Everyone is throwing around accusations today.  Hercule Poirot is on my television revealing a murder plot as I write.  How can such a demure Belgian be so terrifying?  “The HORNET it was already DEAD! You stung her with this.”  “Poirot, he remembers everything….anesthesia was your specialty long before psychiatry!”

Then there’s this post on Huffington that names “the 15 Most Overrated Contermporary American Writers” according to Anis Shivani, a fellow contemporary American writer.

“The language was already defeated.  You killed it with inscrutable line length!” As an MFA myself, it is easy to see how impenetrable contemporary literature is.  It was often hard to predict which poetry would be reviled and which would be hailed by my professors.  I have not read any of these poets or fiction writers in great enough depth to say whether they are truly overrated.  I have disliked poems by Jorie Graham and have actually felt that other poems communicated something to me. That’s always been the fundamental “moral core” of poetry to me–does the poem communicate something meaningful about humanity? Does the method of communication makes sense within the poem?

There is something so alluring about a hit piece like this, the open acknowledgment of the competitive and strangely political nature of academia-supported writing.  But I always wonder how much it helps to have a fellow writer sound such an alarm–it’s hard not to suspect the author’s motives.  Also, my MFA program paid me to write for two years.  Maybe it was pretentious and miserable, but I can’t argue with young writers getting paid to write.  And I met some great people.

Also I think Billy Collins not-so-secretly hates poetry.  Otherwise I can’t explain him.

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