Thanks so much for visiting HipWriterMama, my blog about children's books, authors and readergirlz!

It's time for a change. I've decided to focus my attention on my writing blog, www.vivianleemahoney.com. Hope to see you there!


Friday, October 12, 2007

Poetry Friday: For the Young who Want To

I've been focusing on revisions this week and just realized I've missed reading my favorite blogs and even posting regularly on my blog. There are so many things I want to do and it seems not quite enough time to do it. Things have kind have fallen by the wayside with my obsession to finish my current project before Thanksgiving. I'm not sure why I gave myself that deadline, but it sounded good to me.

Anyway, here's a poem for the young--or anyone for that matter--who want to:

For the young who want to
by Marge Piercy

Talent is what they say
you have after the novel
is published and favorably
reviewed. Beforehand what
you have is a tedious
delusion, a hobby like knitting.

Work is what you have done
after the play is produced
and the audience claps.
Before that friends keep asking
when you are planning to go
out and get a job.

Genius is what they know you
had after the third volume
of remarkable poems. Earlier
they accuse you of withdrawing,
ask why you don’t have a baby,
call you a bum.
For the rest of the poem

Poetry Friday is over at Two Writing Teachers this week. Go on over and stay awhile.


Liz in Ink said...

"You have to like it better than being loved."
This poem is IN-TENSE.
I'm going back to read it again now. Sigh...

HipWriterMama said...

It is intense, isn't it? The last line definitely got my attention. And I'm thinking, okay, does she mean better than being loved by family and friends? Because there is nothing better than that.

Or better than being loved by the people who read her work?

Intense is the word.

Kelly Fineman said...

Vivian - that poem rocks. Thanks for posting it (and its link).

Susan said...

Oh, yeah, this is so true, Vivian. I like that "tedious delusion" reference.

I never read this one before. thanks for posting it.

I've long thought that creativity involves a high tolerance for tedium--or maybe it's the ability to turn tedium into something else entirely.

Christine M said...

This feels so true - thanks for posting it.

eisha said...

Ooh, that last line stings, but in a good way. Excellent poem! And it's funny how much Marge Piercy love there is this Poetry Friday.

Elaine Magliaro said...


Great choice! Love Marge Piercy's poetry--and this poem certainly makes its point. I like what she says about talent, work, and genius. Isn't it true?

Eisha and I posted the same Piercy poem today.

Robin Brande said...

Vivian, love it. I also really, really sympathize with having to be away from our beloved blogs while we work (which is one reason I've been away from here too long!). I'm so glad I finally had time on a day like today when you posted that killer poem.

Good luck with your work. We do love it (although I'm not sure about loving it more than being loved--I'll have to ponder that one). Solidarity to you and all my fellow writers out there. I'm cheering you on from afar.

jama said...

Thanks for this wonderful, affirming poem. The last lines remind me of what Natalie Goldberg said in one of her books -- she learned that writing wouldn't bring her love. She had to love the writing itself, not write for validation or praise or anything else.

Cloudscome said...

This poem is to scary for me.

Laini Taylor said...

How weird -- I just discovered this poem on a blog sidebar yesterday and quoted it on MY blog today! It really spoke to me. And I too have sort of set myself the deadline of before-Thanksgiving on my current project (hopefully sooner, but, you know) and am something of a shut-in right now. Good luck to you on yours!

Sara said...

I really do love this, as blunt as it is. But I have to say, that sometimes, it's your family that gives you the perseverance and strength and patience that you need to keep on "wanting to."

Mary Lee said...

Thank you for this poem. I am going to send it as a "gift" to several of the writers in my life!

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

Wow, this isn't just about writing. I think of the times I've made decisions that, had they worked out, people would have said, "Oh how brave she was!" Instead, I worry that they're actually thinking, "That was pretty stupid."