The Poet Takes a Bike Ride
I have usually done this on a bicycle.”
– Kay Ryan, “The Poet Takes a Walk,” from Synthesizing Gravity
When does one become a poet?
When I have led poetry workshops and participants have asked me this question, I have told them, If you write poems, you’re a poet. But that answer doesn’t satisfy me.
Is it having a poem published? Or does it need to be a chapbook? Does it have to win a prize? Or get noticed by someone noticeable?
But—I argue with myself—you have notebooks full of poems.
Most aren’t anything special, I counter.
But you’ve haiku-ed every single day for five years. You’re in year six.
Most aren’t proper haiku.
But you think in poetry. You feel poetry, like blood coursing along every road you bike. When pedaling uphill in Canada, you passed a gate with a bee logo, and the sign said the name of the farm was Innisfree, and you recited Yeats’ poem aloud, very breathily.
Well, yes. There’s that.
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