This post has sat in my drafts for over a year while I’ve thought about whether or not to post it. It’s been rewritten and tweaked multiple times, but I think it is time.
Let’s have a discussion. (Long post ahead.)
I am not a teacher. I don’t work for education. I don’t edit a literary journal. I have no writing degree, graduate or otherwise. And yet I am a poet.
I write this because it seems like nearly all of the poet blogs, poet bios, and poet anything I see about poets mentions at least one of those things. Teaching, editing, and fancy degrees. And these are all noble things. I am thankful to teachers and editors. We need them. Degrees of higher learning can be very beneficial. But they do not define the making of a poet.
Poetry is a notoriously low (or nearly no) paying job. There is no harm or shame in keeping a day job when you are a writer of any kind. Only the lucky few get to have “making up words” as their only job. Having a day job that has nothing to do with the written word does not discredit the writer. Having a degree in something other than language or writing, or even no degree at all, does not discredit the writer. And yet, it is easy to feel like it does. Continue reading