Tuesday, April 06, 2010
Sometimes I Just Want to Be Identified as Poet
I wear so many hats. I always have. The list of jobs, affiliations, the huge Venn Diagram of my spheres of influence is confounding, at best. I have been a multi-tasker since I was young, the daughter of a multi-tasker. I have always thought being busy nonstop was what life is all about.
I am nearly through the school season this year, just 2 more weeks of teaching this month and I am done for 2009-10. I will end with high schoolers. There are a lot of implications in teaching high school: the ability to assume a deeper conversation (at times), the hope that skills will be keener, but the tests can be just as challenging, even frustrating. But I have also found that every age group or grade level provides me with blessings and challenges, during which I always have the opportunity to grow.
This week, before I head to my last residency of the year, I will first go to Denver for the annual AWP conference, a gathering of writers...thousands of writers. It boggles the mind. Words will be everywhere. Discussions on craft, panels discoursing on the minutiae and the grand understandings, readings, sneaking away with friends from other parts of the USA, a couple of beverages to be consumed, most likely. Then there is the trick-or-treating at the book fair! Yahoo!
For years, I only attended arts-in-education conferences because that learning strand was necessary to the job I held as well as to the development of my practice as a teaching artist. Since I became self supporting as a freelance teaching artist and poet, I have discovered a new relationship with the definition of work. Now, when I sit down with a collection of poetry by a friend or emerging writer who has been recommended to me, it is not cheating; it is a part of my work. One of the best aspects of my new career path has been the beauty of reading again. How can a writer grow if reading is not a habit?
At AWP, I will attend some of the Writers in the Schools Alliance events to listen and share. I will also be sure to find readings by poets I love or want to hear how the cadence of their voices mold their language. I will sneak off for a couple of meals in a small group of other writers. Perhaps I will find a group of writers identifying with the label "Dancer" at some point and blow off some steam from sitting in an ocean of words. I will have 3 days in which I will wear one hat...the one that reads "POET" in purple embroidery, the invisible hat that I wear underneath all the others every day.