Most successes we have as poets are ones the real world doesn't understand anyway, but even if they could, we can't really share them in real time. We get to share our accomplishments in Poetry World Time (PWT), which means a small burst of excitement when you learn you won or will be printed, delayed by months or years, until your work is printed. PWT is slower than geological time, glacial time or Biblical time.
Poets must be masters of delayed gratification. Twitter, Facebook, instant 24 hour news and movies have groomed a society of people who expect and need instant gratification, but poets stand alone going against the tide. Is that because we are different from everyone else? Is that because we are better than others? Or, could it be because of how the poetry business works?
EXAMPLES OF POETRY SUCCESS
-I recently showed a poem to my hair dresser who chocked up, got all excited and said she wanted to buy the book this poem is printed in. I explained that it won a state award and would be in an anthology not available really to the general public and it wouldn't even be printed there for a year! A little difficult to close the sale when the customer is ready to buy if the product can't be made available for a year. However, I don't own the copyright on the poem, if I want it printed, until after the book is printed so I can't even distribute it myself.
-An editor of an international journal emailed back that one of my submitted poems for a contest was MAGNIFICENT! But she doesn't judge the contest and the results will not be known for six months. Hard to share that excitement when it may lead no where and even if it does publication will be months away.
-At a Poetry Festival recently one of the more experienced members of the group, actually an editor at Bat City Review, said that some of her poems were accepted up to 18 months after submission.
POETS FEED THE SEA
Poets climb a ladder that doesn't exit to a place that isn't there to reach a success that no one has ever seen or can identify. Well, we are poets so I guess if anyone should climb invisible nonexistent ladders it should be us, the scribes of things others can't see. Besides that, most of us don't write to climb the ladder or reach success, but we do yearn for our work to reach its audience and move their souls and most of us are quite willing to see our work recognized long after we are gone. So maybe we are truly the world's best at delayed gratification. Or, publishers know this and have decided that giving us some credit while we are alive should be gratification enough for any poet.We hunger for someone to validate our work as poets, but we know that it might not come in our lifetime. Yet, we climb on in search of an invisible success, what little there is. Even the best poets write their successes in sand that the waters of time constantly wash over and take out to sea. The one thing I know about poets and writers is that most of us write because we breathe and to feed the sea as the sand slips through the hands of Poetry World Time.