The Hermit Poet Returns

Once upon a time, I was a blogger.

To be precise, from January 2005 to June 2009 I blogged as The Hermit Poet (click for the archived version) and wrote regularly about poetry, displacement, translation, publishing, and exile — themes which were largely the ones which were informing the poems that eventually would turn into my first book. The blog was a way to connect to other poet-bloggers. I discovered a community of fellow writers whose posts inspired me to write, introduced me to poems and poets I did not know, made me laugh about the writing life, and allowed me to participate in conversations and reflections that helped me grow.

The blog wasn’t just a social outlet though. It also became my lifeline. During a very difficult period from June 2006 to June 2007, I found myself unemployed and back in Canada following my MFA. I was struggling to find a place for myself. I had tried and tried to find a home for my book manuscript. And I was spending a great deal of my time and energy helping my mother care for my father who was dying from a very accelerated form of ALS.

So I wrote and blogged a lot. I let the blog become my companion and my magic mirror, a place to muse and reconsider my life, my hopes, and my fears. In my posts, I grieved there as well — bid farewell to my father and to others who I lost over those years. Blogging often helped me find a path through hard to articulate emotions, gave me space to expand and explore. And sometimes those posts would trigger poems, launch new essays and posts, send me further and further into the world of imagination.

I’ve missed blogging. I’m not certain why I stopped in 2009. Perhaps it was the pull of Facebook and other newer social media sites. Perhaps I was just too busy with PhD classes and dissertation research. Perhaps I wasn’t certain how much of my interior life I wanted to share. But I do feel now is the time for a return.

In the coming weeks, expect a variety of different types of posts. I’ve got some ideas I’m kicking around about the figure of the hermit poet in Chinese poetry. I’m also feeling an itch to write and muse about some of the historical figures and themes that underlie my third book of poetry, still very much in embryo.

Obviously resistance, power, and erasure as they play into current events and run through history are on a lot of our minds. I want to write about alternative avenues of learning, which is to say mentorship that happens outside of the traditional university environment. I’m still at heart a tech-geek and programmer, so I imagine occasionally I’ll write about AI and robots. (I did, after all, write a dissertation and an entire second book of poetry around Charles Babbage, AI, and modern programming languages as poetry). And there are always things in sci fi, fantasy, anime, and K-Drama/J-Drama that fascinate me.

I remain deeply interested in poetry, poetics, and translation—so no surprise, I’ll continue to discuss these things as well.