On Education

If you were to ask me, say, how to make it in the Music business, what you needed to know and where you needed to be seen, heard or known, I could probably give you a pretty intelligent answer. Likewise, if you needed advice regarding a career in information technology, although my training there is mostly on-the-job and catch-as-catch-can, I have enough of a formal foundation there to be of some use.

But with writing, and Poetry, being completely self-taught as I am, I feel at a great loss. Sure, I deconstructed Poetry in high school (20 years ago now), and could blunder through the basics of theme, presentation, person and character. But I’ve never had the advantage of a complete college education in English, say, or the plus of a BFA or BA that seems to form the underlying knowledge base of a “real” poet. Maybe that’s a misperception on my part. After all, I’ve been writing Poetry for almost 30 years now, 12 of those years pretty immersed in self-study and volume production. So I’ve learned SOME things. But it’s like that last year of a four year degree in any “artistic” field – that’s when you learn how to present yourself, how to organize a collection, how to put together a resume, etc. Up until that point, you’re just working the mechanics of it, learning the language.

So where does one go from here? How do you know when your work is good enough to submit for publication? I mean, there has to be a certain point where you “know”, regardless of whatever feedback you may receive from friends and family, that what you can do is either schlock, average, typical, pretty good, great or genius. Whose opinion do you trust?

Maybe I’m just stuck. I don’t know.

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