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A person can love puppies, sunsets, chocolate or sleeping. People who like these things do so in a very general fashion; they hardly ever say, “I only love brown puppies. Furthermore, the ones with floppy ears make me want to puke.” Or, “Oh, that sunset’s a little too pink for my taste.”A sunset is not a steak.And poetry is not as reliable as chocolate.Nobody loves poetry – that is, all poems or even the majority of published work. In fact, if one’s affection for poetry were based on a ratio of poems one loves to poems of which one can’t believe anybody else, let alone an editor, can bear even a single caesura, then everybody would hate poetry.So-called fans of the genre constantly insult poets for rhyming or not rhyming, using too many metaphors or not enough, or for writing about nature, love, souls, rain, things that should remain in their journals, arcane crap that doesn’t mean anything, etc. Some people despise poems about poetry or worse, about teaching poetry or taking poetry classes. I once dismissed a poem about the death of a spouse because the man who wrote it had never been married.I suspect most of this rudeness comes from one basic fact: People who like poetry tend to write poetry, and see other poets either as inspiration or, more commonly, competitors.
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