Even though I often incorporate humor in my writing, I certainly take poetry very seriously and live it daily. I read it, write it , think about it constantly, almost to the point of obsession.
With that in mind, it's sometimes difficult to explain to people that, for me, poetry isn't a hobby. It isn't something I do just to pass the time; it's a vocation.
Todd Swift, a Montreal born poet currently residing in London, England and the poetry editor of nthposition has recently written a post that goes further in detailing what it means to "accept the calling."
I teach creative writing, and believe firmly (unlike some such teachers) that many aspects of writing can be taught - especially the forms and conventions that poets need to know (of) in order to master their craft. However, today, a tutorial got me to thinking. The student said they "didn't want to be a poet, just learn how to write poetry". Well and good - modest, even, you might think. And, in England, it is common for serious, published poets to say (at least in print interviews) they don't call themselves poets. Still, I prefer my priests ordained, and my surgeons to be professional. More to the point: poetry is a calling, a vocation, a way of life. It is possible (it might even be a good thing) to quickly train "non-poets" to learn to recognise, and compose in, a variety of traditional forms (The Sonnet, for example). What is harder to teach is "the vision thing".