there have been a few times in my life that i saw someone very closely imitate my writing style, especially in poetry. and i feel like it is a violation.
please dont get me wrong, i am very much about being inspired by others style. i do that all the time. our voices are an amalgamations of voices that we have heard through out our lives. a couple of months ago i read morrison’s home and i hadnt read her fiction in a couple of years, and in reading it, it brought to my consciousness how much the voice i hear in my head, is so strongly influenced from having read her as a teenager. she is a goddess of the english language. a similar revelation came to me, about influence on my work from re reading diane di prima and audre lorde and others.
and recently i read a series of poems from another writer and realized that there was something in the way he positioned himself in a story that i needed to explore more because it would allow me to tell certain types of stories that i have struggling to tell.
and there have definitely been folks who have said that they have been inspired by my way of telling. that is beautiful and i am glad to be able to give to others what has been given to me.
but, that is not the same thing as hearing/seeing my voice come out of some one else’s mouth/page. that is just fucking disturbing. especially when it is not credited directly and often to me.
and i know that sometimes it is done unconsciously. i have done that. not realizing that i had to closely taken someone else’s linguistic pattern and imagery and then been alerted to it, and then i made amends. because my actions were not aligned with my intentions.
for me the point of poetry is to break open the language, to break passed the language. not just self expression or self exploration but transcendence. which is why every journal entry is not a fucking poem.
and if you are imitating someone else’s voice, then you arent breaking open the language, you are doing something else. and if you arent acknowledging where your voice comes from, not only are you are not engaging in poetry, you are taking away/not being honest about what other writers are doing with their language.
there are poets, whose work is not personally for me. does not form me, does not inspire me, but i will acknowledge them as poets.
there are others who are just writing journal entries filtered. through a strong voice that got caught in their minds.
also that is in part what this lil blog is, by the way, it is my saying again and again whom i imitate/love/am inspired by. it is my way of saying thank you.