Poetry Community... How Important is it?

So, I had a pretty lovely weekend.

My new editor (oh how I love typing this... not that I don't absolutely love old editor, who isn't old at all... who is actually still my editor, but now I have two... oh man this is wild) invited me to his home this weekend for a poet's dinner. I had such a wonderful time! I wish I had taken pictures, but I didn't want to be, you know, that tacky girl at the end of the table throwing peace signs and giggling on about Facebook y mas.
Anyway, I mean, it's not a big deal, right? Getting together with a small group of friends, sharing a meal -- it all sounds pretty standard. But... you know, there's something magical that happens when a bunch of poets get together and talk, and... er... drink. Our discussion topics started off pretty prim and proper, but quickly got into the nitty gritty silliness about maracas, naked Saturdays, and tequila. It was really nice to get together, to get to know some of the poets in my local community, and to feel free to just talk.

Poets, I think, tend to be pretty social beings. I mean, some of us are. We have to be! We go out and do readings, we have to promote our books, build relationships with editors/publishers/reviewers/etc. And many of us are teachers, too -- so our lives are filled with conversation. I know it's an essential part of the "job," but sometimes, I feel horribly socially awkward.

But you know what helps?

Belonging to a community of poets who are doing the same thing alongside you.

Anyway, as a poet, I think I've really benefited from belonging to this "valley" poetry scene here. It's pretty modest, sure, but through word of mouth and just the friendliness and willingness of the poets in this community to reach out is making all the differenec in the world. I've made a lot of friends along the way, and I think I've come a long way since the shy girl I used to be before I started reading out in public. Sometimes, I feel like an absolute hermit, sure. And when it's been too long since I've done a reading, my poet buddies will remind me, encourage me, ask about my writing...

and really, I think that's made all the difference in the world, especially now post MFA.

Ok now I'm feeling all warm and fuzzy inside.

But anyway... do you participate in your local poetry scene?

When do we make the leap from colleagues, fellow poets -- to friends?

I think it's after you share a lovely glass of wine ;)