Pitt poet Charles Harper Webb, author of Brain Camp, has some rather controversial advice for today’s poets, and claims he can help them become better at their craft and sell more books! So, Publishers Weekly gave him a soapbox.
It’s no secret that the main audience for poetry is other poets. If you want to slow or even stop a party conversation, ask, “What new poets are you reading?”
Poets are well aware of this, though many, like unpopular teenagers, affect not to care. Some even make a virtue of their work’s obscurity. However, by not expecting to be read, poets create a self-fulfilling prophecy and further damage the reputation of poetry. Poets who want to be read widely, avidly, and with pleasure can easily be lost in the prevailing obscurity.
It doesn’t have to be this way.