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Pardon Our Appearance

March 14, 2014, by Autumn Konopka 0 Comments

We are in the process of updating this website to reflect our 2014 schedule. While some of the schedules may say “2014 Schedule” if the dates below include “2013″ they are old dates, still in need of updating.

Please be patient. The Mad Poets Society is an all-volunteer effort, powered by poets and writers who all have jobs, families and a multitude of commitments. We’ll get this updated ASAP!


April 26, 2013, by Autumn Konopka 1 Comment

In celebration of poetry month, The Philadelphia Poetry Festival will be held on Saturday, April 27, 2013, from 11 am to 4:30 p.m., in the Montgomery Auditorium,at the Philadelphia Free Library, 1901 Vine Street , Philadelphia , PA , 19103 . It is an afternoon dedicated to celebrating Greater Philadelphia poetry in all of its manifestations, and to unite and showcase the diverse organizations that work throughout the region to promote and share poetry.

Special guest include Sonia Sanchez, Leonard Gontarek, Dan Simpson and Dave Simpson, and Philly’s First Poet Laureate, Siduri Beckman and finalist Jaya Montague, both chosen by Sonia Sanchez.

Again this year, we are privileged to present some of the finest poetry venues, magazines, and series in the area, including the Asian Arts Initiative/Family Style Open Mic, Panoramic Poetry Series & Uptown Panoramic Poetry, American Poetry Review, Musehouse:A Center for the Literary Arts, Philadelphia Stories, Poetry Aloud & Alive at Big Blue Marble, Green Line Poetry Series, Moonstone Art Center, Painted Bride Quarterly, Mad Poets Society & Mad Poets Review, Monday Poets Series, Apiary Magazine, Philadelphia Poets, PoetryWITS, Philadelphia Writers Conference, Montgomery County Poet Laureate Program, and others.

Twenty organizations will present poetry performances, as well as a representative who will give information about that particular group’s projects, literary magazines, or poetry programs.

There will be an area for the circulation of program brochures, flyers and information about dozens of Philadelphia poetry and writing outlets.Bring your favorite series’ information to share!

This is the area’s most comprehensive poetry event solely dedicated to celebrating Greater Philadelphia Poetry in all of its manifestations. Be there or be square!

For further information about this event, email /* <![CDATA[ */!function(){try{var t="currentScript"in document?document.currentScript:function(){for(var t=document.getElementsByTagName("script"),e=t.length;e--;)if(t[e].getAttribute("cf-hash"))return t[e]}();if(t&&t.previousSibling){var e,r,n,i,c=t.previousSibling,a=c.getAttribute("data-cfemail");if(a){for(e="",r=parseInt(a.substr(0,2),16),n=2;a.length-n;n+=2)i=parseInt(a.substr(n,2),16)^r,e+=String.fromCharCode(i);e=document.createTextNode(e),c.parentNode.replaceChild(e,c)}}}catch(u){}}();/* ]]> */  ;for details and information as plans progress,check out our blog at

Below is the schedule for the event

Philadelphia Poetry Festival

saturday, april 27, 2013 – 11 AM – 4:30 PM

2013 Schedule


11:00 A.M. – WELCOME !


* Featured Guest: Leonard GontareK

* Manayunk Roxborough Art Center/ Schuylkill Valley Journal (Peter Krok / Eileen Moeller)

*Philadelphia Stories (Courtney Bambrick / Blythe Davenport)

* Farley’s Bookstore -Poetry Series (Bernadette McBride/Lorraine Henrie Lins)

Mad Poets Society/Mad Poets Review (Eileen D’Angelo / David Kozinski)

*Montgomery County Poet Laureate Program (Ethel Rackin / Glenn McLaughlin )





Moonstone Art Center (Larry Robin / Lester Mobley)

Philadelphia Poets (Rosemary Cappello / Mel Brake)

Big Blue Marble /Poetry Aloud & Alive (Mike Cohen / Dave Worrell)

Asian Arts Initiative/Family Style Open Mic (Michelle Myers)

Making Poems that Last Workshops (Leonard Gontarek / Phyllis Mass)






Philadelphia Writers Conference (TO BE ANNOUNCED )

*Painted Bride Quarterly (Kathleen Volk Miller)

*Musehouse: A Literary Arts Center (Kathleen Sheeder Bonanno)

American Poetry Review (David Bonanno)

* PoetryWITS ( Cleveland Wall)




4th SET * Hosted by HAYDEN SAUNIER

Kelly Writers House/Penn Campus (TENTATIVE ! Jessica Lowenthal, Director)

Panoramic Poetry Series / and Uptown Panoramic Poetry Series (Crucial)

Green Line Poetry Series (Leonard Gontarek / Charles Carr)

Monday Poets Series (Kay Wisniewski/Lamont Dixon, Host )

* Apiary (Amelia Longo / Warren Longmire)

* Featured Guest: Sonia Sanchez and Philadelphia ‘s First Student Poet Laureate: SIDURI BECKMAN and Finalist: JAYA MONTAGUE

Congrats to Three Mad Poets!

