‘A Jealous Young Man From Nantucket’ And Other Poems

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By Maria Padhila

I am sooooo jealous. Not of any of my lovers. No, they can skip off and have whatever fun they like, and I will smile and compersionize away, curled up with a book while they’re swinging from the chandelier with someone new. I’m jealous of “writer friends,” as they’re termed in an essay that crossed my path the other day: “How Not to Hate Your Friends,” by Courtney Maum in the Tin House literary magazine blog.

Poly Paradise at Burning Man. Photo by Eric.

The article is about the AWP (Association of Writers and Writing Programs) conference, which is sort of the SXSW for poets and literary writers. Yeah, I know — how much more obscure can you get? But for those of us who are into this kind of thing, it’s the most happening scene of the year. I was lucky a few years back when it was in DC, and there were plenty of free readings at bars and galleries around the city, so I got to be in on it without having to pay a lot of money or actually publish or be known.

But as much as I love the OPP (Other People’s Poetry), it would still be nice not to have gotten the rejection email that came in just today, for instance. Will anyone ever like my poems? Do I suck? Am I wasting my time? Am I a fool? At poetry gatherings, the combination of self-consciousness, introvert pain, social awkwardness, disappointed expectations, and comparing (and let’s add some alcohol!) can turn toxic fast. It’s just a little bit worse than some polyamory potlucks.

When I did a search on “AWP jealousy,” I was truly shocked at how many blog entries there were out there that made just this reference. It is really tough when you know damn well you’re not too likely to have anyone recognize that the value of what to you is like breathing. I’m always happy to see people share poems and music (and even photos and paintings) in the Planet Waves comments for this reason. If we don’t throw it out there to the world somehow, it dies.

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4 Responses to ‘A Jealous Young Man From Nantucket’ And Other Poems

  1. Len Wallick Len Wallick says:

    Maria: If the Oscars are any any example, you and others who deserve success the most would have to wait a long as 150 years. Fortunately, astrology indicates the world is changing faster now, and your generous endorsement of compersion will open as many opportunities as hearts (mine among them) which you have touched.

  2. mariapadhila says:

    Definitely some cabin fever here! But the power has been consistent. Good luck and stay warm!

  3. Judith Gayle Judith Gayle says:

    Meow back, kiddo. I grok in fullness and appreciate the sentiment. I’d write more on the theme but I’m having trouble keeping connection due to the storm. Just quickly, my son stopped by the computer, laughed out loud at your title and recited the entirety of the limerick. That was a good moment. Thanks for another thoughtful and interesting read.

  4. mariapadhila says:

    Meow?

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