genuine feelings/conflicted feelings/conflicted forms of expression/death (some personal thoughts from Blood Pudding Press editor/poet/person Juliet Cook)…

By Juliet Cook

I have mixed feelings about poetry open mics, because on one hand I do want to share parts of my creative self, but on the other hand, I often feel uncomfortable publicly sharing my poetry unless a literary magazine or press specifically chose to accept it for publication. Sometimes publicly sharing it in front of a crowd feels a bit too close for comfort to forcing myself upon other people. Granted that doesn’t necessarily make sense, because most of the people who attend poetry readings are other poetry people who chose to attend for poetic reasons, but I sometimes (possibly incorrectly) sense them looking away from me or rolling their eyes. I can visualize a specific guy looking away last time I read one of my poems in public, but that doesn’t mean I know WHY he chose to look away.

If I was chosen as a featured reader (rather than random open mic reader), I sometimes feel better about it – but overall, I still tend towards feeling edgy and/or somewhat awkward and/or rather uncomfortable.

However, I don’t want to be invisible or unknown or unseen or unheard or un-involved in the poetry scene. But with that said, I’m no scenester. I don’t want to attend reading after reading in order to be a big part of a particular scene, and not allow myself enough time to focus upon my personal creative process. I feel the need to focus quite a bit of my time and mental energy on creative processing and writing by myself.

But on the other hand, I do like to not only read other poets, but also listen to, meet, and sometimes interact with other poets. I don’t want any poets to feel un-heard (unless they want their whole process to be private), but I tend to relate to poets who are into the actual creation of poetry more than poets who are into being a big part of the poetry scene. I’m not saying some people can’t be significant parts of both to an extent. I think it’s a balancing act that different people balance differently.

I personally alternate between focusing on my own poetry – and focusing on other people’s poetry via my small indie print press (Blood Pudding Press) and my online blog style lit mag (Thirteen Myna Birds) – and sometimes reading my poetry/listening to other’s poetry in person/in public.

But the primary mental/emotional part of it for me and my personal poetic/artistic expression is via the actual writing and the actual poetry.

Also, I often feel like with my own poetry and my press poetry and my slow reading, I don’t have nearly enough time to focus on just reading for the sake of reading – whether online literary magazines or print chapbooks or books. I’m not kidding when I say that I literally have HUNDREDS of unread poetry chapbooks and books in my home, because I like to support small presses by acquiring books that seem appealing to me, but also my reading is WAY slower than it used to be (before my stroke) and my brain is different than it used to be, and I can’t read/process anything quickly, so it’s hard to combine my own writing with a print press with an online blog style mag with reading other stuff too. That change of my brain sometimes makes me feel sad.

But I’m happy to be a creative individual, primarily poetry focused, with occasional spurts of visual art.

***

On another level of sadness, I sometimes feel like I am terrible when it comes to talking non-poetically about certain emotionally devastating issues, including death.

I don’t just want to tell someone that I’m thinking of them or praying for them (even if that is true); I want to express more/deeper/more individualistically, but sometimes I don’t know what to say or how to say it, unless I say it poetically/artistically in a way that’s open to interpretation.


It’s not that I’m unemotional or don’t have real life feelings.

I think I’m good at expressing my feelings on a small scale personal level; but I’m not good at expressing my feelings on a larger scale level, in which lots of people are expressing themselves in rapid succession. I guess I’m not good at rapid succession?

I don’t like to open presents fast, because I want good gifts to last as long as they can.

I don’t like to express strong sadness fast, because I don’t want it to come close to ebbing too soon.


I don’t know if any of this makes logical sense.

I don’t know what to do sometimes.

I don’t know.

***

So sometimes when a poet I know suddenly dies, I don’t know what to say right away. I don’t want to be silent about it, but I also don’t want to be someone who hardly ever says anything about someone when they’re alive, but suddenly seems to have a lot to say shortly after they pass away.

But I certainly don’t want it to seem as if I’m ignoring someone after they pass away.

But I also have mild aphasia based memory issues that seem to further add on to my not knowing what to say.

I do know that poet Marthe Reed suddenly passed away and I feel sad and upset about it, but I do not know what to say in a larger scale way. I did not know her very well on a personal level, but I have been aware of her poetically for years. I think I initially became aware of her through the Dusie Kollektiv, which I was involved with for several years, which was a truly wonderful, unique, creative, incredibly poetic, individualistic, expressive experience. I’ve read several of Marthe Reed’s chapbooks and they still exist within my home space. I am aware of her Black Radish Books. I’ve seen and briefly met her in person at a writing conference I attended. I don’t remember what we might have said to each other, which upsets me. Online, I’ve heard her read with my poetic collaborator j/j hastain – Marthe Reed and j/j hastain were poetic collaborators too. I truly appreciate Marthe Reed’s long term genuine poetic passion and ongoing poetry flow. I feel sad that she’s passed away too soon and I feel for those who knew her on a more in depth personal level. I am glad that her poetry will live on.


Sometimes I feel like I don’t communicate enough on a personal emotional level, in large part because I tend towards becoming overly emotional, to the extent that loss devastates me.

But then I worry that my reluctance to express feelings about death on a personal level aside from art/poetry might cause it to seem as if I am just ignoring death and I am not.


***


Sometimes when I try my best to express my true feelings in the moment, I end up ruining things.

But sometimes if I don’t express myself, I feel too close to approaching stagnation.

Source:: Blood Pudding Press