For the Young Who Want To

Monday 22 August 2011

Loving this poem by Marge Piercy.  Seen via a comment by Jane over at Pilgrim's Moon.  (Oh, and I *am* going out for a job interview tomorrow to "get a real job" ... but only if it gives me space to write :)

Talent is what they say
you have after the novel
is published and favorably
reviewed. Beforehand what
you have is a tedious
delusion, a hobby like knitting.

Work is what you have done
after the play is produced
and the audience claps.
Before that friends keep asking
when you are planning to go
out and get a job.

Genius is what they know you
had after the third volume
of remarkable poems. Earlier
they accuse you of withdrawing,
ask why you don't have a baby,
call you a bum.

The reason people want M.F.A.'s,
take workshops with fancy names
when all you can really
learn is a few techniques,
typing instructions and some-
body else's mannerisms

is that every artist lacks
a license to hang on the wall
like your optician, your vet
proving you may be a clumsy sadist
whose fillings fall into the stew
but you're certified a dentist.

The real writer is one
who really writes. Talent
is an invention like phlogiston
after the fact of fire.
Work is its own cure. You have to
like it better than being loved


  1. that's a great poem, shall have to check out Marge Piercy

    may your interview go well
    and if you decide its a good fit
    may the job be yours

  2. woah, that's lime green alright!
    getting in early for spring are we ;-)

  3. Glad you both liked it :)

    Yeah, Kel, it's pretty uber lime green, isn't it. Does it kill your eyes?


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