…And I couldn’t agree more. But I’m not sure if I’m jealous and that’s why I’m being so petty and bitter right now.
I read a successful poet’s work and just… cringed. I couldn’t even finish it, it was so bad in my uneducated opinion. And maybe that’s just it. Maybe if I’d taken a course on poetry in college I could appreciate its beauty, uniqueness… or whatever they’re selling. But that’s just it. I feel like I can’t relate to it. There are references made that are too obscure for the likes of me and I can’t help but wonder if this is a situation like The Emperor’s New Clothes. Maybe no one wants to admit they don’t “get” it, either and so they smile and applaud with all the other people who have no idea why they’re smiling and applauding, but they don’t want to stop in case someone finds out they’re ignorant, too.
I know that everyone’s tastes are different and I own that I’m way behind when it comes to the latest trends in either writing or fashion, but I know what I like and what I like isn’t that. What I read tonight (and the poem and poet will both remain anonymous) made zero sense to me and didn’t even have a lyrical quality to its nonsense. It was as if someone used a pair of scissors, cut up words or phrases from a newspaper, tossed them up like so much confetti on the glue-slick floor to see what would stick. It was as if someone used predictive text on their mobile phone to write their next great masterpiece. It was as if their words were in a saloon brawl and they smashed through the window to punch each other out of existence because that’s what words do to each other when they’re drunk and someone called them out. I don’t understand it and I don’t know why I would want to. Again, I find myself ranting about how much I hate modern poetry about as much as I hate modern art and for the same reason: it’s all splats of nonsense to me and not the fun kind.
To be clear, this is not a “I hate free verse” bitch-fest. Maybe once upon a time that might have been true of me, but I’ve since read plenty of free verse that made me fall in love, cry, or think. This poem, though, didn’t do any of those things. The only thing it made me feel was bitter resentment that that is what it takes to become successful as a poet. The only thing it made me think was someone sold their soul to the devil to have that piece heralded as art from a master. This poet must’ve been a Jedi master to pull such a mind trick over everyone of literary importance.
Seriously. What the fucking hell happened to poetry? It’s like the high school hottie aged like milk, underwent plastic surgery and the hack job made it even worse. I’m not saying love me instead or anything, but holy flying squirrel nuts, I finally understand why Cain slew Abel. I slave away for hours, digging in the dirt of my psyche, planting meanings here and there, nurture the words with tears, sweat, and agony and along comes some yahoo who turns in his crumpled, half-finished homework and calls his offering good.
Yeah, okay, I may just be petty and jealous. And I know I’ll get over it. Perhaps, one day, if I’m really lucky, I’ll get to infuriate someone else this much with my own crap writing. Or maybe one day, I’ll get what all this fuss is about. But for the time being, I’m just going to cry into my carton of ice cream and wonder why not me in a “what’s that poet got that I ain’t got” way.
And for the record, I’m sure this poet is a nice person and I wish them much happiness. The bastard.