Poem in Poetry Daily! (+ Last Night's Hugo House Reading)
Earlier this year, I published a poem called "Judas" in the Cincinnati Review, and I didn't share it online anywhere because suddenly it felt too messy. Too... something. Uncooked, maybe. Also, the content was vulnerable. The combo made me nervous, so I decided to let it slip out into the world as quietly as possible.
Today Poetry Daily undercut that plan mightily, and I'm grateful. I've been receiving messages from people all over the world (Berlin, Iowa, North Carolina...) who've read the poem, thanking me for writing it.
I don't know when I'll stop being surprised by this cycle, which seems to occur so consistently in my creative life:
Step 1: I write something that excites me. It feels hot to the touch, interesting, vulnerable.
Step 2: I show it to another poet. They point to places where it's "trying to do too much." They suggest cutting the parts I find the gutsiest.
Step 3: I question all my earlier instincts, but can't figure out how to revise it in a way that satisfies both the feedback and myself.
Step 4: I publish the poem, but I feel like a failure.
Step 5: Readers react positively, giving me permission to embrace the version that I believed in originally.
May we all put more trust our instincts and dare, occasionally, to leave the mess in.
Oh, and here, apropos of nothing, are some photos from a very fun reading I did last night with M’Bilia Meekers and Daniel Poppick at Hugo House!