Generally speaking, everyone loves a good fight as long as they’re not in the middle of it. Lost in the blur of words and the poets discussion was the reality for an unwilling participant. While I had known I was being quoted by the local paper and felt justified in questioning the process by which the new poet laureate was chosen, I made a mistake in how and when I expressed my opinion. Barbara Maria, Barbaria, was blind-sided and justly felt aggrieved.

The selection committee, an all-volunteer group, had known of my concerns but I completely agree with outgoing Poet Laureate Linda Buckmaster who stood by how the process worked, for the work the committee did, and the naming of Barbaria as the Belfast Poet Laureate for 2011 and 2012.

There’s a time and a place for everything, and I picked the wrong time and place to express my views and how to positively effect change in a process I had concerns about. I have expressed my apology to Barbaria personally and my hope is she will serve the term she has been appointed to.

Over the last week I had an opportunity to relax my reflexive defense and listen to many viewpoints. My intentions were good but so is the pavement on the road to hell. I’ve heard from many who sadly enjoyed taking this chance to make fun of poets and poetry, and that’s a particular disappointment.

The city of Belfast has benefited greatly by honoring and being inclusive of poetry and the arts. We were the first city in Maine to create the official poet laureate position and that is something for all of us to be proud of, to encourage, and to grow into the future.

There’s one sad truth in life I’ve found

While journeying east and west —

The only folks we really wound

Are those we love the best.

We flatter those we scarcely know,

We please the fleeting guest,

And deal full many a thoughtless blow

To those who love us best.

~ Ella Wheeler Wilcox