Saturday, January 19, 2008
"One thing I learned for myself, and try to communicate to poets who seem to be having a hard time with the whole idea of being a poet as opposed to a so-called productive member of society, is that like every job, being a poet has its very predictable occupational hazards. If you’re going to be a carpenter you will have to get up early and lug stuff around a lot and occasionally whack your thumb with a hammer; if you want to be an academic, you’ll have to deal with a lot of garbage to get tenure; and if you’re a poet, you’re going to feel like a loser staring at a piece of paper all day while everyone else is at their “real” jobs. Your parents are going to be worried, you’re going to have to move around a lot, and people are always going to be confessing to you that they don’t really understand anything you’ve just said. If you can’t handle those things—and there’s nothing wrong with wanting a more stable life, one that doesn’t require so much explanation to others and yourself—then you shouldn’t be a professional poet."