I keep most everything poetry related: rejections and acceptances, flyers from past AWP conferences, postcards from defunct journals, poetry collections, buttons from poetry organizations I wouldn’t wear under any circumstance (Sorry!). You name it, I keep it. Why, why, why do I do this? Laziness? That feeling of, “I’ll come back to this someday?” Whatever the reason, my office is bulging with poetry-related stuff I have absolutely no need for.
So, I am releasing myself of the obligation to hold onto my poetry clutter.
This weekend, as a much-needed diversion from manuscript revisions, I will be throwing out, sorting, and creating a poetry-friendly environment office that takes less energy to maintain.
These items do not bring me joy. In fact, isn’t it kind of masochistic to hold onto rejection slips? It’s like holding onto break-up letters from old relationships. I have rejections going back to 1996. (OK, I’m keeping my rejection from Slate.com with a handwritten note by Assistant Poetry Editor Maggie Dietz.)
Books and journals are tougher to throw out/give away. I’m sure we all have a few volumes in our collections that aren’t worth keeping. I do feel a little guilt there because I know someone put a lot of effort into producing that college journal or indie press effort. But the truth is it was wasteful for me to bring it in the house in the first place. Maybe I can help it find a good home at my local library. I'm only keeping the items that have a use, or have real sentimental value. In other words, I'm making space in my life for things that bring me happiness.
In case you are having trouble throwing things away:
You, dear reader, are hereby released from the burden of your poetry clutter. You are free. Make better use of your time and energy for poetry.
Now go forth and declutter!