Who are poets? How do we identify them, exactly?
It really gets me that people have a preconceived pompous notion of who and what a poet is! How they should look, act, and exactly what age, sex, occupation and personality they should have. Hmpfh!
Well I can tell you one thing. Forget all the stereotypes of who poets are - what they look like, dress like, talk like, think like etc. The truth is, we are all individual different human beings.
So, to debunk.
We don't wear berets for one. Or cravats. (Well, some of us might, French male poets most likely, but it's technically not required for the job.) The same for goatees, moustaches, beards and ponytails. And FYI, we are not all men.
And we women poets are not distinguishable by our long hair, hippy clothing, copious amounts of handmade jewellery and refusal of make-up.
We are not all old and grey and bespectacled. We do not all wear tweed.
We are not all gay, lesbian or trans-sexual. We are not all lovers or beloved or obsessed with muses. We are not all sentimental fools.
We are not all loners. We are not all gypsies, tearaways or bohemians. We are not all immune to sports. We are not all geeks. Nerds. Bookworms. We are not all morbid, manic depressives. We are not all outsiders. Or substance-users. Or unemployed.
We do not all use quills and quote Shakespeare. We are not all posh or privileged. We do not all spout whimsy. We do not all carry moleskin notebooks. We are not all academics or retired teachers or elitists.
We don't wander lonely as clouds. We are not all necessarily nature lovers. We are not all airy-fairy.
We are not all social outcasts. We do not wear a permanent pout or thinker pose. We do not all look frazzled and bewildered. We are not all classical music lovers. We do not all care about iambic pentameter. We do not all take part in poetry readings. We are not all drama kings or queens.
We are not all part of a political movement. We are not all alienated or isolated. We are not all lost, or lonely.
We are not all philosophers. We are not all literati. We are not all library enthusiasts. We are not all pretentious.
We are who we are.
We are all our own individual selves. Most of us are quiet and unassuming. Some of us are chatty. Most of us wear casual clothing. Some of us wear lipstick. Some of us are teenagers, twenty-somethings. Listen to rock music and rap. Drink beer. Are pretty ordinary, when it comes down to it. More of another than other.
What we do all have in common is our love of language. And our irrepressible desire to express our vision of the world, our reactions to it, in language. We all love words. We all know the power of words. We all have been seduced by what they can do. We all think in words and feel in words. And we all have a heightened sense of awareness that can only be satisfied by expressing itself in verse.
The stereotype is wrong. Most of us are poets incognito. Our love for language is an invisible thing. You couldn't pick us out in a crowd if you tried.
You could be standing right next to a poet and not even know it!! (And they could be writing a poem about you in their heads right at that moment and you wouldn't even know it!)
Anybody can be a poet. There are no pre-requisite looks or vibes, quirks or dress codes necessary to distinguish those with a poetic sensibility. It's not what's without, but within.
ordinary incognito poet,