Blogger's down this morning, and I'm so addicted to blogging that I'm sitting here "blogging" in Microsoft Works. What that means, as has been proven to me every time I've attempted it, is that there's a real chance that this post will never be seen, and that if it is, it will only be after 15 minutes replacing the characters that turn into nonsense when you paste them into the blogger text field.
I've decided to go ahead and continue doing that newsletter after all. It's not as though it's a labor-intensive process, and I only have to do it once a month. The last few months have been all but impossible to get accomplished because I wasn't really doing poetry or anything poetry related. Life was busy teaching me another lesson these last few months, and poetry, though one of the loves of my life, fell to the wayside, along with laundry, dishes, and dusting. All important parts of a day, but, for a while, were shuffled down through the list of priorities.
The last few days, though, I've found myself visiting more poetry sites, reading ezines, looking at contests and calls for submissions. Apparently, I'm sliding (albeit slowly) back into poetry, and will have the tools and information with which to compile a worthwhile newsletter. The last few have been sadly lacking and unenthusiastic. April's edition didn't even mention that it was National Poetry Month, which is typically a big deal with me, and I don't remember, but I don't think it even included the IBPC winners, which I always add.
So, one of the places I'm trying to re-assimilate with is Moontown Cafe (for which I handle the aforementioned newsletter.) At one time in my life it was my addiction, even more so than my blog has become. There is a wealth of poetry there, ranging in quality from novice to well-crafted. The poets that post there are of all ages and experience levels and I enjoy reading (almost) all of it. I think every post has something worthwhile, even if it's in the form of what-not-to-do. That, in my opinion, is the most rewarding thing about performing a critique: it makes you evaluate the author's every word choice and question every aspect of their execution. I have learned more about poetry from giving and receiving critiques than I can put words to. The value of well thought out constructive criticism is one of the many invaluable lessons that Moontown has given me. That, and the joy of online friendships, and virtual families.
Learning so greatly affects poetry. I don't believe that formal education is a prerequisite to "successful" poetry, but I do believe that a writer has to have learned not only the basics of grammar, the tools of poetry, and the nuances of language, but also the inflections of their personal life experience. Nothing raises my "oh lord" factor more than dry poetry written by a stagnant poet. On my list of Dislikes, it is second only to poetry that beats the intellectual breast of the author.
And yet, I have learned from both, once I realized that there is always something to be learned, if only I choose allow it.