The Velveteen Poet

Inspired by The Velveteen Rabbit (1922) by Margery Williams.

When do I become a real poet?
If I am not real, then so be it.
Can I write a poem without being a poet?
If I am a poet, then do I really know it?
Can I write some lines and not really be
A poet or a wordsmith, in any sort of poetic reality?
Would you mind if I did become a real thing?
Could I perform a song without having to sing?
Maybe this is not what I’m really after.
I’m happy with the craft without being the crafter.
When do I get to be a poet for real?
Does the audience decide, do they seal the deal?
Does the audience make the poet?
The answer? Well I don’t really know it.
Perhaps it’s important to reinvent
poetic identity, then maybe would I be content?
But when does it happen? When am I real?
Do I sign my own poetic seal?
Perhaps a poetic ministry
can assess our poems and to provide poetic validity?
Will they give me a sign and when will I know?
If I’m a real poet with a certificate to show?
But it’s more than this and it is not just academic.
Perhaps it’s something more simple and authentic.
It’s definitely not all glitz and glam.
But why is it so hard to ask who I am?
Maybe being a poet is about having some grit.
To speak a truth and to commit.
To exploring and poetic discovery.
Just being okay with the journey.
An acceptance of the grey areas and to articulate the unsaid.
Sometimes it’s good to turn things on their head.
When you love and you are loved,
then you become real so disregard the above.
Here’s the real identity twist.
Please let me put it just like this.
Maybe to be a poet is to be in between.
If I was a poet, then I would be velveteen.

by Pip McDonald

Pip McDonald is an experimental performance poet. She has recently performed with the Lost Souls Poetry Group at Wandsworth Fringe Festival. She has also performed as a guest poet at the Layers of Language event organised by the British Bilingual Poetry Collective at Rich Mix in London, as an invited act at POW! Play on Words event at The Bridge House Theatre in London, at the Earth Requiem event exploring climate change at Washington Arts Centre and at the Newcastle Poetry Festival open mic event at Northern Stage. She has recently published an original poem in the Nature poetry anthology available on Amazon, Spilling Cocoa, the #creativeHE annual 2021 and the JoyFE magazine. She recently co-hosted the #creativeHE open mic event on World Creativity Day in April 2022. She plans to perform at Spitalfields Studios at the Galvanise event, at Cave in Pimlico for the Summer Exhibition, as an invited act at New Poetry Shack in London and at High Tide Festival in Twickenham in July. You can follow Pip on Twitter: @PipMac6