I owe nothing

to the gatekeepers of poetry

those self appointed

self important twits

who took it

upon their own slender shoulders

to dictate the world of poetry

for all the rest of us rubes


I owe nothing

to the gatekeepers of poetry

who infect the pure spirit

of the bountiful human well

who try to mandate

their own inane standards


I ignore the absurdity

uf their fabricated pecking orders

and their proclamations

of what is or isn’t poetry

the sterility of their convictions

and the mediocrity of their minds


The human spirit soars

Poets spew out their verse

in manic and off beat tempos

often awkward, often mundane

but true to their own realities


best to ignore the gatekeepers

their smug self-righteous

and banal opinions

have no bearing on

the ultimate truth of poetry

which more often than not

is the truth of a singular voice

crying out rhythmic raps

and barbaric yawps

and unmeasured thoughts and dreams


I owe nothing to the gatekeepers

though decorum mandates

I accept their existence

worthless as they are

they have the same rights

to exist as I



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j-c4113d's picture

During my undergrad years, I

During my undergrad years, I was shocked to learn that two of the 20th century's greatest Poets, T. S. Elior and Wallace Stevens, were both bullied by the editor and founder of Poetry Magazine, Harriet Monroe.  Her flat disregard for the integrity of their early work is astounding when one looks at the great accomplishments of the rest of their careers.  I began to publish my own poems before there was an internet, and I ran into a couple of editors from small magazines who were so dictatorial that getting them to publish a poem or two was more energy-consuming than writing the poem.  

   When I finally arrived at the internet, I found an incredible sense of liberation provided by membership on sites like  I joined the Starlite Cafe immediately, before learning that it had as many rules as any print magazine.  But when I came to postpoems, I found that Jason is an excellent publisher:  he maintains the site for us, but does not interfere with what we post.  

   I applaud your poem's succinct and accurate summary of the print-media experience.


georgeschaefer's picture

Thank you.  There was always

Thank you.  There was always a lot of bullshit dealing with the poetry gatekeepers back in the small press days but there are still a lot of tyrants in the online poetry communities.  Quality can be a purely subjective matter. Also, a lot of poems that may not be good or great in a classical or technical sense were important and cathartic for the author to write and sometimes find an audience that also finds value in it.

Stephen's picture

Well stated truth. Really great write.

OOPS!! I hope you were not writing about me.

georgeschaefer's picture

This really started as a

This really started as a statement about academia and some of the small press mindset of people who feel they are entitled to render judgment on poetry.  Of course, it could apply to anyone (myself included) who try to set limits on what is or isn't poetry.