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Find Your Giants

If you want to grow as a poet, stand on the shoulders of giants. I know you have heard this phrase before, but stop and take a moment to think about it. 

The greatest poetry movements in history have happened when great poets became FAR greater through associating with, and being sharpened by, OTHER POETS.  You can look at the Modernists, the Romantics, and even modern day poetry movements to see this principle in effect. 

As poets, I think we are innately independent. Creation is such a personal process. It takes a lot of humility and work to seek out people that are greater than you in your craft. Most won't do this, and will thus be limited to the confines of how far they can grow in themselves. Not saying  you can't grow without major influences -- but you will be limited. 

A wise man once told me that he seeks to find the rooms where he can be "the dumbest guy in the room." In other words, his strategy to become great is to associate himself with greatness, and learn from greatness. This is a key to exponential growth. 

Find heroes. Find people who are ahead of you in your craft. Find people whose art you respect (maybe poets, visual artists, playwrights, whatever), and make contact.  This principle doesn't only work for poetry -- it works for business, faith, and any category in which you are pursuing growth.  Find your giants, and make contact. 

You heard me!  Make contact. Shoot an email or a Tweet to someone who you think would never respond to you. Instead of telling them all about yourself and what you're doing, ask them penetrating questions that invite them to share their wisdom with you. For every 50 attempts you make, you might get one response. 

But that one response could be a life changer. 

Come on, you're a poet! You're bold, and passionate, and persistent. I know it's scary. 

I know because I am in the process of doing this right now. It's scary. But I have nothing to lose, and everything to gain. 

Find your giants, and grow!  I would love to hear your comments if this impacts you.  Even more, I would also love to hear about your results if you put this into practice. 

--Johnny Levy, Slam Poems Editor

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