Sometimes things go in cycles, and this week my poetry cycle must be on an upswing. First, I heard from The Texas Review that they are accepting 4 new poems, and then I heard from Louisiana Literature Press that the proofs of Down to the Dark River were ready for review. I have one poem in this anthology of Mississippi River poems, and felt blessed to see all the names of other poets I admire in the table of contents, several of whom I have been fortunate to meet over the years.
Then tonight, I had the good fortune to attend a reading by Terrance Hayes, who is arguably one of the best poets writing today. The reading was fabulous — Hayes made the reading comfortable and accessible, as if we were all just sitting around in a living room talking poetry, not in an auditorium. I loved that he talked syntax with he crowd of mostly students, and that he told about coming to poetry through art and basketball — a basketball scholarship took him to university, where he first studied art before landing on poetry — and that he counted rap and hip-hop artists, as well as Gwendolyn Brooks, Robert Hayden, and John Keats among his early influences. I’m sure he inspired more than a few people in the room to follow their creative bent.
All this reminds me how important it is to cultivate the good creative times when you can. Go to readings or other art shows. Write and follow your creative muse as far and as long as you can. Be around other writers whenever possible. Like any cycle, there will come times when you feel like you’re writing on your own or that the successes are few and far between. Let the momentum of the good weeks carry you through the dry times.