What does every poet wish for but none of them get? To be young again! The youths have all the fun: hot limber sex, looking good, being full of energy and vitality. And what do we do to these pioneers? O those pioneers? We suck the very life out of them in writing programs, we make them buy our crappy books and we make them as boring and cookie cutter as we are. Or as experimentally cookie cutter as we are. Why should they have to please some older poet with their poems? And put themselves in debt forever? The questions our dear friend Seth Abramson should be asking isn't to incoming students or people applying to graduate programs. It's the people 5-10 years out. Are you doing what you want? Do you still even WRITE POEMS? Did putting yourself in crushing debt really help your work in any particularly interesting way? Exit interview those people. I might know a handful of people who've gone to Iowa, but they graduate a bunch of kids EVERY YEAR. What happens to those poets? Do they rise into the clouds like smoke from a factory chimney?
And then goes on to give this juiciest bit of advice, which I second: "give what you have (money, interest, time) to only those you want to...When the whole world is telling you to behave, you should say, hmmmm. Following all the rules never made a poet great...Don't let anyone make you feel powerless: they need you more than you need them. And the sooner you harness whatever it is inside you the sooner you can overthrow all the bastards who think they are running the show.
Well, not only do I second it, but I heed this advice and feel better about everything for it. So, that's really nice, actually.
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