Today, I awoke to a message from a pretty well-known and well-respected poet. I had essentially cold-called her for a blurb for the upcoming book. As a poet who has only studied briefly with Ilya Kaminsky and Deborah Digges (no longer living), this has been a real learning experience—how to approach professional writers for support on your work when they already have so much in their own lives to focus on. They are parents, professors, physicians, spouses, research center developers, on top of producing volumes of novels, creative nonfiction, poetry books, so I guess I should be pleased that it took me this long to finally write something that may have hit an uncomfortable chord with another poet. I called her a slam poet. Apparently, she doesn’t consider herself this anymore. And even though I have seen her work appear in journals, sometimes alongside mine under the category of slam, and even though I do admire her, it showed ignorance. And maybe I did it because I have slam on my mind, the Grand Slam approaching at Town Hall on April 19, 2014, or maybe I was just carelessly applying a term where none was needed, or maybe I didn’t do enough research.
Going forward, I vow to do more homework. And if I ever have the honor of being approached to write a blurb in the way, way future for someone in a similar position to me—in medical school sans MFA—I will seriously consider it.