Once upon a time — from the third or fourth grade, I guess — I wanted very much to be a poet. From time to time since then, I still do. When I finally got around to going for my Master’s, however, I began to realize what a great lot of bullshit one had to put up with in order to be recognized by the gullible world as “A Poet.” It is not a nice world out there. Competitive, of course, but on top of that is a vicious disregard for all virtues that people or things — poetry, art, whatever — might have; a thing of beauty is only beautiful if the circle of dons has decided it is so. Compounding my aversion to jumping in among the sharks was the fact that poetry, at that time, was anything but poetry; it was, instead, going through a period of emulating x-rated, unexpurgated letters that would have been at home in Playboy magazine . . . and often were.
Just in case, I think I should add that clicking on the title of a section (“Early Poems” or “Let the Scythe”) calls up the prelude to that section; after reading that, click on the poem titles.