The Impostor Poets

Not, not that guy in your workshop who refuses to read others because he’s worried it might influence his work–a group of Icelandic women who sound for all the world like they’re kicking ass by seeking to not be perfect. God, I wish I’d thought of this: impostor syndrome as a motivator. Think of how much I’d have gotten done.

Since the formation of Svikaskáld, we’ve taken this approach in various directions and also interpreted the root word in our name, svik—meaning betrayal, fraud, treachery, trickery, deceit, imposture—in many different ways. Any time we encounter a convention or tendency in society or the literary world, we give ourselves permission to put a question mark next to how things have been done, next to whatever it is that people seem to expect. That’s when, perhaps, we decide to svíkjast: to renege, to shirk, to refuse this precedent, to do things differently. We reject the original image of the poet—the macho master, the lone wolf. We do this by exchanging ideas, by “stealing” from one another, presenting ourselves as a group, sharing recognition, and not worrying about contradicting ourselves or the expectations of others.

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