The Speak Easy Now Appearing at the Rusty Truck

RT: What responsibility do you have as a poet? SpeakEasy01

FN Wright: I think all writers (poets included) should write to entertain the reader & not write to be writing or “famous” as some poets I know seem hell bent on doing. So many young poets seem determined to become the next Bukowski when they haven’t lived his life. Tried emulating it perhaps which of course is impossible to do I know one poet who feeds off others while trying to convince the reader they have actually lived the life they write about when in fact they haven’t. But the main responsibility is to write a poem that the readers can relate; and not make everything so bleak. There is a lot of humor in life & even death. Some poets need to lighten up some.

Bradley Mason Hamlin: None. Absolutely nothing. If a poet tells you he or she has a responsibility, he or she is an idiot, a liar, and a narcissist.

Christopher Robin
: Well, I have to peel my guests off the floor every once in awhile, but other than that it is only to tell the truth. All poets have that responsibility, I believe, no matter what; about our country and our neighborhoods.

William Taylor Jr: I suppose if you really feel the need to go and call yourself a poet, in my opinion your main responsibilities are to cut out the bullshit and write honestly.  And strive hard to find an original voice.  The world doesn’t need more bullshit poetry.  If you have nothing to contribute, your time would be better spent elsewhere.

David Pointer:
The only responsibility I have is as a citizen of America. I want to have some of my poems to be written on important topics. I don’t want to look back and realize I wasted all my time on fluff or trivia.

Hosho McCreesh
: As poetry doesn’t much matter to the world at large, let’s not get too heady about our responsibilities as poets… But, in all seriousness I’d say that we’re here to tell the truth, as well as we can tell it. The fact that no one cares should empower us to say those things we most want to–knowing that, best case scenario, they’ll be read by maybe 100 people, half of which will disagree, the other half of which will respond with various degrees of lukewarm to passionate support. I think we have to put out work we believe in, we have to be as honest with ourselves as we can, and say things both necessary and interesting–if we can. But to be clear, it probably won’t matter to anyone but us.

Scott Wannberg
: To be accessible yet not shy away from metaphors, and if
swimming in a dark pond, try to find a little breathing light

Jennifer Blowdryer: Not to impose my work on the uninterested. Hit it and quit it. Not to lie overly much.

Misti Rainwater-Lites:
I have a responsibility to myself to be unpredictable and smart.

Jack Henry: In my opinion, none. As a person that is recognized as a poet I am responsible to help other writers in any way I can, as I see fit. I have a responsibility to open the eyes of others to poetry, to bring it into the schools, to promote small press, lit zines and other writers. But this is as a person, not a poet. If a poet feels any responsibility it should only be to the honest word and nothing else. To feel responsibility to anything other than that blocks your ability to be a true poet. I know Socrates, Plato and a thousand other dead and living poets just rolled their eyes at me, but you know I am right.

Rebecca Schumejda
: To promote the art and other poets.

Eugenia Hepworth Petty
: The responsibility of the poet is to tell the truth. Whether or not the poem is spot by spot factual is not the point, but it must express universal truths. The poet is the conscience of a society; the voice for the afflicted; the healer, prophet and shaman.

Alan Catlin:
To do the best that you can

Howard Good: There are funny answers to this question (to be a sex god and/or a legendary drunk) and serious answers. If I was opting for a serious answer, I’d say my responsibility as a poet is to create a space — on the page, in the reader’s mind, in the culture at large — where fire can be rediscovered and a strange sort of beauty can happen.

A.D. Winans
: The only responsibility I have is to myself, and that’s to be honest and not lose my integrity.

Father Luke: I have a responsibility to fuck my girl friend, eat, sleep as much as I can, and live my life. I’m told that’s a Bukowski way of looking at things. I feel no responsibility toward the “Nation” or the world, if that’s what you mean. Living on the streets for 27 years has kept me independent of any social responsibilities. I write for me, I always have. I always will.

