After Reading Fifty Poems From the Best Literary Magazines



Either I
have very

good taste
or very

poor taste
or there’s

no such
thing as

at all.


Most poems
are bullshit

pinned with

and pinafore
lit up like

a damn
beer sign

but this poem
says it’s bullshit

which means
it’s less

than at least

fifty poems
so print it

up somewhere
preferably paid

and give me
an award.

I’ll write ten more
for tenure.



In all seriousness
I wouldn’t

like one in fifty
of my own



  1. You gave me a morning grin. So true!

  2. Jen Cantrell

    Love it! After spending the last few months working with Dad, editing his poetry and submitting to various journals, reading what they’ve been printing, this gave me a smile and a laugh. Good job!

  3. Celeste Helene Schantz

    Hello- I just discovered your blog today after submitting some work, and read this poem. I really had a good belly laugh, as I just recently commented to a friend on how pretentious some poems in “the great” literary journals are becoming, and how everyone seems to feel the need to describe the Bougainvillea draping on the garden wall, in a vase in the dingroom, etc!!!! Sooo funny! Thanks for the smile. 🙂

    • Thanks, glad you enjoyed it.

      FWIW, the pretentiousness is really intentional and goes straight back to Eliot. He wanted poetry to be an exclusive club, and that’s fine as far as I’m concerned — just don’t complain that you’re not popular anymore, and don’t publish knock-offs that aren’t as complicated as they pretend to be.

  4. Karen Graney

    Please forgive that I’ve not replied to your blog before, including when you changed your “format” (insert applause here). Not that I didn’t like what you wrote before, but the idea of promotion never pleased me (I rarely even remember to invite people on fb when we’ve met) so to hear the editor of the prestigious RATTLE say even he didn’t care much for promotion was daunting, but understandable. But aside from that, I like reading your poems and this one is too true. And then also, do I feel better or worse about writing if you may only like 1 in 50 of your poems? Or was that hyperbole? Also like Still Life In Summer (oh no, did I forget the correct title?), this one, and The Flowers is very memorable, and like American Fractal though misplaced it (along with others that get lost from carrying them around, then found). Also, was great to meet you at Binghamton U, so a very belated thanks for coming here for us. Karen

  5. Well I had to say 1 in 50 for the parallelism—I probably actually like 1 in 10. Thanks, Karen!

  6. Kim Drew Wright

    Love it!

  7. Enjoyed the title and sentiment of your poem.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.