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dverselogoIf it’s Tuesday, it must be Open Link Night here at dVerse Poets Pub, which has, in its relatively short existence, become appointment viewing for the Internet poetry community.

I’m Joe Hesch and I’ll be hosting this gathering of creative folks tonight. Take some pride in that identification, friends. We all know it isn’t all that easy to do what we do, especially if, as I do, we wear perfectionism like this dVerse Pub apron.

Ever have one of those weeks…? I know, sounds like definitive bar room small talk. And, considering this is a pub and I’m the bartender, and talk is what I do…you’d be right. I’m working on little sleep these days what with the flu and the fits-and-starts struggle with a new endeavor on my desk–a novel. And boy, is THAT hard! But, like you, I still can’t stop writing poetry almost every day. At least I think it’s poetry. But it wasn’t always this way.

A few years ago, I would suffer from the empty page and empty head malady that I choose never to call Writer’s Block. I figured it was just another case of my usual “paralysis by analysis,” which you astrologically inclined artists would best explain by my Virgo Sun Sign. Yeah, that’s my sign…another bar room trope.

Nevertheless, there would be large gaps of inactivity of either writing or posting, or maybe writing because I was posting, between my poems. A lot of pages ripped and tossed with three lines of stillborn poetry on them. I cured it with the help of my poetic mentor, the late, great American poet William Stafford, whose friends around the world celebrate his 99th birthday Thursday. Stafford was regarded as a great teacher, not just of poetry, but I think of any endeavor worth the doing.

In 1948 Bill joined the faculty at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon. He pioneered what many thought were unorthodox methods in the classroom for their time. Among them, as he would delineate in his book on the writing life, “Writing the Australian Crawl,” was telling his students: “Lower your standards and keep going. When it gets hard, don’t stop–it is hard because you are doing something original.”

So tonight I’m here to tell you, “Don’t stop!” Don’t worry about what others might think. Just write. I know now that, where I would toss an old poem for being clumsy dreck, today I would hold onto and think, “I can fix this, I’m really rolling now!” And one of the major helps in believing this was the feedback I got from dVerse Open Link Night. (I’ll bet you were wondering when I’d get to the point, weren’t you?)

That’s what dVerse and Open Link Night are all about–we’re all in this together and it’s nice to know what our peers think of our efforts. It’s even nicer to let them know what you think of theirs. Remember, we are here for each other. Engage your fellow poets, comment, let them know their work is being read, and enjoy and grow from the comments you receive.

So let’s get all original up in here.

Here’s the how we share:

  • Post a poem to your blog,
  • Link your poem to dVerse (1 per blog, please) by clicking on the Mr.Linky button below.
  • This opens a new screen where you’ll enter your information, and where you also choose links to read. Once you have pasted your poem’s blog url and entered your name, click Submit.
  • Don’t forget to let your readers know where you’re linking up and encourage them to participate by including a link to dVerse in your blog post. (Something I too often forget to do, so this is a reminder for me, too.)
  • Visit as many other poems as you like, commenting as you see fit.
  • Spread the word on the poems you enjoy if you’d like. Feel free to tweet and share on the social media of your choice.
  • Enjoy being part of this community.