Poets get asked odd questions. They often come after giving a reading. There are the unanswerable questions ("Why do you write poetry? Can everyone be a poet?") and the ones you don't want to answer ("So, what is that last poem actually supposed to be about?") Some of the most unusual ones that I've heard come from students after workshops or readings. Younger students often ask "Do you make money writing poems?" I had a high school student ask me "If I say it's a poem, it's a poem. Right?"
We suspect a good number of poets have written about being asked a poet question. "Are All the Break-Ups in Your Poems Real?"
Eve Merriam's poem, "Reply to the Question: 'How Can You Become a Poet?'" addresses one of those unanswerable questions. Well, there are answers "Get an MFA," "Just write," and "Read everything" are all ones I have heard. Merriam gives a more poetic reply.
take the leaf of a tree trace its exact shape the outside edges and inner lines memorize the way it is fastened to the twig (and how the twig arches from the branch) how it springs forth in April how it is panoplied in July by late August crumple it in your hand so that you smell its end-of-summer sadness chew its woody stem listen to its autumn rattle watch it as it atomizes in the November air then in winter when there is no leaf left invent one The second poem we remembered from is "Valentine for Ernest Mann" by Naomi Shihab Nye.
It begins: You can’t order a poem like you order a taco. Walk up to the counter, say, “I’ll take two” and expect it to be handed back to you on a shiny plate. Still, I like your spirit. Anyone who says, “Here’s my address, write me a poem,” deserves something in reply.
We are surrounded by so many such people who are deep in the web of their own thoughts, and have mastered the skill of putting words to it. It is without doubt a supernatural talent to be able to write and communicate, in an ode to such talents we have introduced one of a kind journal - A POETRY JOURNAL, an anthology of poems - about words, love and phases of the moon.
Have you had a strange question asked of you as a poet? Share in a comment. Answers not required :)