Sunday, October 16, 2011

Explaining L.A. poetry community to outsiders: the concept of "emerging poets."

Taking the stage, it's G. Murray Thomas from the above link to explain how you can be an "emerging poet" even if you've put in a number of years in service to the concept of "community" (highlighting by me):
"Now I’m supposed to discuss an emerging poet I respect. But in a poetry world where reputations can take years to build, what qualifies as emerging? Does it have to be someone new to the scene, or can a poet who has been around for years, but not gotten the recognition (I feel) he deserves fit the bill? I have seen too many poets languish in semi-obscurity to not opt for the latter.
Therefore, my choice is Larry Colker, a poet who is a longstanding figure on the SoCal poetry scene, but is probably better known for co-hosting the long running Redondo Poets series than for his own writing. Even while hosting, he is more likely to read someone else’s poetry than his own. (In fact, he opens every reading with a poem by another poet he likes.) I find this happens quite often in the poetry scene, that those who spend the most time promoting other poets often find their own works neglected."

In my opinion, "emerging" is a tag which should belong to newcomers of one to five years--and "honored" should be the word for the kind of veterans Murray describes in the second portion of his definition.

It's safe to guess that some poets who have spent years/decades in service (and waiting his/her turn to "arrive" ) may be a bit personally irked by being called "emerging."

But, if they've been active in the community for a certain length of time, they avoid complaining and just accept it as one of the conditions of belonging.

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