On Poetry and Culture Shock

A reason of artistic inspiration?

About two years ago, I attended a sort of conference for poets, with publishers and other interested people. There was a dinner and I had the chance to talk with a few professionals, with amateurs like me, and publishers, and someone quite ruthless said a way of telling apart the bad amateurs from the promising ones. I'm translating as faithfully as I can, and I wish I remembered the person's name: 

Lots of young people write poetry. They are easy to sort out because the mediocre ones stop writing when they get into a steady relationship.

That fits nicely into the usual male-oriented explanations of the creative impulse as something nearly sexual. There is the Sheherezade model: being creative makes you sexy. There is the Sublimation model: you put into creating the energies that you'd put into sex if there was an available partner. There is the Oedipal model: you write because you want to beat your influences (your influences are yourf ather and Art is your mother: apply Oedipus to the triangle.

I haven’t had the opportunity to see if that critic's theory applies to me, for the very simple reason that I have not had a long-term relationship since I started writing "seriously". Even so, I doubt it works on me. Not because I believe I am above mediocrity, but because I think I write faster and better when I have an audience. I think it's very funny (in both the "strange" and in the "amusing" senses) how most of my most creative spells, the ten-poems-a-week fits, have taken place in the bubbling ground at the very earliest stages of relationships. I am curious about whether, if I ever have a steady relationship again, that person (or me getting lazy and comfortable) will kill my Muse. I hope not.

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