What would you like to be doing if you weren't a poet?
I posed that question to the 10 poets listed below. Can you match each
one with the replies that follow? I will post the correct answers in
about a week. If you are unfamiliar with a particular poet, you can click
on the name and go to their website.
- Rebecca Kai Dotlich
- Douglas Florian
- Nikki Grimes
- Lee Bennett Hopkins
- X.J. Kennedy
- J. Patrick Lewis
- Jack Prelutsky
- Marilyn Singer
- Allan Wolf
- Janet S. Wong
- (g) An opera tenor I’ve wanted to be,
But I note most sopranos are bigger than me.
However, the clincher is not just my body…
The truth simply is that I’m no Pavarotti.
- (i) I would like to be a musician--specifically in a rock 'n
roll band. Being a writer can be very solitary. But writing songs in
a band can be a very collaborative experience. I also like the idea of
performing with a handful of other musicians who I really enjoy being
around. And of course I would want a loyal fan base and steady income.
And a really cool touring bus. And time to write poetry. (Ooops, look
at me; backsliding already.)
- (c) I could definitely see myself being a home designer. I love to
watercolor, create textile art, and decorate, in general. A house would
be the largest possible canvas on which to create something esthetically
pleasing. I'd love that!
- (f) I would like to spend my next lifetime making something with my
hands. Specifically, how much fun would it be to blow classical glass
(not gas). Yep, a classical glassblower, that's the ticket.
- (d) I would love to have a singing voice -- not just any voice -- but
one such as the great Barbra Streisand. To find new ways to interpret
beautiful lyrics would be such a gift. There is so much poetry in beautiful
- (j) I would be a Utopia Builder (real estate developer). I'd create
micro-communities that are sustainable, diverse, architecturally-distinctive,
and full of amenities such as child care and pet care. Walk through our
wellness center (the "gate" to the community) and have a cup
of homemade chicken ginseng soup and herbal brews for "what ails
every development would have its own poet-in-residence, of course!
- (h) If I weren't a writer, I'd be a casting director. My sister-in-law,
who manages comedy writers and was the head of the comedy departments
of HBO and Fox for a while, says that I have "high actor awareness." I've
always been fascinated by the casting process and I think I'd probably
be good at it.
- (a) Country-western songwriter. I grew up listening to the singing
cowboys (Gene Autry and Roy Rogers.) My dad dearly loved Connie Francis,
so her music was a staple around our house. I poured over words of the
great lyricists, (Cole Porter, Johnny Mercer.) In college I took songwriting
classes. I always wanted to write lyrics to a song, and especially Country
Western. Not the 'she did me wrong' kind of song, but the heartfelt,
down to earth sentiments of life. The kind of song Reba McEntire, Faith
Hill or Taylor Swift might sing. I still might try, I buy and read songwriting
books almost (though not quite) like poetry books.
- (e) I'd like to be a menu-writer.
- (b) I sometimes get asked that question at schools: "What would
you be if you weren't a poet? I usually answer gastroenterologist, and
get a few laughs, but the real answer is "painter," and I'm
lucky enough to be a painter of abstract works of art. Painting is something
that occupies my heart and mind much of the time. This "other side" of
me is visible at my website:, while my poet side can be seen at my blog.