I had another EPIPHANY at Hear the Word - it always reminds me what poetry is FOR, in different ways, always around the crux that this is just a normal thing that humans do, the same way we cook and sing, and that it's something to share. I read early in the evening, and in the first short break, someone came up and asked me if there was anywhere she could find my poetry. Very apologetically, I explained that I'd taken it all off my website, as journals and competitions see that as "published", and so they won't accept it. So instead I gave her my card and offered to just email her the poems I'd read. Then after the music, in the next short break, I had almost the identical conversation in reverse, with someone whose poetry I really wanted to see more of - and this time it was her apologising, and giving me *her* card.
The rest of the evening, my head was fizzing. Because even the poems that are in journals are pretty inaccessible. If someone wants to read *that* poem, are they going to hunt down the BFS Journal Spring 2012, assuming there are even any copies left? Or buy that 2016 journal? Meanwhile, I'm hoarding my poems like some avaricious little paper dragon, not sharing *anything* "in case a journal accepts it" - and even sending them out religiously, that's slow work, when they want exclusive submissions and often take 3-6 months to reply. And for what?
All I want for my poetry is to share it and to be read. I don't ever expect to make money from it, journals generally don't pay so I'm giving it away free anyway, and I'm perfectly happy with that, but... I suddenly realised I can give it away free on MY terms. Share it freely. Put it on Facebook and Twitter, make graphics for Instagram (I LOVE making graphics!), and put recordings on SoundCloud - I record almost all of it anyway, while I'm writing it, and I love doing that! And put it on my website. Put it places ANYONE can read it.
So, head fizzing all the way home through the beautiful freezing dark and the plum blossoms, that's what I decided to do. Expecto #poetry!