Can’t get pass the self I want to inhabit

I’ve been unable to get past something I wrote for an interview I did here.

I wrote:

As for Love-In-Idleness, the book’s narrative and lyric identities are my own: gay, Midwesterner, country mouse who’s now a city mouse, son, partner, and storyteller. Lately, I’ve begun to wonder if the more interesting poems, however, are those that are not part of my more stable or comfortable identities—hypersexual being, trickster, nature lover, asshole, magician. These are not who I am. But perhaps they are who I want to be. Maybe that’s where our best poetry happens. In that space of self-making, wish-making—in the conflict of the self and the self-one-desires.

Could that really be true? And do I really want to inhabit those other identities? When I wrote that I felt immediately it was a moment of truth-telling, but then hoped that feeling would diminish. Because I didn’t want to face what that might mean. The feeling hasn’t diminished. And it’s causing a lot of soul-searching.

Speaking of identity, this soul-searching has made me seek out something for which I need your help! Someone out there recently was writing or talking about one of our gay poets who is biracial or black and that this poet has stated that he considered himself more of a gay poet than a black poet because the big ‘issues’ and questions (about desire and self?) he had were connected to his sexual identity rather than his racial identity. I desperately need to find where this comes from! HELP! I’m utterly embarrassed I can’t locate it.

Feel free to pass this plea on to networks in which it would be received with enthusiastic and suggestive responses.

3 responses to “Can’t get pass the self I want to inhabit

  1. The poet you are referring to is Carl Phillips. I do not remember where it was printed.

  2. Sounds to me like in these poems you’re acknowledging your Shadow, that hidden part of ourselves that contains aspects of self that are as yet undeveloped. (cf. C.G. Jung) Your shadow self is often the opposite of the conscious self. Letting it out to play in art is a good way to rehearse the hidden self, and has the added benefit of releasing enough of so that it doesn’t pop up inappropriately elsewhere.

  3. Thanks for the thoughts, Art! That’s one I will really have to think on!

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