What Is a Failed Poet?

From The Somerville News:

Somerville poets respond
Off The Shelf by Doug Holder

I posed this question to local poets of my acquaintance: "What is a failed poet?" I hear the term used all the time, but what does it mean? How do you define a failed poet? Is there such a thing?

Good blog post by Doug--worth a read. So I ask you, is there such a thing as failed poet?


Anonymous said…
Definitely no such thing. The only failure is the poet that gives up. I think media use "failed" to mean a few things, like, never achieved ultimate potential, or was never well-received by the world and so could never achieve ultimate potential...but generally, that's all crap b/c poetry is for you, and your readers. Not a critic.
odessa said…
I agree with poetwithadayjob, there's no such thing. I think being a poet is a way of seeing the world. And even if one is not writing poems, I still wouldn't consider him/her a "failed poet".
Brian said…
All poetry is personal so there is no failure when writing poems for yourself.
I'm still reading about William Stafford (as told wonderfully by his son, Kim, in EARLY MORNING: Remembering My Father)--He was not as well-known as many other poets, but was never "failed" because of that. He was all-inclusive, welcomed all poets into the circle as long as they
told "their own puzzling story" with honesty, by paying attention and speaking their own truth.

A poet is "failed" only if that is how he sees himself.
Or herself....

Kay said…
Maybe it is more a self-definition than anything else. Only we ourselves know when we haven't measured up to an ambition. Or is it a little like being a lapsed catholic ... a term I apply to myself sometimes and then at other times, I don't really believe I am at all ... ooh. Confusing!
Kay said…
Wow I didn't read Joyce's comment until after I'd posted ... was surprised and more than a little pleased to see she said something similar ... :)
Ananda said…
i agree with poetwithadayjob and odessa. i would add that everyone is a creative being with poetry coming out in the way they live and interact with the world.
January said…
I completely agree. Poetry is so personal that it's hard to really be a failure at it.

Even though there I times that my poems fail, or could be working harder, I've never felt like a failed poet.

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