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Monday, March 22, 2010

Stop poisoning the readership

I know it's hard to give up an ambition you didn't really make any sacrifices for--but please consider that every time you write a bad poem and throw a hissy-fit when the reader doesn't like it, you are DISCOURAGING them from reading verse. Bad prose writers are constantly mocked to their faces in ways bad poets are rarely mocked. Why? Bad poets freak out. They say 'you don't understand poetry.' Many of my readers e-mail me to say "well, I don't like poetry in general, but I like _your_ poetry," and I respond, "if you like language, then you're poetry's natural constituency."

Bad poets compensate for their terrible attempts at poesis by blaming the reader for the poet's failings. If you put your poetry out there, you expose it to criticism. Offering verse is offering a transaction: 'in exchange for reading this poem, I promise you'll get something from it.' Most poets though have no interest in the reader. They want the reader to come to them, rather than the other way around. It's vile, isn't it? The hypocrisy of that position? So if you found Toylit because I made what you might consider to be an 'unkind' remark regarding your poetry, consider that I am doing so for the sake of serious poets everywhere. Most supposed poets are really lifestyle tourists, who want to expropriate the identity of 'poet' without actually doing anything to earn it.

This is the difference between a lifestyle tourist and an actual poet: the poet's verse is merely the artifact of the performance art that is the poet's life. The lifestyle tourist goes and paints a smiley face on his penis and goes to Burning Man. The real poet mutilates his or her mind to maximize poesis. If you are going to trivialize my vocation then I am certainly going to mock your sad efforts at writing verse.

Why be one of a hundred million wannabe poets, when you could master tie dye, crochet, or really any other craft that has less competition and less at stake? You supposed 'language' poets are the worst too (not you Billy Collins): you study the means of communication, but communicate nothing of value. A poet with nothing to say is like a brand without a product.

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Kiera O'Brien said...


Khakjaan Wessington said...

Case in point

Sickboy said...

I will be reading for a few days now thank you.

Saffy said...

I am indeed here due to your comment and I have to say that I am always inviting feed back and open crit of my work. I read at events and have a lot of stuff on my poetry blog were funnily enough people can comment.

Also it is people like you with egos the size of Africa that made me shy of calling myself of poet or even an artist. You attack people with lo self esteem obviously without even looking at their work. I assume this is boost your own?

Maybe I've misread you and if I have I apologise.