June 04, 2008

Off the shelf

So I came out to my poetry friends at a workshop last night.

That's right. I told them. I knew they'd be shocked, maybe even a little horrified, but I couldn't hide it any longer. We were sitting in Queen Bee's living room, passing around copies of our work, talking about books and readings and summer vacations, and I knew it was time to tell them.

I just said it straight out, with no apology and maybe just a tinge of shame.

"I've been writing creative non-fiction."

Bearded Poet looked at me in horror. Woman on the Floor nodded and gave me an encouraging smile.

I took a breath and continued, "In fact, I brought a page of prose instead of a poem with me tonight."

This shocking announcement was met by silence. New MFA stared at me, puzzled. Metaphor Man set down the poems he'd been putting in alphabetical order. Then Queen Bee Poet smiled indulgently. "Because it's you, we'll allow it."

And once they were over the shock, once they'd adjusted to thinking of me in this new way, they settled down to the business of critiquing my work. They pointed to contradictions, they told me what parts they liked, they found phrases that could be cut. Really, I kept assuring them, it's not that different. I still love to play with words.


YourFireAnt said...

You found a group!! Who's in it???


p.s. I'm still in NS, but e.mail works.

jo(e) said...

FA: Oh, it was the old group that meets at the house of Queen Bee on Street That the Poetry Journal is Named After. Queen Bee has some poet friends in town and decided to have a workshop for old times' sake. I hadn't seen some of the poets in a few years, and it was good to see everyone, but we missed you ....

Ellen said...

This is the funniest post yet!! i can just picture it!

Yankee, Transferred said...

You are a hoot.

Songbird said...


susan said...

And I read this, laughing, thinking "she writes poetry? Oh right, I guess she did mention something about that back in the day..." I think of you as a prose writer as that's mostly what I read of yours.

Jennifer said...

Like Susan I couldn't connect you with poetry either because I read you on your blog; I think of creative non-fiction as such a natural fit.

But you're right - it's all about playing with words.