Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Art fof Failure

The art of failure is not the failure of art. Rather, it is analogous to Thomas Edison: "If I find 10,000 ways something won't work, I haven't failed. I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward." So too with your poetry. This will come to have greater importance if/when you submit to publishers except that rejection comes not from an idea that didn't work but, more often, from an editor who wasn't receptive at the moment of reading. Nonetheless, each poem should be considered a step forward despite the fact that most poems are not very good, in fact fail, as poems. Get used to this notion-- most of your poems will fail at greatness and, usually, goodness. Yet each one is a stepping-stone to the next one which will be better and so on until you have 10,000 ways that didn't work but the last is the best you've ever done and not as good as the next. This is the art of failure. Cultivate it. Do not be discouraged by any of it. Your commitment to the art will overcome any sense of failure and your understanding that the process of writing a poem, of being a poet, will trump any dejection. As I have so often said, this is a rigorous, demanding art and the act of devotion to it is very much the success of it.

This post will be expanded upon in the next-- don't judge this until you read that.

Next post: What has truth got to do with it?
So long for now.

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