When am I a poet?
Not at thirteen, with notebooks scribbled full of terrible free verse (line after line of I, I, I). Not at university, learning at last to look out into the world. Not now, with scraps of linked words pecking at my brain like hungry birds. Perhaps never.
It is time to stop dreaming of what I may be, and learn to write.
Jobless, and still waiting for genius to seize my brain, I may as well improve my time.
The goal: to improve my writing, both in quantity and in variety of form. I've been in love with words -- I want to learn to wrestle them, sweat with them, bend them, push them, trick them, be surprised by them again.
The tool: this textbook from my college days.
The method: in one year, work through all the forms described in the book. Play with them. Write something -- anything.
The muses: the ones who really are poets, the old ones and the new ones.
And if I am after all no poet, at least I will have written out those pecking, pecking words.
(The title of this post comes from this poem by Dana Levin.)