"PAY IT FORWARD" -- A *)(*&)&%^& POETICS
A poet sent me a manuscript. He is requesting a blurb. He didn't ask ahead of sending the manuscript whether I would be inclined to give a blurb (you peeps who know me know my, um, attitude to blurbs, yah?), whether I would have time to read his manuscript, whether a blurb is subject to my actually liking the poems....he just landed his ejaculation on moi in-box. Nearly 200 pages.
And. He requested the blurb "next week."
Whenever I've requested blurbs (not for myself in recent years but for others), I give months for blurbers to do them because I want to be respectful of their schedules.
None of that here.
But I'm going to do it. I'm going to give him a blurb.
Why? Because in that request lies a lifetime of insecurities and neediness and ego with which we all are afflicted but seems to get heightened among artists -- an occupational hazard, perhaps? And I don't want to respond with my knee-jerk reaction of thinking this poet to be an insecure, needy, egotistical jerk.
In my newbie poet phase, I was once an insecure, needy, egotistical jerk (well, I'm still a jerk but hopefully not as much as I used to be). But back then, I had a rare mentor who took my shit and didn't reject. So now I PAY IT FORWARD. I am compelled to pay it forward. (Actually, I'm fine with paying it forward -- but why paying forward has to be a *)*^%^&^& pain in the butt...!? !? !?)
And, after all, there are the poems. "The poem is the poet's best self" (or something like that)--Ted Berrigan
In a way, I consider this blurb request a test. I've had a horrific two-to-three weeks with various encounters with poets -- I don't know why they all occurred simultaneously in the same period; but on top of my usual multi-tasking schedule, the experience is enough to make me return to hermit-dom.
Then this blurb request. I'm going to do it. I'm going to be generous and compassionate...and get beyond you other poets who so often take advantage of others -- who so often take advantage of my stupidly stupidly stupidly generous self.