Wednesday, April 06, 2005


I'm ashamed to admit that I was just reading an entertainment headline about the Desperate Housewives stars "flipping out" over a photo shoot. You know, who sits where, who wears what, who's on the inside flap of the magazine, etc. These women, according to the story, were really cutting up about the whole thing. And I was reading it thinking, what a bunch of babies--they should be happy that people will pay money to see them in a bathing suit, and that poets will PUSH ASIDE A DRAFT OF A POEM THAT IS GOING WELL to read about it.

It then hit me that poets and writers often behave in the same way. In my own life, I have been pulled into just this sort of controversy myself. And I am so dense that I thought all of us--and these are people I admire--were just trying to find a date that fit our schedules. What I really think is happening is that everyone is hustling for a better posiition on the program, and exclusive show . . . . whatever. My play is to duck my head and play dumb. I don't want to give up the gig, but I have no problems sharing, either.

I can't wait to see how this plays out. So mundane, and yet so interesting. I have to practice my cocktail party behavior so that I can see things in more than one dimension. Friends, that is going to take some work.


At 6:26 AM, Blogger David Vincenti said...

Not to make this about rank, but...

In poetry circles, and everywhere else I've ever seen this happen, I find there are three categories of performer: those modest and grateful to be part of a show, and willing to do whatever is best for it (call them Tier 1), those who look at their own accomplishments and conclude that they are "on the way up" and who need each performance to show them in a "better" light than the last one did (Tier 2), and those who are aware of their accomplishments and don't feel like any particular staging of them or their work will cause them much long-term grief (Tier 3).

The trick is to "duck (your) head and play dumb" long enough to let the temptations of Tier 2 pass you by.


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