I am honored to hold the title Poet Laureate of Oshkosh. However, I know the role was not created to celebrate my poetry, but to foster poetry in Oshkosh.
I read poetry and I write poetry. But I never really tried to celebrate it. So this role has helped me to examine the value of poetry and its importance in our lives.
Poetry has a long history and if you think it is no longer relative, imagine what your life would be like without music.
Poetry is especially relevant for writers. I believe that even if you are writing nonfiction, a short story or a novel, there is a poem rolling around in your psyche lighting up the words to use like a pinball machine.
So my message to the writers is this:
If you write poetry, then you are a poet
make sure to call yourself a poet.
(Subtext- If you write, call yourself a writer_
There is no minimum number of people
that have to read your work to be called a writer.
I was lucky enough to be named the poet laureate.
I am honored. Perhaps I will go on to make an impact
on more readers. But I don’t need to be concerned with that.
I have met people in Oshkosh that will never publish their work.
But they had the impact on the right number of people.
We have a member of our writer group that collected his crazy stories for his youth..
I will always remember his story about the time he put a v-12 boat motor into like a 1929 Mercury. The loop was successful He wrote something. It was read. It will be remembered,
Last year, we had another writer die of Covid-19,
Linda’s writing will not reach the audience she hoped for.
but those people that read it or heard her read it, will carry a piece of it.
Certainly not as many people as
Stephen King, but more than if she had not written it. As we read our works,
We impact now. Which is all we can do. It’s all we need to do!