I am just now connected to the internets and so am just now catching up on my google reader (and hopefully figuring out wtf this is). I came across this by Sean Lovelace at HTMLGIANT and this by Lily Hoang I thought about when I started writing and about people I loved and I wanted to write it out in the comments, but thought this would be better.
I wrote some poems in the fall of 2007 for Carmen Gimenez-Smith's undergrad poetry workshop. It was a workshop I took because I was looking for an easy semester and to possibly meet girls if my marriage collapsed. I didn't, but it did eventually.
And she pushed me to write more and better. She pushed everyone in the class, though most of us hated her for it and probably got bad grades for it, but I loved it. We read Susan Briante and Sarah Vap, two poets I still love and emulate. Carmen loaned me books that I kept for four years. Notably Tremelo, by Spencer Short. I also kept a book by Dean Young and contemplated keeping it. Maybe a few more (I know I borrowed more, but I'm not saying). She had me read Frank O'Hara as a side project and he's the love of my life. She had me read O'Hara because I was on a big Kerouac kick from On The Road and O'Hara successfully moved me off of it and into a better, more genuine, more artful style (I know, it's contradictory).
I wrote some good poems for her class and wanted to write more and so I did and I applied for graduate school. I stuck around NMSU for the spouse, who had her dream job working for Social Security and didn't want to move.
I loved NMSU. I met amazing people there. I met Mike and Tracy. I met Carrie Murphy. I met all these other cool people. I didn't have any workshops with Carmen until the spring of my second year.
In the workshop with Carmen it was the semester of my divorce. The marriage I anticipated ending two and a half years earlier did actually end in a class with her. During this class I wrote so many poems. I wrote so many poems about all the people I've ever kissed or loved or wanted to love or just fucked or just wanted to fuck or just thought about fucking way after we had actually fucked or just thought about fucking way after we had never actually fucked. Every poem was a love poem. Every poem was a hate-fuck. Every poem was a mind-fuck. I wrote so many that I couldn't get them all workshopped in one semester. It would later be my thesis and is now my manuscript.
During the semester Carmen was so rough on these poems. We had a one on one meeting and she made me revise lines right in front of her. She crossed out lines and made me come up with new lines from my mouth, in public, not from my pen, alone in a room.
I felt like she hated me. I felt like she hated my poems. But you know, I'll never meet another person who cared as much as she did for my writing. You know what? That's a lie. Every one, every single fucking one of my poetry teachers at NMSU cared a shit load about my writing.
I miss that. I miss all of those people who give a fuck.
Thanks Carmen. Thanks for opening a door to all these people who gave a fuck.