A friend recently wrote to compliment me on a poem of mine he’d seen in a magazine. It is always lovely to receive positive responses to work, either from people I know or from those I have yet to meet.
The rest of my friend’s e-mail explained that, with regard to his own work (he is a fine and highly productive poet) he was feeling rather low since there was no prospect of publication of his pamphlet on the horizon. My friend’s predicament is not unusual. There are many poets, some of whom have in fact achieved a great deal of ‘success’ who feel lost and ignored. It is easy to dismiss this as indulgence, but people who make art of any kind are susceptible to dips in self-esteem brought about by perceived invisibility or worse, ‘failure’.
Aspects of what might be termed modern ‘competition culture’ might contribute to feelings…
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