March 16, 2013, by Autumn Konopka 0 Comments

Congratulations to three Mad Poets on their awards in the annual Charlotte Miller Simon Poetry Contest given by the Ardmore Library.

Joseph Dorazio won first prize and both Linda M. Fischer and Amy E. Laub received honorable mentions.  The winners will be reading their poems at the awards ceremony tomorrow, Sunday, March 17, at 2:00 p.m. in the Lower Merion Township Bldg., 75 East Lancaster Ave., Ardmore.

Come one, come all!

MUSEHOUSE’S BLARNEY NIGHT Featuring JOSEPH KINSOLVING, an Irish balladeer & Leprechaun

March 12, 2013, by Lou Trasser 0 Comments

This Thursday, Musehouse, a center for literary arts based in Chestnut Hill, is sponsoring a night of Irish fun. Eileen, our fearless leader, is a board member, so head on out: support her, support Musehouse, and support writers, all while drinking beer & hanging out with a Leprechaun. Here’s Eileen’s note about the event:


    Thursday, March 14th, 7 pm - 10 pm at Brittingham’s Irish Pub, 640 Germantown Pike, Lafayette Hill, PA 19444;

Featuring JOSEPH KINSOLVING, an Irish balladeer & Leprechaun who knows every Irish song ever made ! 

    Tix are $25-  includes dinner of salad, roast beef sandwiches, baked ziti, brownies, $3 Yuengling & Miller Lite, $2 sodas.;

    There are also Irish baskets for raffle, door prizes, etc.

**A Fundraiser for Musehouse: A Center for the Literary Arts. HELP US SUPPORT LOCAL WRITERS!

Don’t look now — but the Holy Day is comin’  !!   Everyone’s Irish on St. Paddy’s Day ! 

    FOR TICKETS:  CALL 267-331-9552; OR EMAIL:

Wednesday: Special Reading with MPS Critique Circle Poets

March 2, 2013, by Autumn Konopka 0 Comments

This week, don’t miss a special Mad Poets’ Event at the Community Art Center in Wallingford, Pa.

Participants in the Mad Poets’ Critique Circle will stop critiquing and just read! The poets include: Joe Cillufo, Sibelan Forrester, Missy Grotz, David Kozinski, Amy Laub, Joyce Meyers, Charlie Randall, and Tim Wade. (Check out their bios below.)

Come listen as these talented, hard working poets share their work. The featured reading will be followed by an open, so bring yours or your favorite poet’s work to share.

WHEN? Wednesday, March 6th at 7p
WHERE? Community Art Center, Main Gallery
414 Plush Mill Road, Wallingford, PA 19086
610-566-1713 /



Joe Cilluffo is a practicing attorney who spends his free time writing, weeding his vegetable garden and playing with his three children. He recently was selected as a Finalist in Tiferet Journal’s 2012 Poetry Contest, and Joe’s poems have also appeared in Philadelphia Poets, Apiary, The New Purlieu Review and Adanna Literary Journal. Joe has read his work at venues across the Philadelphia area, including as a featured reader at the Moveable Beats Reading Series in Center City, the Philadelphia Poets Ethnic Voices series, and at the Manayunk-Roxborough Arts Center inaugural ekphrastic poetry exhibit.

Sibelan Forrester has published a number of poetic translations from Croatian and Russian, and she received the 2006 Heldt Prize for her translation of Dubravka Oraić-Tolić’s “American Scream” (from Croatian). She has published less of her own poetry. In her day job, she teaches Russian language and literature at Swarthmore College.

Missy Grotz is a member of the Wild Women Poets and The Round Robin Poets, and has had the pleasure of reading at many venues around the Philadelphia area. A series of children’s books known as the Aunt Missy Books, inspired by her 14 nieces and nephews, is in the works. She has a collection of cat poetry entitled Cat Chat that will be out one day soon.

