submit my poems to my friends. This was back a few years in 2019.
In reality, I never seriously worked on and submitted my poems. I didn’t have a writing strategy, and I was really good at making myself feel like garbage. Welcome to my world…
It’s a place where I sometimes make myself feel like garbage. It’s not fun, but it’s familiar. Was my writing all that bad? My most critical judges had always been other poets AND MYSELF. Dana wasn’t like that.
She could give me feedback without making me feel judged. She is a kind and compassionate teacher. I have learned more from her about writing poetry than I did in my whole college career.
This brings me back to revising my poems and sending them out. I started writing poems more frequently, when I started teaching poetry in a three-genre creative writing class. Poetry called to me, like something in my life was missing.
I still have a nonfiction manuscript I will return to, but right now mid-semester, writing poems feels more manageable to me, and I think it’s okay for a person to write only because it feels good. So I’m writing and revising.
If you know a generous and kind reader, you pretty much have it made.