Finding Support for Poetry (Celebrating the POMfam)
Who knew a little thing like poetry could be the red string that reaches across oceans?
I am a big fan of the red string theory. Although, I generally apply a less romanticized version of the Red String of Fate legend and prefer a more open, inclusive interpretation. That we are all connected. To each other. To this earth, the skies, the sea, space. Somehow, in some beautiful way, there is a red string flowing out from me to all of the universe, including you.
As a poet, I view the world through this lens. I cannot separate myself from what is happening in the world around me (no matter how hard I sometimes try) and this can be a bit overwhelming. My senses, alert. My heart, sensitive. My mind, often a squirrely mess. But this connectedness is unbreakable.
And with something so dear to my heart, writing poetry, I found myself feeling like this poetic soul adrift on this huge sea, feeling overwhelmed yet inspired, lonely yet connected, and it was all very confusing to me. I found, I needed to meet other people who felt the same way as me. Who navigate this earth with their hearts and minds and senses wide open; unapologetically inspired and searching, just like myself.
So, I did a thing.
I created a Facebook group. It was designed to bring together poets who all write on the Medium platform, where I’d found myself immersed and contributing frequently. It was the summertime of 2019, if memory serves me correctly. I had a vision, though it hit me suddenly and I acted on it before I really thought it all through. Thank goodness—because it’s been a lot of work and I may have reconsidered if I’d known the measure to which I’d have to press my anti-social self out of my comfort zone. And thank goodness—because it has been a great joy in my life.
I wanted to feel connected to other poets. From all over the world. Across the lands to other states, countries, cultures. Across skin color and religion. Across seas to people who talk differently than me. Connected to people of all places and spaces—who share this infinite desire to create with words. And I wanted it to be a safe space for all of those people to feel, learn, grow, and create and BE as they are, creating poetry, reading and learning about this form and gift, and experiencing it all with other people who are all so different but alike in this very special way.
What became of it was a group we like to refer to as the POMfam. The Poets on Medium group, shortened to the POM (to eliminate using the word “Medium” to which I have no legal rights), began on Facebook (currently almost 600 members strong) and then developed into a Medium publication which has over 1K readership and hundreds of poets who contribute their work. Today, I offer support and guidance, send out The POM Newsletters, create events or set up learning materials, and offer publishing support.
What I have learned while leading The POMpoets:
Poets are poets are poets. We are a unique and sensitive bunch and I mean that in the best possible way. We move through this earth differently than other people, and that is a beautiful thing.
Poetry is underappreciated, in general. Poets find this very disheartening as they pour out their souls into their craft. We, as a group, try to support each other and each other’s work, because we know how much that means.
It takes a lot of work to run a large group of people, and sometimes it can be mentally taxing. Having said that, I appreciate the enthusiasm and engagement on all levels from our POMpoets.
Poetry is a creative connection between people both present and past.
I can never learn enough about poetry. It teaches me every day.
It brings me joy to teach from the things I learn.
When I find a poem written by one of my fellow POMpoets that truly touches me or inspires me, I feel overwhelming gratitude for their creative gifts.
Poetry is always “worth it.”
I am proud of the way our POMpoets interact with each other respectfully and with care.
I look forward to the safe space of The POM and all of the elements of it. I feel it is a very special space on and off of the Medium platform that gives so much to its members.
It’s a beautiful thing when poets “discover” our group. The enthusiasm, the joy, and the hope from these poets are palpable. I try each day to honor their hope.
My co-editor, Samantha Lazar is a beautiful person inside and out. She gives hours of her time each week to support our poets and our community.
Other people along the way have stepped up to volunteer their time, energy, and efforts to keep our group strong, to grow in new and positive directions, and to take some of the workload off of me (at times when I really needed it!). I am grateful for all of these wonderful people. (Arjan, Jenny, Sam, and most certainly Ashwini Dodani who is a GIFT on this earth.)
I am blown over each day by the creative energy and spirit of other poetic souls around the world. Being a part of this group feels like being a part of a very special family. A creative family. A poet family.
Thank you all for the honor.