I am slightly frustrated today. Why is it that so many poets I come in contact with don't seem to be so much about the freedom and beauty of writing their poems? I have joined several different poetry sites, trying to be a part of some sort of poetry community, and feel that so many of them focus on the wrong things, or at least in my point of view of what poetry should be. Some groups (even though it was not set up to be) were filled with criticism, to the point of criticizing you simply for your poem not rhyming. What? Why are you even reading poems then? The last I joined I thought was filled with a lot of fun people, keeping it all positive, but then discovered they seemed more interested in recognition. I just don't get it, to be honest. Within this same group I was misunderstood (for a very long time) to be someone else, even though I kept expressing I am not that person. Do we seriously write that similar? Then I grew excited to be asked to be featured on their site, only to discover, yet again, I was haunted by that mysterious identity. So the awkwardness continued and was still asked to be featured, then was turned down because I refused to share my real name and personal information that I don't find appropriate online. Did these people not get the memo of internet safety? I let it all slide, shoving it all underneath my it-doesn't-mean-anything rug. Until I tried to insert myself more actively, offering to share some beautiful photos taken while I lived in Alaska (because they were asking for any participants to share photos), and was turned down because I was unknown to them and too new (yet I wasn't). What, again?! I thought I was someone you knew from way back? Then when I pointed this out, I was told no, because I don't comment on others, proceeded by a lecture on why I need to. This is where there rug quickly disappeared, because I personally make a point to comment on all who comment on mine, plus a few extra (because it seems so darn important to bluntly reveal to the poets that you've read their poems). After that I spent some time away from this group, my first poem back sharing, and I made a personal error in accidentally forgetting to leave a comment on a poem I actually read, and receive an incredibly rude comment from said poet in return, less than two days from him commenting on mine (apparently now there is also a very small time frame for returning comments). What is happening here? Again, I just don't get it.
To me, poetry is something so different, too sacred to be weighed down with all this ridiculousness. I have no problem supporting fellow poets, no problem sharing and reading others' poetry, no problems with leaving comments, but why are so many poetry sites harboring such negativity? Why has the focus on the beauty of the poems been shucked aside to reveal a greedy expectation of form or too much emphasis on everyone knowing who you are and counting comments? I mean, this person had to go through a long list of 55 comments and actually figure out who didn't respond to him. I am a little sad about this, as I was hoping to return to this poetry community with a fresh start, leaving all my previous qualms behind to try and focus on the good of sharing between other poets, only to be reminded with my first poem sharing that recognition is what matters most. That is not what poetry is about. I will shrug off this bummer feeling by indulging myself in some beautiful fireworks...then write about them later!