Tuesday, July 14, 2009

a brief note on the SUN

A few people misunderstood my Some of my best friends are poets . . . post. I've met hundreds of poets from all over the place. There are a number of poets who I consider very near and dear friends. I don't think poets are (in general) awful or rotten or anything like that. I think poets are an important and good thing, like the SUN . . .

. . . and let me tell you about the SUN, cause I've been spending a lot of time in its rays as of late. I enjoy the SUN. I have a good time in the SUN. Many fond memories. I plan on going back into the SUN, often. Also, it does all sorts of important things. Without it there'd be no life. But I have to be very careful in the SUN. I have to protect myself from the SUN. I have to limit my time in its rays. I am easily SUNburned. I still have a line on my upper left arm from a SUNburn from last year. When I was at the beach last month I wore 50 SPF, reapplied throughout the day and spent 70% of my time under an umbrella and still I got SUNburn. I'd wear a higher SPF, but then my skin gets irritated from the chemicals

I realize that my skin is more susceptible and sensitive than most others', my skin wasn't always this sensitive. I would love to not have to worry about SUN exposure. But this is the skin I have now and I need to be conscious of it, else I'll get burned or possibly poisoned.

I get poetburned, if I'm not careful. On a few occasions I've been poetpoisoned.

Because I'm sociable and outgoing, people often don't understand that I'm an introvert (being shy has nothing to do with introversion). An introvert is someone who is energized by being alone and whose energy is drained by being around other people. I find poets to be especially energy draining. I am often overwhelmed spending extended periods at large conferences or events. That doesn't mean I can't chat up a storm while I'm being overwhelmed. I often do, and like a hangover the next morning, I pay for it. Some people have scoffed at this, but I'm not making it up. Sometimes I become physically ill.

In conclusion, poets are not bad, they're succubi.

Thank you for reading my brief note on the SUN.


  1. Succubi? Really?

    I don't really understand this, unless, say, you are in an MFA program as a teacher or a student and find yourself surrounded by poets 24/7. When I lived in DC and NYC or even the suburban outlying regions, I never found it too difficult to avoid swarms of poets–in fact, I have never found it difficult to avoid anywhere that I have lived. That is, unless I was organizing readings or in school, in which case I could only blame or thank myself.

    And even if you are involved in publication, how hard can it be? It seems as though 90% of the work is done via this very method here, rather than face to face. And that the majority of the work–selection, editing, design, print–involve a small number of like-minded, carefully selected individuals. Don't you have to seek out such en masse encounters? And if so, why would you if it leads you to feel physically ill through the presence of unwanted succubi?

    I have been in and around poets for 35 years now. I only say that because even after that amount of time, I really find it difficult to characterize them as a single or limited type, much less a type that overwhelm or drain me or make me ill. Yes, there are certain people who annoy me, and some of them are poets. And I imagine I annoy some people, and some of them are poets. But to generalize? I think it is easy enough to say this about large groups of any variety; after all, would it really be that much different with a large group of auto mechanics?

    I don't mean to extoll the virtues of the poet as friend or companion. It's just that this commentary does bother me a bit. It seems a little DON'T LOOK BACKish, somehow, a little rock star like.

    And don't get me going on rock stars. I would hate to be in a crowd of them (well, I probably won't ever have to – that funny ship has sailed, without me, I think, to its relief.)

  2. Tortilla, I'm not following your argument. Or why you're even making one. I'm describing my experience and my feelings. Because YOU don't experience being around people the way I do, my experience is invalid?

    I get exhausted, physically and emotionally when I'm around people for an extended period of time. I experience this considerably more intensely and frequently with poets. I don't know about rock stars, I've never spent much (any) time with them.

    And yes, I do attend literary events and conferences. And as I described above, sometimes its overwhelming. Which is why I do them only occasionally. Which is why I live in the suburbs and don't hang with poets on a daily basis. It's just too much for me to maintain on an ongoing basis. It is what it is.

  3. All hale, fellow introvert. I actually leave the house to go to my critique groups (poets) and while I love them, I then scurry back to my house pronto. Sometimes poetry gatherings are insufferable. Sometimes they are grand. My friends are a few poets and some non-poet types. I like my garden. Especially the trees.

  4. Beth, it's good to finally be understood!