In basic creative writing classes, instructors often begin by telling students to consider their purpose and audience. This is good advice, mostly, since lacking a “why” or a “who” is a surefire way to write something empty. But today I wanted to take a brief minute to examine the latter of these two fundamentals and express a quick word of thanks.
You see, a poet’s audience is a funny thing. We know that most modern people would rather not trouble their brains with meaningful imagery, earnest emotions, or contemplative thinking. We press on, though, continuing to write words that have inspiration embedded into every syllable, hoping that a select few will feel the richness and depth of revelations we record. We envision a reader who takes the time to truly decode every line, every stanza. We might even daydream about how this poem would be analyzed in an English class one day. And it is these aspirations that keep us doing what we do.
You, dear reader, are a part of that audience. You are among a handful of people for whom I write poetry. Even if you only scan poems for strong or relatable moments, even if you don’t closely inspect every page of my latest book for symbolism or graduate-level literary devices, and even if you only read poetry to fulfill an imaginary cultural expectation, I still write for you, the person who cares enough about language and literature to sit down with the challenge and delight of poems. You are rare and valued, and I care what you think.
So, to all of you who have bought my book, expressed some kind words in a review at Barnes and Noble or Amazon, or passed along word to friends or family, I thank you for being part of a small but vital audience. We need more like you.