I don't think I'm alone in saying that poets are often the most in love with their current work. At least that's the case with my poetry. I love my new poems so much that I leave them in the safety of file folders on my computer and do not even contemplate reading them at events or even sending them out until I have an urgent reason to do so. It's like my elementary school sticker collection. I wanted to protect the stickers, to keep them safe by not letting anyone--including myself--see them, let alone peel them from the harbor of their pages.
Is this poem-hoarding? Perhaps. But yesterday was a brutal winter day, and once I finally made it to campus I had time to do a few revisions, and then I decided to read all new poems at the Lakewood Library event that evening. The day was so busy that I did not have time to fret about whether I'd miss a word, inadvertently "revise" something on the fly, or flub the cadence of a line. And somehow, when I was up at the podium, it all worked out. Since the poems were new I read them extra slowly, and they were kind to me.
Reading the brand new poems when they were still brand new enabled me to return to the feelings I had when writing them. It was kind of like one of those capsules that expands into a dinosaur sponge when you toss it into the bathtub, only instead of a dinosaur it was a poem. In the wake of this sentiment, I vowed to return to the poems and get them ready to send out. Sometimes you find a "push" in the place where you'd least expect it.