Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Dear poetry world:

I am tired of quarrels about what is and is not poetry. I am tired of snipings about the supremacy of form versus free verse. I am tired of people who sneer when someone uses the wrong word, as in "I suppose you mean verse, not poetry," or "I assume you mean meter, not rhythm."

I am tired of people who revile the poems of more publicly successful competitors. I am tired of people who emote over every bit of half-digested doggerel they read. I am tired of vicious attacks on journal editors who reject a critic's poems, and I am tired of journal editors who dismiss the unfashionable work of unfashionable people.

I am tired of sites aimed at women writers that promote snappy marketing strategies instead of excellent writing. I am tired of publishers who reject manuscripts because they are too womanish. I am tired of the phrase "chick lit" and never want to hear it again.

I am tired of grant foundations that give fellowships to people who already have plenty of money. I am tired of asking people for recommendations. I am tired of trying to figure out how to convince foundations that I'm a serious writer even though I don't have a university job or a master's degree. I am tired of people who bitch about the poisons of the MFA system, and I'm tired of having to defend my decision not to go to graduate school.

In short, I have a head cold, which is making me temporarily misanthropic. But in truth, I'm also weary, weary, weary of the poetry world's waste of communal time. As Manny Ramirez once said, "See the ball. Hit the ball." Parse the ambiguities, apply them to writing poems, and feel lucky and/or melancholy. I have to go feed the chickens.


Dawn Potter
Minor regional poet


Anonymous said...

Go Dawn - home run! (Minor regional poet my ass.) Thanks for saying it.

Ruth said...


Maureen said...

With you on every word, Dawn.

jen revved said...

And that will save you, feeding the chickens. Because we are powerless over what everyone else does and when and how they do it, yes? love, j

A Guy said...

Beautifully expressed, Ms. Potter. The "waste of communal time" is a deep insight. Good health to you.