How Poetry Works & Why I Hate It

I've been learning a lot about the writing world and how it works this year. How important networking is, for one thing. Make friends with five editors of "significant" magazines and you've got a career (editors, make friends with five "significant" poets and you've got a magazine). I've learned how interlinked reputation and publication are. How you can convince editors with a well-crafted persona easier than you can convince them with a well-crafted poem (most wouldn't know one if it bit them in the ass: ask 'em what they think of Pound). How an editor can get funding for his magazine by connecting with the right journalists, and/or the right people who hold county (or state, in the US) and national purse strings. And how much that can be helped by having a list of "significant" national and international supporters to show the potential donors.
Well, it's probably always been the same way; and I'm not entirely innocent--I deliberately contacted well-known names when I started Blue Frederick to get the magazine more attention. But really the cynical business part of the poetry game makes me want to vomit just a little bit. That's why I've withdrawn into my own little corner of the web and do my thing quietly in the company of whoever wants to come along. I just don't play the game anymore because the larger poetry world seems too phony to me, too filled with giant egos playing games with other people's trust.
Listen, guys: if you get too far away from the kid writing poems in a cheap notebook in his bedroom because he likes to write and he's got nothing else to do, you're in big f****** trouble creatively. Look what happened to Allen Ginsberg when he became his own Allen Ginsberg doll.

Comments