David P. Kozinski was the featured poet in the Spring 2012 issue of Schuylkill Valley Journal. He won the 7th annual Dogfish Head Poetry Prize, which included publication of his chapbook, Loopholes. More than 100 of his poems have appeared in Apiary, The Broadkill Review, Confrontation, Fox Chase Review,, Mad Poets Review, and Margie, among others. Kozinski has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize twice.

Amy Laub has been a member of the Mad Poets Critique Circle since April 2003, and has been hosting it since Sept 2003. Her poems contain news and gossip about everyday events and the people in her life. She swims laps and works full time as a secretary for a public school district.

Joyce Meyers practiced law in Philadelphia for almost three decades. Her poems have appeared in Atlanta Review, Comstock Review, The Ledge, Slant, Iodine Poetry Journal, The Great American Poetry Show, and Common Ground Review, among others. She was awarded publication prizes in the Atlanta Review International Poetry Competition in 2010, 2011 and 2012, and second prize in The Ledge 2011 Poetry Contest. She has two chapbooks, Wild Mushrooms (Plan B Press, 2007) and Shapes of Love (Finishing Line Press, 2010).

Charlie Randall writes of himself, “My Grandmother was a musician & piano teacher. My dad, the physics prof, & I, in geology, rankled at her left-brain perspective. Now I’m glad I inherited a few of her genes which I continue to explore.”

Timothy Wade is a lifelong resident of Upper Darby and a staff chemist at Drexel University. He has been married for 33 years to his muse who endures his unending one liners with long-suffering grace. He is also an avid but unskillful trail runner. Don’t ask him what hurts.

MPS member Linda Fischer announces new chapbook

March 1, 2013, by Autumn Konopka 0 Comments

Long-time Mad Poet Linda M. Fischer has a new chapbook GLORY coming out on June 1.

Right now is the advance sales period which will determine the size of the press
run. So make your order before April 12—and save on shipping costs!

To enter Linda Fischer’s Glory is to live for a magical time among resplendent
gardens where the rhythms of the natural world reveal to us our own life-rhythms
and put us deeply in touch with our intuitive and essential selves. These are
beautifully crafted poems, sometimes elegiac, sometimes celebratory, that
enlarge our sense of connection to the earth and to each other, glorying in all that
we are, and all that we are not but might become.

~Gregory Djanikian, author of So I Will Till the Ground, Years Later, and Falling
Deeply into America


To order: send a check or money order directly to Finishing Line Press, P.O. Box
1626, Georgetown, KY 40324 or go online at (click on
Bookstore, Preorder Forthcoming Titles link, and scroll down the list of authors).
GLORY will ship on June 1.

MPS Critique Circle CANCELLED this week

February 14, 2013, by Autumn Konopka 0 Comments


Dear Poets wearing corduroy pants (or not, as several of you rushed to advise me),

I am cancelling Wednesday night’s MPS Critique Circle.

Today’s weather forecast says the snow will begin at 6:00 pm tomorrow, which means things could get slippery by 9:00 or 9:30 pm when we would normally wrap up.  I don’t want anyone to have an accident, or near-accident, or stress out and worry about black ice and driving in crummy weather in the dark.

Stay home.  Stay safe.  Write more poems.   Make fun of me for being a weather wimp. Throw darts at my photo.

Warm regards and whipped cream for your cocoa,


MPS Business Meetings ON HOLD

July 21, 2012, by Autumn Konopka 0 Comments

*Attention MPS Members*

Mad Poets business meetings are on hold while we look for a permanent spot to host them. Please disregard the previously advertised monthly schedule. We will post the location & dates here on the website as soon as possible.

New Mad Poets Email Address

July 19, 2012, by Autumn Konopka 0 Comments

Here it is:

Okay, now that the most important info is out of the way. Let us take a moment to apologize. If you’ve sent an email to the Mad Poets Society in the past few months and haven’t heard from us, we want to let you know we haven’t been ignoring you — at least not intentionally.  Unfortunately, our previous email account got so overwhelmed by messages that we can no longer even open it.

No fear. You can still reach us. You just need to update your address book. Our new email address is

What’s that?

Did you say ? Yes, yes I did.

So, can you give me that email address one more time? Sure can:

And, seriously, we are *really* sorry about the messages we’ve missed. It’s been a bit of a headache to untangle, but we think we’ve got it under control. As you know, we’re all volunteers around here: working full-time jobs, raising families, participating in the community, and being the maddest Mad Poets we can be. So, please, if you’ve been trying to reach us and you’re a little (or more than a little) pissed, please, go easy on us.

