Writers of all forms say they feel not simply drawn, but called to write. But when I was in grad school, I noticed something about the poets. Many seemed more mystically attached to what they did than the writers of prose. Those poets were not pretentious, but watching them, I got the feeling there was something purer, maybe gnostic, about the practice of poetry. Could poetry be a more athletic practice than prose, if only in the necessary distillation and economy of words? (I don’t mean to make too many generalizations about forms and writers: there are certain novelists who are or might as well be poets, or whose prose feels like poetry. I love reading a novel that feels like it was written by a poet.)
I’ve written poetry most of my life, but I always feel timid taking my poetry seriously. When it comes to poetry, I know I am a hobbyist. Not a real poet, but someone who visits the land of poetry on vacations, wearing garish clothing and the wrong shoes, talking too loud, and taking snapshots of the pretty sites. With a straight face, I can call myself a writer, but not a poet.
I need to work some light into that dark corner. I need to read and write more poetry.