25 may. 2005

Le moi haissable II

I experienced a strange kind of snub yesterday. Someone in an email saying "I didn't know you wrote original poetry; I thought you were just a translator." I was hurt, because from my point of view this person SHOULD have known I was a poet. (My poetry might not be that "original" but that is harina de otro costal.) After all, I only know him in the context of poetry readings and from hanging out with poets. He had asked my opinion of his poems once, and I had offered a friendly critique, etc... I know he has seen my blog at least once or twice, because he mentioned it a few times, but I also know he is not a habitual reader of it or any other blog.

After thinking for a while the Snubber was a jerk (which is not true), I decided that I am REALLY bad at promoting myself. I feel an acute embarrassment at putting myself forward as a poet or talking about my own work. This reticence does not go well with the bruiseable "poet's ego." By being unassertive in the first place, I was in a way setting myself up for the inevitable "snub." I realize now that my self-effacement, far from being an efficient way of protecting myself, actually ends up leaving me more exposed to the obtuseness of well-meaning stranger/friends. Someone should write a book on "The Care and Feeding of the Poet's Ego."

It strikes me too that my impulse to say that the incident was not my fault and that the Snubber was not a jerk is itself too self-denying. I am still angry.

I sent out 4 or 5 batches of poems and translations yesterday. I can be rejected but at least nobody can say I never told them I was a poet.