For the most part, I enjoyed Peter Campion's essay in the June issue of Poetry magazine "Grasshoppers: A Notebook." The last section in particular gives and important 'answer' to the questions I (and I'm sure many others) have pondered lately, "Why write poems anyhow?"
Earlier in the essay he bemoans (and who doesn't) that poetry has become a "guild" system, that young poets are constantly worried about their 'careers' and looking to experienced poets for advice. He then says you can see this if you spend more than an instant reading poetry blogs, where "the you-know-whats spew down the screen with a kind of poisoned earnestness."
I see no reason for this view. For me at least a blog is an area to spill out informal ideas, observations, foolishness, and yes, even some--gasp--earnestness. On occasion some real insight creeps in through the back door. I don't see a problem with this, and I also don't understand why anybody cares what poets write about on their blogs. I think that for some the blog community is another way to find friend and mentors--poets have been doing that forever. I don't think there's any shame in looking for support in this type of environment--the readers who want to sympathise will. The readers who don't can look elsewhere.
I realize that anyone can read what you write on a blog, and respond, even, if you have set up you account that way. But I think, with very few exceptions, it is misleading to quote from a blog and present that writing as representative of a poet's style, thoughts, ability, whatever. I'm writing this before I brush my teeth--I'm not too worried about spelling.) Yet in this essay Campion quotes from a blog--I'm pretty sure it was C. Dale's--in which the author is encouraging another poet who has become discouraged about rejection by referring to poems of his that went around many times before getting accepted. The reason I remember this conversation is because I found it encouraging. I also was touched (there's that earnestness again) that a more well known poet cared anough about younger writers to share this information in a public forum. I would never do that--I'd just pretend that everything got accepted on the first try.
Campion does not attribute the lines to C. Dale, which is just plain wrong--as though he is doing the author a favor by not connecting him publicly to those lines. It's not his dissent I have a problem with--it's the way it's presented.