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Fierce on The Page by Sage Cohen

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73

Oh, the Places You’ll Go

It took me a long time to understand why anyone would ever want to publish his or her writing. In the privacy of my teenage bedroom, I was entirely satisfied to write secret poems in my secret notebooks. After a decade of this private inquiry, I turned my gaze outward a bit and soon ended up in a graduate program studying poetry. Though I shared my classmates’ obsession with translating experience into insight through the medium of poem, I was unable to relate to their impulse to share that translation with others.

Gerald Stern, one of my poet heroes, was my teacher for a semester. I asked him one day what he thought the point of publishing poems was. “To reach people, Sage,” he answered. A chill traveled my spine. ...

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