We need to have respect for ourselves and our craft and work hard at it. We need to constantly challenge ourselves and to share our craft (as writers and performers!) with everyone, especially those not blessed with a home life that is rich in words.
There is nothing elitist about valuing quality.
Nor, however does it diminish your (and my) creative efforts to have perspective on our skills, our innate talent, the level we have achieved in our craft, our ability to transform the lives of others as speakers, our commitment to taking our craft, poems,. short stories, whatever to others. Especially to teach others, a particular skill all of its own. Even some great poets and writers of other sorts are not good teachers, despite their own excellence.
So it is with a glad hear that I welcome the resignation of the woman who was selected in a totally bizarre process, to be NC next poet laureate. Unfortunately, from her letter, I do not think she really understands, has perspective on herself and the contribution she can make in a very demanding role. I was also saddened to see the comments made on the statement sent out by the past poets. Obviously the commenters , like our current governor do not take the arts seriously nor do they understand the role of a teacher. Poetry is not an elite art form. It is the gateway writing form for those who love words–nursery rhymes, songs. If the Governor wanted to take the role of poet laureate out of university environment he could have asked the arts council to send him some song writers of note–but of note, who have proven themselves at their craft, who have proven their social commitment by more than offering proceeds of a book and who have proven that they can electrify the state’s youth, introducing them to the joy of working with words, their heritage of literacy as North Carolinians of all economic and social levels.