My Underwear Drawer

I’m doing a casual two-week online set of poetry exercises, and it’s making me even more aware than usual of my own reticence about sharing any poetry I write. I’ve previously compared my poems to a box of sex toys…kept private and shared only with very special people in very special circumstances. The more recent part of it began when I learned more about submission rules, but much of it is older.

With the exercises I’m doing, a lot of my reluctance has to do with fear of being judged only by the exercise I’ve just produced. I worry that the quick piece I just dashed off will now be the basis for someone deciding whether I am a budding “real poet” or not. It’s like showing someone my underwear drawer at a moment’s notice.

There’s some real-world validity to my desire not to be judged by a poetry exercise, because an exercise by its very nature may constrain me. I might be writing in a completely new form, or writing a light or humorous poem. Whatever the parameters are, they’re likely to take me in an odd direction. It’s understandable that I wouldn’t want these to be interpreted as representing my poetic voice.

That being said–get over yourself, Lori. Keep doing the exercises and letting your fellow students see them, stains and all.

5 responses to “My Underwear Drawer

  1. Loved this, it not only made me laugh, but it’s definitely how I feel about sharing poetry. I rarely do because I don’t want to be judged, and like you, it’s absolutely like a box of sex toys! (that was hilarious) But this is a new me, brand new, and I thought what the hell! (*as I also said in my very first post on wordpress recently) So kudos to you for sharing and joining in the fun!

  2. Most of us have felt that way at least once or twice! 🙂 I liked this article about silencing your inner critic: http://www.nytimes.com/2001/03/12/arts/writers-on-writing-ok-you-re-not-shakespeare-now-get-back-to-work.html?pagewanted=all

    “Love your material. Nothing frightens the inner critic more than the writer who loves her work. The writer who is enamored of her material forgets all about censoring herself. She doesn’t stop to wonder if her book is any good, or who will publish it, or what people will think. She writes in a trance, losing track of time, hearing only her characters in her head.”

  3. I can definitely relate!
    The poems I post for the Writing 201 class are first, maybe second, drafts. They are just scribbles on an electronic page.
    However, I do think most of my blog will be scribbles. I’m doing this more for myself than anyone else. It’s a way for me to make myself write – even when I’m busy or the muse isn’t hitting me – even when I will never touch the poems again.

    So not just for this class, but for my blog as a whole, I’d be disappointed if someone disregarded me as a poet based on a small glimpse into my writing. (PS I’m not saying it’s great or anything.)

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