The Pennsylvania poet and teacher Ann E. Michael writes a consistently interesting blog, full of nature and philosophy. In her latest post, she reacts to Robert Archambeau’s collection of essays The Poet Resigns, pondering whether she too should resign from writing poetry to focus more of her creative energy on teaching and tutoring, which seems to have a more positive effect on people’s lives. Quoting from her conclusion:
So perhaps my creative energy is better served in the direction of others through tutoring than through poetry; perhaps the former leans more toward the Good. Perhaps I am a better tutor than poet; this is indeed likely, although I have been poet-ing longer than I have been teaching. Then again, not to knock the art of teaching, but writing poetry is much more difficult than the teaching I do. And I get paid to enlighten people through my tutoring.
Not so through poetry. Indeed, Mr. Archambeau—you have gotten me seriously to think about tendering my resignation as a poet, though not without considerably more reflection on the possibility. Writing about the idea has helped me to understand where the Good fits into all of this, and what the middle way might be.
Read the rest. As for me, I am as opposed to Socratic/Platonic ideas of the Good as one can get, having self-administered a heavy dose of Zhuangzi in my youth. In fact, I’m not sure if I’d like poetry nearly as much if it weren’t so ignored and considered so useless. When I see the sorts of things that the vast majority of people value, what they consider useful and worth sacrificing their own lives and the health of the planet for, I can only shake my head. I think it’s fair to say that we live in a state of mutual incomprehension.