This essay is marvelous. I know I often feel the same way as do many of my writerly friends.
The Neurotic-Growling-Self-Loathing Side of Poetry Biz
“Really?!” I mutter to myself, “Norton (or Knopf, or FSG, or Copper Canyon, or…) sees fit to publish this sentimental mediocrity?!” This little conversation with myself not infrequently happens when I get to the bottom of whatever poem I’ve been reading on Verse Daily or Poetry Daily in The New Yorker. I recognize that it is not useful. I even recognize that I might be wrong about the poem/poet in question and that taste in art is profoundly variable. But I have the conversation anyway, often, and gut-wrenchingly, because, of course, the rest of the text has to do with how many years (and contest fees) it’s taking me to find a publisher for my second book, and how many years it took to find a publisher for the first one, and how lousy my acceptance rate is with journals.
And sometimes, I’m pretty…
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