I am a poet. That doesn’t factor much into my days as a stay-at-home mom. I don’t get out to listen to poetry much (let’s say once a year maybe) and have only performed my own work twice in the last four years, once while I was pregnant and once in 2008.
When I got pregnant, I stopped being able to write my own poetry or read or listen to anyone else’s. I couldn’t make it make sense. Mothering called for me to think and be so literal and in the moment that metaphors and images moved out of my reach. I realize this doesn’t happen for all poets, but it did for me. I could write prose, could blog, but poetry felt impossible.
Since I couldn’t write poetry, in 2008, I went back into my old poems and started submitting any that hadn’t already been published. I had a whole book of work I’d completed when I earned my Master’s in Fine Arts degree in poetry.
Sending out my work meant getting a lot of rejections. It almost always does. But I was sending out the poems so consistently and submitting so many poems, I was receiving a lot of rejections, one after another. And then an acceptance would roll in. Then more rejection. But today, I added six poems to my Publications page. It felt great. Each time someone wants one of my poems, I want to give Sally Field’s “You really really like me” Oscar speech.
The timing is especially good because April is National Poetry Month and I’m planning to write 30 poems in 30 days. This past November, I received a writing prompt a day and wrote 29 poems in 30 days. Besides those 29, I may have two other poems I’ve written since 2005. So writing 30 more in April feels exciting.
I’m also getting ready to start an online writing group similar to one Mike has been in for a couple of years. He shared the details with me this past weekend so I could get things going once April is over. Mike and I met at a poetry reading and worked in the poetry slam together for years. We had a poetry reading the night before our wedding and poems woven into the service, the invitations, everything.
Because poetry has been so far from me since I got pregnant, it has been just one more thing that made me feel distant from Mike, and from myself. It felt great to be able to talk to Mike about poetry, to be reminded of something we share besides our son, something that still connects us.
Mostly though, it just feels good to be moving back to something that I love, that has been a part of my identity since at least the fourth grade when my first poem was published in the school anthology (a horribly sappy metaphor in which an ocean wave represents the crush I had on Nate Bryan).
What is the thing you love, that helps make up your identity? How do you make room for it in your life?
Post from MamaTRUE