Monday, June 11, 2012 • 9:10 AM Comments ()

Why It's Smarter Not to Be a Poet

posted by James Heflin

Being a poet is basically absurd. (I first typed "absurb," which is probably also true.) People are apparently reading the stuff, good, bad and middling.

But trying to get your book published? A very good poet of my acquaintance shopped his manuscript for 10 years without a bite.

Me, I've been really, really fortunate as a poet in many ways, which I gratefully acknowledge. I barely have room to complain. But a book? Not yet. No matter what else you may have done, that's not easy.

The problem with so many poets is that it's tougher to raise your voice and get heard--there aren't more microphones than before, to treat this metaphor as semi-legit. Just more people fighting to get to them and hook up with a stylin' deejay to scratch a few old-school Yeats recordings while they're showered with haikus admiring their pectorals and immortalizing their names among the four thousand other winners of obscure "fee-based" contests which are the only way to get your 15 minutes any more.

Perhaps this will gestate and become an actual rant later on when I have more time to type, but for now, I give you part of a recent rejection letter for your amusement:

Dear James,

Our contest is over and [you didn't win].

[Like, at all.]

Keep trying!


Emphasis mine.

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