Monday, November 30, 2009

How to deal with poets



  • Set boundaries. Set limits on the length of your interaction and on what you are willing to talk about. 
  • Spell out your constraints. Be consistent. Don't break your rules by extending a conversation, spreading gossip, or inviting the poet out for coffee or a drink. 
  • Stay calm. Avoid reacting dramatically yourself. Using adjectives tends to magnify emotions, so take Pound's advice and condense.
  • Validate, and redirect. Some people like to talk through a situation, but analysis only intensifies emotions for poets. Acknowledge the poet's problem, then help him or her focus on the positive or, better still, on what can be done to improve his or her lot in life. Say, for example, “Well, of course you're upset, but how would [name trendy or award-winning poet] handle this?”
  • Create a paper trail. If a poet disrupts your life, document each interaction, noting the date, time, and precise nature of the encounter. At some point, you might want to inform your therapist of the problem.  And remind yourself that some day your memoir could snag you a book deal - or at least your blog will get noticed.
  • Consider cutting ties. If the relationship turns toxic despite your very best efforts, you might have to get out of it, even if doing so means finding another job, not getting published yourself, or separating from your S.O. You should consider visiting a counselor to understand how poetry is affecting you and whether there is any point in your continuing to indulge in it.   
Lovingly adapted from "Dangerous Liaisons: How to Deal with a Drama Queen,"by Ophelia Austin-Small in the November 2009 issue of Scientific American Mind

8 comments:

Lemon Hound said...

Oh my god. I love this.

Paul said...

Me too. Especially the paper trail, very important.

Erin said...

Oh... this is good stuff.

hello #4 , for sure :)

gary barwin said...

This is great! I could also see it adapted to "How to Deal with Poems":

Set boundaries. Set limits on the length of your interaction and on what you are willing to talk about.

Spell out your constraints. Be consistent. Don't break your rules by extending a..

Stay calm. Avoid reacting dramatically yourself. Using adjectives tends to magnify emotions...

Validate, and redirect. Some people like to talk through a situation, but analysis only intensifies emotions for poems. Acknowledge the poems problem, then help it focus on the positive or, better still, on what can be done to improve it. Say, for example, “Well, of course you're good, but how would [name trendy or award-winning poet] handle you?”

Or something like that!

I really enjoyed your post.

Steven Fama said...

This reminds me of Adeena Karasick's poem, “Rules of Textual Engagement," adapted from The Rules: Time-Tested Secrets for Capturing the Heart of Mr. Right.

mgushuedc said...

Nice work, and very simpatico with the Vrzhu [online] aesthestic. It cheered me up enormously.

Hunferth said...

I'm going to print this out and hang it on the bathroom mirror for my wife to read. She'll laugh and say something like, "Haven't I done enough to cuddle your sensitive needs?" That's why I love her. (And she me.)

pamelavillars said...

Agreed - this is great! It also applies to Pisces, and INFPs.

Please don't ask me how I know.