This is not a rhetorical question. Seriously. I want to know.
I have been thinking a lot about poets and what they look like. At the Vancouver Poetry Slam, I always try to find a picture of the feature poet on the web before I go to the show, so I can say hi before the show, and also so I know that's the poet. My observation so far is that woman poets look all kinds of different ways, but more often than not, the visiting poet from another city, if he's a man, is usually the weirdest looking person in the place. Sorry,sorry,sorry to all of the visiting man poets who I have met and who I now think look just fine. It's just before I know them, they look weird to me. Once I see/hear them perform and introduce myself and say hi, then they all look spectacularly beautiful and brilliant. I am not exaggerating. I am that easily swayed.
Which is why I was very surprised when I first saw George Bowering. I had seen photographs of him like this and this and this. So I had a certain expectation. (actually, not weird, but pretty much "literary" looking.)
Then he came to the West Coast Poetry Festival in July, and he looked like this. Yup. George Bowering looked like Hank Hill on King of the Hill.
I know it should not matter at all what a poet looks like (to answer my own question, rhetorical or not). But it may be distracting, at least for a while. Until the poet reads or recites his work then it doesn't matter. The impression made by the words overwhelms that first, shallow one.
I wonder what I look like when I perform as a poet. A Homemaker Mom, I suspect. Like this, or this, or this. That can be overcome somewhat by my words, but I think they mostly reinforce the mom-ness of me.
question: Were you ever surprised by someone's appearance?
mompoet - trying not to look, only to listen