Monday, August 10, 2015
This is Your Heart, It's Alive, It's Pumping Blood
Most of the time I do not think I'm a deserving human. I don't know where it originated; actually, I have an idea but I don't want to get into it today. But now that my poetry is being combed through by professional poets the issue is getting recognized. And called out. It's terrifying in all the ways it could be and therapeutic in ways I can't understand.
First things: 1) In your letter you say (casually), "I, mostly, am the worst person." No. You aren't. Dick Cheney is the worst person. You know what else? I think this steady self-deprecation of yours is really some kind of mask -- something you deploy to ward off the world and to beat others to the punch -- or something.
That is an excerpt from the letter Mark Wunderlich wrote. To me. Yes, THAT Mark Wunderlich. And this Mark Wunderlich - and even THIS Mark Wunderlich. This man is my poetry mentor during my final term with the Writing Seminars at Bennington College. Can you believe the goodness? My luck? Can you? I can't. I still can't. I'm overwhelmed.
I ripped open my correspondence with Mark as soon as Andy put it in my hands, sat down on our kitchen floor and sobbed.
You rely on writing how you're a bad person, how you hurt other people, how you had an affair and everyone hated you, etc. Life is too fucking short. He goes on: I wonder what would happen if you just wrote a poem about being awesome? About how much you love the parts of your body, or your mind...? What would happen?
The letter went on and on with the most beautiful, personal, soul exposing words. He went through ALL of my poems and personally noted each one. Every single poem has his handwriting all over it. I am lucky. I am overpowered by what I get to experience, moved by my mentor, and down right scared to address the juggernaut of self-hate. But how exciting to think that I might deserve attention from an incredibly important poet, to think that I might be better than what I give myself credit for, to think that maybe, just maybe, I'll be okay.