Saturday, March 25, 2006

A blankness of spirit

Last night, I attended a poetry reading by Donald Hall and Joyce Peseroff of Jane Kenyon's work. She is one of my favorite poets--her work has a clarity and deceptive simplicity that has always spoken to me. It is stealth poetry at its absolute finest.

As I sat in that darkened auditorium, listening to Jane's widower read in his gruff, well-worn voice, I felt a selfish sadness. At the reception, poets and writers knew one another from MFA programs or other readings and were comfortably schmoozing in twos and threes. I went to the reading alone and felt like the the unpopular girl at the fringes of the High School prom.

I don't fully understand why--I am a grown, confident woman. I have spoken to national audiences in my profession with comfort and skill. Aside from my poetry, I have completed one novel and am nearly halfway through a second. I have nothing to be ashamed of in a company of writers.

And yet. . .

And yet I didn't feel as if I belonged. And my secret fear is that I don't belong. That no matter how much I polish my writing, it won't connect with an agent/publisher/reader.

Still, I must write. If you cut me, words tumble from the wounds.

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