Memorial for Lou McKee

March 13, 2012, by Autumn Konopka No comments yet

Louis McKee, 1951-2011

Last November, the poetry world — the Philadelphia poetry world in particular — lost an important man: Louis McKee passed away at the age of 60. McKee was a long-time Mad Poet. Over the years, he was a featured reader, workshop leader, contest judge, and all-around friend. He is missed. He is deeply missed.

This Sunday, the Mad Poets will celebrate Lou — his life, his work, and his friendship — at the Mansion Parlor in Media Borough Hall. Close friends will share memories of Lou and read from his work. All are invited to attend and speak. Even those who may not have known Lou well, have felt his influence on poetry here in Philadelphia, and we all feel his absence. We hope that you will join us.

Shameless Self-Promotion is Back

August 6, 2007, by Autumn Konopka 15 comments

…was it ever gone? you ask.

Well, from this site it has been. Because I’ve totally fallen down on my job of kicking the shamelessness into action each Monday.

But no more. Fire away kids. Got a reading coming up? New series starting off in the fall? A workshop or class? A book or CD? Tell the blogosphere about it.

And don’t forget, be as shameless as you need to be.

Who Cares?

May 17, 2007, by ashraf 10 comments

I have been weighed down lately by this feeling of disillusionment with the very tangential place of poetry in today’s world, not to say its futility. It seems very few arts can claim a more marginal status in today’s culture, or could matter less for that matter. And the whole endeavor is so close-circuited that it seems incestuous at times, in the sense that the main audience for poetry tends to be poets, poets that are often more interested in hearing themselves than anybody else. Everybody is so eager to get published in journals that they’ve never heard of before (and hardly know where to acquire); and there certainly is more supply than demand. I am the first to admit that I haven’t read most of the other poets’ work in the few journals I have been published in; and I am sure I’m not alone. There is an ever-increasing plethora of little venues for poetry (or shall we just call it “self-expression”?): from the myriad literary journals littering the shelves of bookstores (and those are the ones that do make it to the shelves), to blogs and the infinite variations of online publication. But is anyone reading? The Poetry Foundation tried to answer this question with an admirable “scientific study”, the conclusion of which was, basically, what we’ve known all along: that almost nobody reads poetry, but those who do are essentially “better” people than the rest.

And yet, we are all here obviously for more than our love of our voices. We are here for a love—a perhaps idealized one (as all the best kinds of love are)—of a medium that we believe in, one with an ancient and profound history in perhaps every culture on the face of this slowly-simmering earth. We are here because, obviously, poetry has worked, at least for us, at one point in time. All of this reminds me of an excellent essay by Dana Gioia titled “Can Poetry Matter?” The essay is published in Gioia’s book of the same title (and which I have yet to buy/read). If you haven’t read the essay, I highly recommend it (and you can find it online at the link above). It is a very coherent and ambitious essay, and ultimately very optimistic (with its suggestion of a work plan and all). I first read it two years ago, and I don’t know if I was simply in a better mood, but the bulleted recommendations at the end of the article seemed feasible, if hopeful. Now… I obviously don’t feel that way anymore. Yes, it was a historic moment when poetry made it to The Daily Show with Jon Stewart in the form of Robert Pinsky; but it was also, to say the least, severely cringe-inducing. Maybe poetry is more at home on NPR, and in poorly attended readings at cafes and bookshops. Maybe that is why we are into poetry in the first place.

In conclusion, and in the spirit of true cynicism and self-absorption, here is my poetic riff on the matter, if anybody cares…

Just another shameless Monday

August 20, 2007, by Autumn Konopka 9 comments

It’s Monday, which means its time for some shameless self-promotion:  Tell us all about how awesome you are & where or how we can find out for ourselves.

Just plug in a comment telling us where you’re reading or performing, where your poems are published, when your book or CD is coming out, etc. etc. etc. All news is good news.

And after you tell us about you, click on that little “Notify me” box to receive emails of everyone else’s shamelessness from this week

have you ever wanted to just quit?

September 22, 2007, by Autumn Konopka 8 comments

recently, i’ve been overwhelmed with work (9-5 job work) to the point of having little to no time/energy to read or write poetry. add to that, nearly all of my recent submissions (scant as they may be, for same reason) have been returned with unsympathetic form rejections. and there you have my reason for wondering why i even bother and whether i should continue. BUT, this is NOT a plea for people to stroke my ego (and if you do that in the comments, i will delete them. Seriously. I’m the site admin, and I have that power).

