Remember listening to this song when I lived in Denton, Texas during the 90's. What skill for writing Dylan has. I think this is one of my favorite Dylan songs, though I won't post it on facebook due to my family's zealous religiosity. Is that a word? Apparently so. Hopefully they won't read this ;)
In any case, I want to clarify my earlier thoughts. Poetry is a necessity I think, or more so, utilizing the imagination is a necessity for all people. Even or possibly especially for the poor. Again, there's this view that poetry is not a luxury, yet the reality is time to write poems seems a real luxury. Yet, I have more time now that I'm poor again since I am not teaching as an adjunct, which in the end, overwhelmed me to say the least. So in some ways I am now very imaginatively rich. My greatest (flaw), my greatest (weakness) has become what will hopefully transpire into a strength. I need to get off my butt and engage in some reading and writing. I am still trying to edit and polish.
Saying the writing of poetry is a luxury seems true to me still. This is not to say that it is valueless or that poor people don't write. It's merely a product of our society not valuing the art or more so, finding it valueless in terms of cash. It's not a commodity that can be traded on the stock market. It is purely imaginative creativity, so seemingly necessary these days, but lacking economic profit for the most part.
I recognize that so many poor people on social security disability write poems. I am surrounded by a class of people who have a strong interest in writing poems, putting out paper broadsides, reading at open mics. This scene for poetry is interesting, purely in the joy that it seems to impart to its participants. Yet, I recognize that my scene, a subsidized housing scene, is quite different than that of someone in a tenure-track position.
I think however, being educated in poetry, is often a different animal. How we are educated in the "craft" also seems significant. One can read a lot on their own too and become educated. I went to "school" for a long, long time. I struggled always with the limitations that come with being "taught" how to write. Even now I suffer from what I was "taught" in that it was often limited by professors' narrow aesthetic views. This was/is true especially when one earns a doctorate in poetry. Yet, if I wouldn't have been educated in the historic trajectories of the art, I would be somewhat blind to what it means to write poetry. Part of receiving an education in some ways is moving past such preferences. Yet, education and time effect the writing of poetry, and it therefore seems a luxury or more so a privilege. Yet I was led to read a certain "brand" of poetry. I read a great deal of modernist (imagistic) poetry and that no doubt has influenced me immensely. We learn as we go. It is most definitely a lifetime process.
This leads me to speak to the marginalization of writers of color which was recently discussed online. These statistics in my opinion ignore the heavy burden of being a female writer of color. I find often, in the pages of various magazines of late, more and more Latino men being published, yet the women still trail behind and struggle for the same kind of attention.
I don't think this is my imagination. Latina women struggle especially to have their work land in "major" or significant journals. So my next collection primarily deals with loss and recovery. It deals particularly with sexual abuse, the silencing of women, and I realize in some ways, this silencing is still an obsession I have when writing. In any case, I've gone on far too long on this blog, where what I gather, very few people actually read. So, with that I will try to focus now on editing my upcoming "book." :0 Then hopefully I can read and write more seriously and take advantage of the luxury of time. I am very blessed. But because I am a woman from Mexican ancestry along the U.S. Mexico near Ciudad Juarez (which many writers now a days seem to appropriate) I must write of this apparent marginalization that such women experience. There are few of us.
I am often told by white men that I am not Mexican-American. I have never had a Latino/a tell me that strange thing. It is because we share a bond in this marginalization. This is why I must write about luxury when editors of major magazines feel they are being progressive and inclusive. They are not. The writing of poetry is simply a luxury and a gift which the universe sends the lucky and those born into some kind of privilege, especially when it comes to being published in traditionally well-esteemed journals. One can be poor gifted with time. A poor person though often is granted this luxury when they are gifted with some kind of safety net which provides time, but not money. Money matters. It most definitely is a luxury which often leads to extra time. I wrote my first collection in the margins. I wrote it in El Paso, Texas, land of appropriations. I had little time and it was a real struggle. Many poets are poor and they struggle. Many are disabled and minorities on these margins or borders if you will. Crossing such borders is a difficult path. Now I live in Colorado, and hopefully will be able to cross some of these barricaded, fenced borders. This is why I kind of resent it when someone unintentionally implies that I have it easy because I believe in the luxury and privilege time provides some and not others. But the fact is, marginalized women need to write and publish with those magazines and presses that seek to publish people from all cultures. This would not include places that claim there is no such thing as luxury in these matters.