Ask-a-Poet nov. 2012

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.

  1. Rebecca Kai Dotlich
  2. Douglas Florian
  3. Nikki Grimes
  4. Lee Bennett Hopkins
  5. X.J. Kennedy
  6. J. Patrick Lewis
  7. Jack Prelutsky
  8. Marilyn Singer
  9. Allan Wolf
  10. Janet S. Wong
  1. (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.

  2. (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.)

  3. (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!

  4. (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.

  5. (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 song.

  6. (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 you." And every development would have its own poet-in-residence, of course!

  7. (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.

  8. (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.

  9. (e) I'd like to be a menu-writer.

  10. (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.