Chris Toll: All the responsibility lies within. My poems won’t change the world, but I do believe my poems – and my writing of my poems – will change me. This is my religion.

Todd Moore: Responsibility is for Baptists and accountants.  I just write the poem and hope I don’t fuck it up too much in the process.

20 Responses to “The Speak Easy Now Appearing at the Rusty Truck”

  1. Carter Monroe Says:

    What Bradley Mason Hamlin said.

  2. Father Luke Says:

    It would be a kick in the balls to gather
    everyone here for a weekend.

    Just saying.

    – –
    Father Luke

  3. If writers were responsible people we’d get real jobs.

  4. F.N. Wright Says:

    i shd add that i write 2 entertain myself as well, if not more so, than the reader since i do not have any readers in mind when i write a poem. as henry miller said, “when i write i work, when i paint i play.” tho i take both very seriously i’m really playing when i do either tho i often make it seem like work because, lets face it, it is work but when looked at as play i don’t tend 2 take myself 2 seriously.

  5. haha i could not imagine a room of poets such as us in one room…it would be loud, crazy, and a fucking blast…

    jck hnry

  6. My responsibility as a poet is to write
    because the emotion I’ve captured is
    so raw, honest & necessary that others
    must read or hear it, or I will certainly
    die a type of death–real or imagined.

  7. Party at Father Luke’s place!

  8. Father Luke Says:

    Anyone that makes it to Oregon has a standing invitation at my place.

    – –
    Father Luke

  9. F.N. Wright Says:

    well, father luke, just where’n the name of blazes in oregon r u? i ain’t that far from there & doc’s lettin’ up on my reins a little so i figure i cd pick up brad & lucy hell on the way up, doubt if we can get a.d. 2 budge but as an ex of mine used 2 say, “you never might know.” only thing i got planned in next few months is livin’, doing a “poetry reading” in april then hopping a train 2 my place in illinois in may 4 a few months… it wd be quite a gathering i must admit.
    scot, u stirred all this up; whaddya have 2 say 4 yrself?

  10. Father Luke Says:

    Portland – SE 99th Ave – There’s couch space for a few.
    I rent, but WTF, you know. We write two poems each, publish it as a book,
    and the rest is history.

    – –
    Father Luke

  11. btw–wright, i was thinking the damn thing, but a gathering at the Rusty Truck Ranch some spring or autumn day…i have room inside and 60 acres for those that want to sleep out…readings at night. have some route 66 type motels close by–writing some jazz during the day and lake activities 5 minutes away

    i could feed the lot/byob

    poets in the woods with bar b q and booze is a dangerous thing–a woodstock of words if you will

  12. Father Luke Says:


    Put a date on it.

    If all eighteen of us show up, and write
    two poems, it’ll be a perfect 36.

    Publish it as such:

    A perfect 36

    I’m in.

    – –
    Father Luke

  13. F.N. Wright Says:

    if u can make it anytime in june 1st to nov 1st (approx) i’ll be @ my cottage in illinois. about a hundred miles from st. louis & poplar bluff wouldn’t be that far 4 me. if all 18 of us can’t make it then the burden w/be on those who do 2 write enuff poems 2 get the magic 36 number.
    father luke,
    i wouldn’t mind a trip up yr way before i go 2 illinois…excuse 2 see my good friend & his wife & one who established my art website & runs it cuz him n his wife dig my art 4 some unknown reason. his name is john barber, brautigan’s bibliographer… he lives in vancouver.

  14. F.N. Wright Says:

    plus a chance 2 meet u.

  15. geezus…what a circle jerk!

  16. man ol’ raindog rained all over that parade

  17. F.N. Wright Says:

    wouldn’t raindog be a part of the circle jerk?

  18. looks like we’re all somewhere inside that 360 degrees

  19. Raindog can’t jerk off for no one’s benefit anymore…why do you think he’s so cantankerous?

  20. Father Luke Says:

    Raindog: You got to be there, dude.

    – –
    Father Luke

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