“There have been many most excellent poets, that never versified, and now swarm many versifiers that need never answer to the name of poets.”
Sir Philip Sidney
Is this too harsh a judgement? In these days of creative writing workshops, poetry as therapy, verse and worse at the service of pop songs, advertising jingles and greetings cards, we inhabit a world that Sidney could not have imagined. His swarming versifiers did not stoop so low. And yet he would not admit them to the Republic of Letters. What should our standards be?
Theories have abounded, prescriptions have been pronounced and accusations both of elitism and of intellectual snobbery fired off in various directions. But poetry is a craft practised out of necessity rather than for profit of either monetary or any other kind. (I nearly said ‘rather than for reasons of vanity’ but that would be a claim too far). I say it is a craft. Not an indulgence. Not an effusion. Not a cleverness of expression.
Sometimes it is a craft with a subtlety in its expression that may not be obvious to all its readers. Poets have often feared the reader who cannot fully appreciate the work produced, or even been afraid that their true readers may not exist. If so, who do they write for? Must they be also educators, instructing their readers in the appropriate skills of interpretation? Some have thought so.
Shall I promise you, dear reader, nothing but the best quality here? Of course. You deserve nothing less. And be sure that you will always get what you deserve.