Fight for your right to destroy bad poetry. Join others with common interests ridding the world of shitty writing, especially in the form of poetry. AASP is always recruiting new members. Meet monthly at your local pub.
I’m going to throw this out there: I do not like today’s poetry. And I am pretty sure that many of you probably don’t like it either. Now, I’ve thought this point over in my brain, every time my poems got rejected for publication in journals or ignored for winning national contests (which in my mind I should have won). And after each rejection, I always wait to see who was announced the winner, runner ups or see who were published. Reading these poems that did make the cut, more times than not, I ask myself “Is this good? Is this what people want to read?” Then I inevitably compare my writing to these others and assume that what I write is just crap because it didn’t win, it didn’t make the cut and then I stop writing for weeks at a time. Boo!
I don’t handle rejection well. No one does. But I am going to be a critic here, not because what I write is the best by any standards, but because I have begun to notice just a sad trend. The poems that do win the contests, the ones that do end up getting published, I notice that 98% of them are by already published authors/poets. And that these individuals are most of the time professors or teachers in the academic field. Colleges, Universities, in-residences etc. Ugh. After you notice the trend about the secret to getting published or noticed for poetry, the answers to the questions I asked earlier become glaringly obvious.
Poetry in itself has fallen by the wayside. No one reads it. Big house publishers don’t want to touch it. Individuals that are publishing new collections of poetry are again the ones with jobs in high academia. Colleges and universities help pay for these professors and academic instructors publish. Because the more their employees publish, the better the college program/school look. The better these instructors look. The better someone or something look = more money invested. And what I have read of current poetry, it’s not even that good! Again, I’m not here to advocate that my poetry is better than Professor Joe-Schmo at X- University, who has a degree in creative writing, where I am self taught, and have a degree, just not in writing. I’m here to point out the sad fact that it’s no wonder that poetry has fallen by the wayside in mainstream literature, because the “business” of publishing and getting noticed by readers has turned into a single sided corporate jungle.
But what does make good poetry? Good poetry is something that can speak to a multitude of people. It conveys something in a particular use of words. It evokes feeling and thinking. This doesn’t mean that it has to be mainstream, just that let’s say, your mom picks it up to read, she gets it just as much as someone who reads poetry routinely does. (Hi, Mom!) And for the most part, the poetry published in the literary journals are usually none of that. Poetry that I have read in journals talk about a personal experience, which only that person writing it will truly get. It’s never put into a context or written in a way that may touch someone else in the same or perhaps different way. And isn’t that what is taught about poetry in school? That a poem could mean different things to different people? That some words pop to some more than others and vice versa? And how can poetry be meaningful to others when it’s just reading someone’s personal diary?
So I plea to humanity, the gods of writing and poetry, I plea to the publishers and editors, let’s try something new! Instead of focusing on a submitted work from a person that has a list of credentials that would scare any new writer away, how about let’s help find a new voice(s). Humans are awesome, and some even have a great way with words that are not professors in academic institutions. Some may have never been published, some may be new to writing poetry, but breaking through with a profound work of poetry should be similar in the way how new novelists are found. By good writing! And we are in need of eyes that spot the good writing, regardless of how long a poet’s bio page is. Maybe the public will be more interested in poetry and find its relevance and excitement if those in control of publishing allow it.
And that is why I am here with this blog. I’m tired of rejection and feeling that my words are not good enough after being turned away by journals and editors. I want to have control of my writing fate. I want the reader (you) to have a say in what is good, not money talking. Reading and giving it a voice. I want poetry to be reclaimed by society. I want poetry to be what it used to be, an art. Appreciated by many.
Read the poetry posted on blogs by poets that are struggling just as I am to find their place in a corporate type environment. Read the old and brilliant words by poets that were just as revered as movie stars in their day. Read poetry so it can be discussed intelligently in all levels of life, not just in school, but in the newspaper, book clubs, at the water cooler. Find and read poetry in hopes that the poetry section in your Barnes and Noble moves out of the shadows and once more proudly displays the works of art that they are.
So please join and fight for the AASP!