In Praise of Tough Criticism
I am still surprised that one terrible book of poetry, and I'm sorry, it's just a horrible book received at least 12 glowing online reviews. I'm not sure how that happens, but it certainly does. Nobody and I mean nobody will even hint that the book is horrific. Yet, in the current poetry world, it seems the status quo to praise with faint praise. Of course, my book, received a review in Latino Poetry Review ie not a very positive review. I honestly do not understand glowing reviews of one book in particular, but I'm thinking maybe I am missing something, but everyone I show the book to says it's terrible and I do mean terrible, not merely mediocre but just plain bad.
It comes down to belief in a person's ability to help or hurt one's "career" and people do have writing careers. I have no apparent trade ability and the other person does. Five years after the fact I just don't understand people. I do however think some people have underestimated me as a poet. Yet lately my work seems a bit odd, possibly at times too full of private imagery and things I need to revise out of it.
But lord, people still are accepting this poet/administrator as a poet and I just don't get it. I mean the emperor has absolutely no clothes! And what's worse is the emperor thinks he's got a nice outfit.
Someone from Chicago assured me that in time these things work themselves out and the cream rises to the top. I don't think that's the case in contemporary American Poetry. I hope that this is true, that such attention is fleeting (for the bad work). But then again, maybe the absence of criticism from this terrible and I do mean terrible book speaks volumes.