That's about right, for most poets. Yet we regard it as our work, our vocation, that thing we can't not do.
I'll be truthful: I don't write that occupation on forms any more, though I did when younger. I put 'retired' or 'age pensioner'; it's simpler. But I still occupy myself in making poems, and in related activities. As they say, 'It's what I do.'
But what exactly?
Related activities are:
- Columns for the international online community, Poets United. I alternate fortnightly (on Fridays) between I Wish I'd Written This and The Living Dead, discussing poems and poets I like. When there is a fifth Friday in the month, I write Moonlight Musings, exploring various matters of concern to poets – such as copyright, plagiarism, influences, form, payment/reward....
- Administering various poetry groups on facebook, including haiku and tanka groups.
- Participating in several blogging groups including Poets United.
- Editing other people's poetry for pay.
- Workshopping other people's poetry as a favour, or reciprocally.
- Reading and commenting on other people's poems as participation in the facebook groups and blogging groups.
- Producing book manuscripts, either on my own or in collaboration with other poets. Publishing some, usually but not only as ebooks. (Hey, look in the right-hand side-column! Some of them are still available to buy.)
- Accepting invitations to contribute to poetry anthologies. (You'll find some of them in the side-column too.)
- Writing book reviews, such as these here.
I'm not sure if I can count it as a related activity – at least not directly – but I am assembling material for a memoir that has long been asked for by many people. They are more interested in the fact that I'm a psychic, an energy healer and a witch than in my poetry.
I find it difficult to write. But a number of people have described my poetry as a sort of diary in verse – I guess that's what you get for being largely 'confessional' – so I am thinking that part of the memoir could be in verse, or poems might punctuate it. Meanwhile I assemble material, in personal journals that don't get shared yet, and in a blog called Blowing My Own Trumpet. (I'm so not musical! It's a metaphor.)
Sometimes I interview other poets. For example, my friend Helen Patrice when her first book, A Woman of Mars was published.
Sometimes I get interviewed, e.g. this on poetry and witchcraft, by Sherry at Poets United.
I belong to a women's circle called The Goddesses of Shining Light. I am sometimes asked to present talks or lead meditations at our monthly meetings.
I have a blog called Cronewyze, where I write about witchy stuff, energy healing, etc.
And above all –
'What a quiet, dull life!' – that's what I think people must think about my life. I do have a social life, quite an active one with my many good friends, but I also spend a lot of time alone at my desk. For me it isn't dull; the making of poems is endlessly absorbing. Crafting them, getting them as right as I can, is like solving a puzzle. (I like doing puzzles; it's one of my recreations.)
Life presents no shortage of subject matter, and these days I also follow prompts from some of the poetry groups I belong to. I write nearly every day. I seldom submit to journals or anthologies now unless invited, though once upon a time (in my youth) I did. That was before the internet. Now I blog them, usually at my poetry blog, The Passionate Crone.
Although my real love is free verse, the older I get the more I like to experiment with form too. I try all sorts – haiku, sonnets, prose poems, sestinas, found poems, boomerang metaphors, tiluses – from the old and traditional to recent inventions.
Occasionally I write 'small stones' – small observations of life, polished to the best of my ability. They are usually in verse, but sometimes short prose, and I blog them at Stones for the River.
The online launch of Delaina Miller's The Unique and Sundry, which I edited.
A collaboration with Helen Patrice and Jennie Fraine, Three Cycles of the Moon.
Writing a poem a day during the 'poetry month' of April. They'll be posted at The Passionate Crone.
Being a guest blogger during the month of June at Project 366, where various Australian poets post daily drafts, as a process and for (potential) discussion.