Poets can be brutal

Talking politics, these days, can be mean business.

There’s a lot of fear.  A lot of ignorance.  A lot of shouting.

Generally, the ones who shout loudest are the least informed.

News flash:  Poetry is more brutal.

I’m a member of a poetry website (unnamed, for fear of retribution).  Occasionally I post poems there (under a pen name, for fear of retribution).

Members of the site critique and rate each others poems.  That’s why I do it.  I want feedback and help with revision — and many members are quite helpful and generous.

But talk about mean!

Why is it such a crime to write a bad poem?  Or — write a good poem that somebody doesn’t like?

I post my poems and rate others, sometimes critique — but I pretty much keep my distance and refrain from engaging in conversation.

On a regular basis, you can find poets over there with egos the size of Jupiter who are ready to start WWIII.  The community is ripe with ongoing conflicts, pent-up hate, and vendettas.

I’ve seen comments that were less than ten words — benign, earnest comments about meter, or punctuation, or even heartfelt, caring thoughts — that were answered with a barrage of four letter words. Unrepeatable insults.

I’ve never engaged enough to become the object of anyone’s hate.

But, I did take a hit yesterday that hurt.  One of my poems had a pretty high rating — and I had been basking in the glow for days (they are rated on a scale of one to ten).  This poem was at the top of the charts for a couple of weeks, getting almost all tens, with a five, an eight, and a smattering of nines.

Then somebody (who knows who) gave it a one.  It quickly got another one and, thanks to averaging, is now off the radar.

Kinda mean, huh?

I was bummed, but dare not say so there.  It’s unseemly to talk about ones own poem.  It’s scary.