Poem to the New Poets by Jessie Carty

 

“You’re so vain, you probably think this song is about you” ~ Carly Simon

 

Sometimes the question arrives             poet

after a reading, but most often

it’s a comment appended

to a status update or a reply to a reply

to a reply on an old blog post:

How do you make a living as a poet?

 

I want to answer with my own question:

Define living? Do you mean

how does poetry keep you

from succumbing to the melancholy

of a mall job or the cramped fluorescent

coma of the nine to five cubicle?

 

But I know your question is about money.

You think a published book (or five),

a website, a featured reading

out of town must add up to income.

 

Instead of answering the implied question

I tell them to read; to support the words

that made them first want to write;

to join in the conversations

of rhyme, form, and metaphor.

 

This is not what they want to hear.

They don’t buy my book

or any books. They fold the poems

they were going to hand me,

wishing for a free critique,

and place them back in their folder.

They always have the nicest folders.

Some will stop following my blog.

Others might post their poetic drafts

on my Facebook feed. Many will

self-publish, ask for blurbs or reviews.

 

But, sometimes, there’s one

who will tell me what they are reading,

who will ask for new suggestions

of places to go where poets share their work,

who will give me the idea

for a poem, and I will thank them.

 

20130913_083930Jessie Carty’s writing has appeared in publications such as MARGIE, decomP and Connotation Press. She is the author of six poetry collections which include the chapbook An Amateur Marriage (Finishing Line, 2012), which was a finalist for the 2011 Robert Watson Prize. Her newest collection, Morph, was published by Sibling Rivalry Press in the fall of 2013. Jessie is a freelance writer, teacher, and editor. She can be found around the web, especially here.

 

Jessie Carty
Jessie Carty's writing has appeared in publications such as MARGIE, decomP and Connotation Press. She is the author of six poetry collections which include the chapbook An Amateur Marriage (Finishing Line, 2012), which was a finalist for the 2011 Robert Watson Prize. Her newest collection, Morph, was published by Sibling Rivalry Press in the fall of 2013. Jessie is a freelance writer, teacher, and editor. She can be found around the web, especially at jessiecarty.wordpress.com.

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