42 Feet of Rebellion

Crikey, am I a poet? I’ve been asking myself that question lately.

This Saturday, Sept. 17, we are super excited to display Hyde Park’s Longest Poem, 42 feet of poetry at the Hyde Park Art Center. The poem was created by Indie City Writers and people in Hyde Park over the course of a summer day. I wrote some feet... and

kind of came up with the crazy idea. Forty-two feet may seem like a lot, but over the course of my life so far, I’ve probably written miles.

According to the dictionary if you Google it, a poet is “a person who writes poems.” Another definition is “a person possessing special powers of imagination or expression.”

I hesitate to call myself a poet. I do not have “special powers.” I wish I could say that I was some kind of action hero. I admire people who are willing to don the cape.

Sometimes I think of different types of writing as languages. I like the language of fiction best, poetry is another language, journalism is yet another. You get the idea. I love speaking all of them. But I’m more fluent in some than others. I take poems the same way I take photographs. I write a lot of them and a few turn out.

Would I consider myself a poet if I had gotten an A in my poetry class back in school rather than an A-? Why did I give a professor that power to determine who I was? Do I still? He didn’t like my revisions. He said I cut too much out. He liked my first drafts better. I was a senior in high school taking a class with college kids. It never occurred to me that an A- was a good grade. Looking back, this professor was right. I did cut too much out. But instead of taking that feedback and pushing forward, I tried to cut poetry out of my life all together, for a time.

Over time, my poetry has gotten better, but I’ve actually gotten worse at sharing it. I’m self conscious about it because it feels so personal and at times self-indulgent. “Share my poetry? I’d rather walk down the street naked!” I’ve said that to people on more than one occasion. I like the freedom of writing for myself.

But on Saturday, I’ll give it a try, reading a few poems that is. (Don’t worry. I’ll be fully clothed.) I like trying things that get me out of my comfort zone, even if my hands and voice shake. If you want to check out the event page, visit https://www.facebook.com/events/1084389351598322/

http://hpherald.com/2016/08/24/community-writes-hyde-parks-longest-poem/

https://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20160908/hyde-park/writers-prepare-read-hyde-parks-longest-poem-at-42-feet

And really, who the heck cares what you call it or what you call me.

I’ll write what I want to write.

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