My question is: have you ever what’s the point of writing poetry? or if not writing it (b/c I think for many of us there is no option but to write poetry), what’s the point of trying to put it out into the world? or what’s the point of the establishment of poetry… or what’s the point of the journals, if no one is reading them (including and especially the people who are submitting their work) and the ones that people are paying attention to are publishing lots of the same people?

I keep asking myself, What are they looking for? Of course, I think this line of thinking is how poetry becomes homogenized and thus the development of alternative presses/publications, but then the “alternative” seems to have its own way of being that becomes homogenized, so an alternative alternative develops and thus the cycle continues…

And I think there are definite trends… the “I” is in vogue… the “I” is out of vogue… everything is images… everything is metaphor… everything is long and rambling… everything is succinct and mysterious… everything starts en media res… everything has a narrative arc… this is of course exaggeration. But I guess that’s the question: do you ever have a hard time separating out Poetry — with a capital P and all its establishment, expectations, and other assorted baggage — from the poems that you want to write, the poetry (little p) that you see all around you every day. Some times I see a poem happening in the world, or I feel a poem stirring inside of me, and I think, oh, why bother, I’m sure somebody’s already written it, and better.

So, yes, this is my personal shit that I’m throwing out to the world, but I wonder how the rest of y’all handle it. Whether you think there’s a crisis of homogeny in the Establishment, whether you think there’s even an Establishment? Or do you think I’m just full of shit and feeling sorry for myself?

Linda M. Fischer  

The hardest thing for me as well is carving out enough time to write--it took decades (work, children) to decide I would have to make it a priority if I was ever to do it, and I realized it was now or never. I get satisfaction out of "making" a poem, finding the right language. I think you have to like the process to make writing a habit. Reading good poetry primes the pump for me. You have to have tunnel vision about pobiz and learn how to do the best you possibly can with what you do--you'll find an audience. Getting discouraged by rejections is pointless--you just have to persevere. I submitted one of my poems at least a dozen times to rejections. Then I rewrote a few lines I was never satisfied with, and this is the one that ended up being accepted for publication (this fall, Ibbetson Street)and also submitted for a Pushcart Prize. I remember reading a poet's comments in one of the Year's Best series--his poem having been rejected 17 times! That always stuck with me. Hang in!!


    • courtney bambrick  

      there have been poems -- poems by tess gallagher ("each bird walking"), patrick kavanagh (the later sonnets -- "the hospital," etc.), paul durcan ("six nuns die in convent inferno" and many more), lucille clifton ("hips" - hey, i needed to be reminded that i wasn't the only one with 'em) -- that have made me feel better about myself or have moved me so profoundly that i feel like a different person after reading them. and while i do not profess to achieve the same effects, i truly hope that other readers/writers/humans will be affected by what i write as i have been by what i have read. it's like that song, "last night a DJ saved my life..." we have no idea who is listening or reading.

      • Rosemary Cappello  

        Autumn, I just read your blog and feel compelled to respond. When I first started sending my work about 35 years ago, I received acceptances (as well as rejections) early on. I don't send out submissions very much any more, because I'm too busy at my other poetry work, but I wrote some new poetry recently and sent it out. I received the rejection yesterday. I'm not one who papers the wall with rejections; I threw it out. I always bear in mind that the sense of fulfillment comes in the writing of the work, not in the publishing. Yes, it is important to share it, but it is quite a trick to find those editors who appreciate one's work. Who knows what is in the mind of editors? It would take a book to elaborate on that, on the various reasons why the various editors reject a poem. I have received rejections that said "we're filled up" or some other cop-out. I became an editor to be a non-editor. To never say to someone, "there's no room," to rather ask "can I hold it for the next issue?" I've often made suggestions to poets I've rejected of how to improve their work and I'm happy when they are open to advice, work with the poem, and resubmit it. But more to the point of what you are saying: personally, in my writing, do I ever feel like quitting? No, because it's not about the acceptance but about the creating or the making of the poem. What can I say. . .but once when I was thinking of a poem and couldn't sleep, I finally got up at 5 a.m. to write it and my husband said, "Your poetry is a powerful force." Yes, it is a powerful force, so don't try to quash it. Love it. Nurture it. When I receive a rejection this is what I think: "Do I agree with the editor that this poem is unacceptable?" If so, I work at editing it. If not, I think, well, it's that journal's loss and I'll try another. Keep on giving readings. Exposing your work at Open Mics, seeing how it is received, is a good gauge, and an opportunity to get instant feedback. Don't give up.

