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gratitude, or “a blogging poet’s progress report”

January 13, 2011

In a series of job interviews in the last few weeks, I have had the opportunity to reflect on my work as a blogging poet (the job requires use of blogs, Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms). As I confessed on Tuesday, I often fail to see myself (and my efforts) accurately. But I have to say I am confident that my efforts as a blogging poet have lead me exactly where I wanted them to lead me.

When I started blogging (not surprisingly, Jill and I began at roughly the same time), I had a toddler, a pre-schooler and a first-grader. There weren’t a lot of places I could go with such a tribe. I was looking for community first-and-foremost, and so the Internet was a life-saver. Nearly five years later, in addition to a thriving community of writers, I have mentors and lasting friendships. Many I have met IRL; some I am blessed enough to call family.

I not only wanted to meet other poets, but I also wanted to work on craft and build the confidence to submit my work to journals. It seems to be working. I have learned so much about writing and reading poetry, and I have been introduced to the processes and poems and books of dozens and dozens of poets. I have connected with several projects (poem-a-days in April and November, for example, Poetry Postcards and the current river of stones) that keep me motivated and humble. I have learned just as much by “giving back” to the community as part of fantastic creative teams at Read Write Poem and Big Tent Poetry and through participation in Ouroboros Review, Voice Alpha, Poets’ Quarterly and qarrtsiluni (reader for chapbook contest).

Not only have I been submitting to journals, but I have been published with greater frequency each year. I have established myself in my local open mic scene and traveled to poetry festivals and readings far away.

And it all opened up because I started a blog in the Spring of 2006.

And because I met you somewhere along the way.

One of the things I have stressed in my interviews is that as much as these interactions are virtual (a hotlink and an avatar), they are connected to real people (fascinating people! you!) and real opportunities. They must be nurtured and valued. They mustn’t be squandered or abused. I have learned those lessons, too.

It is wonderful to be able to look back upon the yield from this bunch of years, these blogging years, to have accomplished a lot of the things I wanted to accomplish, to keep my eye on those things that have yet to materialize (a book, a book, my kingdom for a book!) and to have such wonderful companionship along the way.

Thank you.

  1. January 13, 2011 3:59 pm

    I only started the blogging life in September but am finding all those things you write about so eloquently. Some of my closest friends I have only met through Facebook. Now I am finding new friends through blogging and poetry. It makes for an interesting world where one might never meet those to whom one feels the closest.

    I am so glad to have found you on my path. And I’ll second the wish for a book. I’ll hope for you too πŸ™‚

  2. January 13, 2011 3:59 pm

    Hey, this is excellent. It feels bare and is useful. Thanks.

  3. January 13, 2011 4:41 pm

    Carolee, I agree with what you have said about it being nurtured and not abused. I loved RWP and I love Big Tent equally. I must say I have met some wonderful people online through the poetry sites. And I might add that you in particular were instrumental in my continued writings. The nice comments you left me in the beginning meant the world to me.

    I hope your book dream does come true. You are an awesome poet.

    • January 13, 2011 6:27 pm

      oh, i’m so glad to hear that the comments encouraged you, pamela. that’s what those communities are all about!

      (and thank you for the compliment about my writing, too.)

  4. January 14, 2011 1:20 am

    This is a great post for the new year, just before the spring blossoms. You have many gifts, carolee, and the energy to share them. I have had fun working on Read Write Poem with you, and your other site, Poem. And you have your quirky, authentic blog. Your book will come. Remember, the Yale Younger Poets Prize is for those 40 and under. You are poetry infant in that regard. I’m so glad you’re my friend. You have given me lots of inspiration.

  5. January 14, 2011 10:05 pm

    What an inspiring and encouraging post. Even though I knew pretty much all this stuff about you and your writing, it wowed me to step back and look at it all — hope you feel the same way! You have done a lot of good work — in terms of production, spreading poetry goodness around to those who need it (like me), and constantly evaluating yourself and your writing and making improvements. I hope this means you gave yourself an A+ (for super-awesome, since I’m sure poets don’t really rely on grades!) on your progress report.

    Christine is right — your book will come. And I’ll be in line to buy it. I’ll camp outside the store the night before to make sure I get a copy.

    This post made me really happy about the internet, and getting to know amazing people like you and Deb and Christine and the other poetry peeps.

  6. January 15, 2011 2:57 pm

    And a hundred thanks back, of course. You have been and continue to be an inspiration. πŸ™‚

  7. January 15, 2011 5:02 pm

    You’re a wonderful poet and a dear friend. Christine and Beth commented oh so well — I heartily concur. AND you are an inspiration as Pamela and Joseph have said.

    This is a great round-up reminder of where you began and where you are headed, and how real the virtual can turn out to be. I’m grateful to have met you near the beginning.

  8. January 16, 2011 8:18 am

    I’ve been at this blogging thing for 5 years and I never cease to be amazed by the connections I’m still making, the exciting writers and thinkers I keep finding, you included of course. Happy blogging and good luck with that book.

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