My career as a poet


I was a poet, for a while.



I wrote poetry like a demon. I had notebooks full of lines, and words, and full poems, and sequences of poems, and sequences of sequences. I had a whole book planned out at one point, in five sections.



I won the Poetry Award at my college in my senior year, and I was sure it was a sign of future greatness.  You know how successful and wealthy and famous poets are! (Yes, I’m being sarcastic, just so you know. But when you’re twenty, it’s a heady feeling. It’s important to feel that way at twenty, I think.)



During the decade that followed, I wrote poetry constantly, and submitted it to the ten thousand little magazines that accept contributions. They changed all the time. A few are fixtures: Poetry, naturally, and the Kenyon Review. I never dared to approach them; I decided (sensibly) to build a reputation first. I got published! Always in little magazines. “Bardic Echoes,” I remember. I’d have to dig out the box of publications to remember the others. I’m sure they’re all long dead.



I had a last burst of poetic inspiration while I was in the Peace Corps, in my late twenties. I wrote pages and pages of doggerelish rhyming verse. Some of it was actually clever, I think.



Since then: nothing.



My friend Joanne recently sent me a copy of the college publication in which my prize-winning poem appeared in 1978. Ah Jesus!



I so badly wanted to be a real poet. More than that: I was sure that I was a poet, and would somehow suddenly erupt into notoriety as a famous poet . . .



It didn’t happen.



Ah well.



Maybe I’ll have a burst of creativity sometime between now and 2040 . . .





About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to

One Response to My career as a poet

  1. This is my dream still… though I am yet to start sending to literary magazines. Poetry ..oh…. and the fear of rejection or waking up from that dream.

    Still, I sometimes still write

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