Titling

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Someone recently brought up that the titles of the majority of my poems rarely reflect what I discuss in the piece. Well, I already knew that. When I was in my MFA program one of my classmates mentioned it, she was extremely put off by a title because she felt that I was trivializing a traumatic event. As if the poem wasn’t about my trauma. My personal trauma that I experienced, suffered, and survived. So I understand that my system might make it a bit difficult to determine what you’re going to read about but…for me title selection is personal and it’s part of MY creative process. I would never tell another poet to change the title of their work. I, however, have received several suggestions (mostly in workshops) but I only changed one title. One. That poem is “Invaded” and the title was originally “Invasion.”

I understand the purpose of titles, and some of my favorite poems and poets use titles that not only reflect the content of the poem but also the title may be a line from the piece. That’s just not how I do it. And that works for me. It doesn’t mean that I’m not a poet. It just means that I’m quirky.

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