So I write a lot of poetry and I was thinking of self publishing a poetry book. I know how to do that pretty easily because I’m putting together a poetry anthology for charity.
A lot of the poetry is quite personal but I’m okay with putting personal stuff out into the world. But I’m not sure about putting out poetry where I’ve written about other people.
There’s a quote by Anne Lamott- “You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.”
I agree to an extent.
But there’s a decent amount of poetry that I’ve written when I’ve been in a not-so-great place and haven’t been particularly kind about the people I’m writing about. I don’t write about people so much as the way they made me feel though. So it is my story, not theirs.
99% of the poems about other people are so vague that even the people they are about, probably wouldn’t know who they are about. So they are okay to publish, right?
If I don’t publish any poems about other people, then this dilemma goes away.
But then it feels like I’m being fake, because no one is an island.
Then again, I have a lot of poetry that doesn’t have anything to do with other people. Writing about the way music makes me feel, or dealing with having a chronic illness, what mental illness is like. So do I just publish those ones?
How much do I own the stories that include other people?