Today I was a featured reader at two separate poetry readings, with approximately 90 minutes in between. I am scheduled for another one on the 31st.
Here is the short bio I am using for these events:
Kevin J. O’Conner has not won any awards, earned an advanced degree, or been published in a bunch of journals—though he has recently had a poem included in The 2016 Poetry Marathon Anthology. He writes poems and publishes the best—or the least horrible—ones on his blog, Ordinary Average Thoughts, on as close to a daily basis as possible. Once he has accumulated enough poems he thinks are worthy, he publishes them in book form.
To date, Kevin has published eight collections of poems, the latest of which is called …but for the thoughts running through my mind, and three volumes of ‘love notes’ to the days of the week.
When not writing poetry, Kevin can be found copy-editing documents from far-flung places, attending open-mic readings, designing books, and contemplating what to make now that he is tiring of soup. He lives near Seattle with his semi-neurotic cat, Trixie.
This may seem like an odd thing to present as a bio—but it is a very Kevin thing to do: For starters, I am poking fun at the standard poet bio, which typically mentions the poet’s MFA (whether earned or in progress) from an institution of higher learning, writing awards received, and the names of several literary journals in which poems either have been published or are forthcoming.
At the same time, I am having a bit of fun at my own expense, as such achievements, for the most part, do not apply to me. I have neither the desire nor the focus to pursue a master’s degree, I have not won any prizes for my writing, and I have been published in exactly one journal, one anthology, and on a couple of websites.
It is also an accurate description of my activity and practice as a poet. I have published eight collections of poems so far, and I post new poems to my blog almost daily.
On a more basic level, though, I hope it communicates that one does not have to be an academic, accumulate trophies, or pursue publication through ‘standard’ channels in order to present oneself and be taken seriously as a poet—that pursuing the craft and working hard at it is enough.
In my case, though I often feel it is taking much longer than I would like to make a name for myself, I do seem to gradually gaining some recognition among people in the local community who have been doing this a lot longer than I have. Some have even told me they think I’m good.
I think that’s a good start.
(11 March 2017)