We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Samuel Johnson said of poet Thomas Gray, insultingly, "As a poet, his sole virtue is his creativity."
The world is packed with poets these days, including some of a very odd breed of "professional poets" - a crazy idea in itself. Not many people read much poetry though, and even less often outloud as it is meant to be read.
In spite of the tenor of book titles like The Marginalization of Poetry and After the Death of Poetry, and in spite of the almost complete removal of the study of poetry from the higher reaches of literary theoretical studies — postcolonialism, poststructuralism, and the New Historicism — the writing of poetry has never been more feverish. There are 300,000 poetry Web sites. Six years ago, an heir to the Lilly fortune — herself an aspiring poet — gave $100-million to Poetry magazine, though her own submissions were all rejected by the editor. Poets continue to graduate in ever-larger numbers from those much-maligned M.F.A. programs.
Writing poetry, it seems to me, is an avocation and a hobby craft. I guess songwriting could be a profession, but one for a tiny few. I used to write poems, but now I specialize in doggerel for special occasions. In his article, Jeffrey Gray discusses evaluation-inflation of poetry, and makes a case for "satisfactory" poetry.
I'd be delighted to share the poem a friend and I wrote over about 300 beers to interested MF'rs. It almost certainly is not "great", perhaps not even "satisfactory" - But it is an "epic" poem, demanding of being read aloud, and was a runner-up at the Annual Hemingway International Poetry Festival back at the turn of the century.
It's a large file, about 460 KB, a 78-page PDF, which I still dream of publishing some day. (Poets should be dreamers) I'll e-mail it for the asking, especially if you know a publisher...
Unfortunately, very little poetry is still being written. Sure, there are plenty of prose sentences cut up and stacked to look like verse, but that's not poetry. Poems have meter, rhyme, or ideally both. Not that some of those diced paragraphs don't contain some neat writing; just that they aren't poetry any more than the Pieta is a sonnet.