The other day on Facebook there was a question about whether Lucien Carr was a poet (if you don't know who that is, do some research - it's required knowledge for a Kerouac fan). I asked for a definition of "poet" because I often struggle with understanding that label. I have posted a lot of poems on my other blog, Words Are My Drug of Choice. Does that make me a poet? Does one have to be published to be a poet? Does self-publishing count? Does posting on a blog count as being published? What about being published in an obscure little print ? Once. Does that make you a poet? Does reading your original poems at an event make you a poet? Or does having a poetic spirit make one a poet, despite written output and public performances?
I often see poems in the newspaper's Thursday supplement and more often than not I think to myself: I've written poems that good! But, hey, dude: that's just like, uh, my opinion, man.
Bottom line: I don't know what makes someone a poet and I sure don't know if I am one. I know my friend, Charlie James, is a poet. It's an unassailable fact. Why? A number of reasons, but not the least being that he writes amazing poems. And his self-published book of poems won first place in the 18th Annual Writer's Digest Self-Published Book Award in the poetry category.
Anyway, for all "poets" near enough to make a trip to Waterville, Maine in April, check out this call for original poems by Maine Poetry Express (an initiative of Maine Poet Laureate Wesley McNair): click here.
I sent three along just for kicks (and joy and darkness). And to feed my fantasy that I'm a poet.
Whatever that word means....