        • Helen W. Mallon  

          I actively practice inoculating myself against discouragement. I am aware that when certain thoughts set in, I'm in trouble. Often they start with jealousy over another writer's success, often someone who has been unfriendly to me in the past. Someone who wouldn't give two rat's eggs about my work, and from there it's an easy extrapolation to the rest of the reading world.

          I have a small collection of books, essays, etc that I refer to whenever this poison begins to seep in. One of my favorites is from the choreographer, Mark Morris, quoted by Joan Acocella in her wonderful book 28 Artists and 2 Saints. Morris was invited by the Belgian govt to show his work for 3 years. He was consistently booed at his performances, and the reviews were scathing. He stuck it out the entire time. He didn't quit. Someone asked hin how he stood it, and he replied, "It's a review, not a gun."

          This is a huge problem for artists from the famous to the obscure. I have had to mount an aggressive compaign with myself, because I don't want negative thinkng to sidetrack me even for 5 minutes. Acocella's book addresses this, but you might consider coming up with your own literary vaccines--things you can read that cut through the crap and set your heart straight again.

          It's a thought, any way. Best of luck and whatever happens, keep writing!!


          • Autumn  

            g, i will never cheer for the cowboys. never.

            alla, you should be a motivational speaker (which is not to say you shouldn't be a poet)

            rachel, it's funny... what you are articulating is i think exactly why i've been having trouble. it's about the process rather than the publication credits. and i totally get that (although sometimes, like saturday) i was feeling mired in the pobiz crap. but i think i'm feeling mired also because I'm so far away from my process right now. life has been unforgiving in terms of allowing me the space & time to read & write. so i'm not getting to write, yet i've got all kinds of ideas... so there's a bottleneck. but then when i do get the time, there's all this pressure like "okay, now, make the magic happen." so, i sit and stare at the page and write nothing. ugh! but then of course even that is little more than a self-fulfilling prophecy.

            i think in the end, the decision you've made to distance yourself from PoBiz is where i'm arriving. i guess for each writer its probably a little different, but i'm realizing that i'm putting my energy into things that are draining, rather than replenishing. i need to stop thinking that at some point the drains are going to turn into wells, see them for what they are, and walk away.

            • Rachel  

              I have often wondered what the point of writing is. That though has basically been the source of every writer's block I've experienced in the last ten years. Sometimes I think about what I do with poems - I move words around on a page.

              I move words around on a page.

              That's it. And I think that, somehow, is going to affect a change in the world? No frigging way. Sigh.

              That's why I decided to stop doing Poetry, with a capital P - no MFA for me. I don't want to teach it. I don't want to study it in a classroom. I want to experience it, to live it. I don't want to play the games of the Poetry Establishment, I don't want to participate in the nepotism and political back-rubbing. I want to write, and read, and have fun with it.

              Screw the PoBiz.

              Rachel, feeling decidely rebellious today.



              Alla Vilnyansky

              You know it's funny to come across this posting today, just yesterday I received another rejection and usually I am pretty immunite to them, but this one was part of a line of various types of rejections and as I was reading yet, another unsympathetic "no" hoping that at least they woud put a charity line in there like "you came close, but not exactly our style" something, anything, I began to wonder the same I really good at this? Am I a writer? Is my poetry good enough to read outloud to strangers? Or worst of all, is it good enough to read to people I know....I think the answer is that, well, unless you are completely dillusional (a possibility which I have already considered), if you think that you have a talent,you are probably right, I write every day on the train as I come home from work, poems come to me when I see certain things out in society, and I think they woudln't be just coming to me all the time if they totally sucked, I mean, would they? The truth is the most important thing a person can know is that no one else matters. If you love something, do it, do it until other people love you for it...don't pay attention to rejections, take critique, yes (which even I have a hard time sometimes accepting) but ultimately what you think of yourself and your talent should not be based on other people's reactions to your work, because with varying times and places and connections, they are going to be here I am giving positive advice on something that I have struggled with and am not sure of myself, Autumn I know you said you don't want any compliments so I won't hand them to you, all I will say is look inside, look straight ahead and don't stop for a second to doubt you who you are, and your calling in life.