A Plague Of Poets

By C. D. Wright

A question posed to Flannery O’Connor, as to whether writing programs stifled writers, drew the famous, tart rejoinder that in her opinion they didn’t stifle nearly enough.

Even if, as it is often said, there are too many of us—poets, that is—that the field is too crowded (as opposed to too many hedge-fund managers or too many pharmaceutical lobbyists or too many fundamentalists), time, rejection, discouragement, and the inevitable practicalities and detours (some of them fortuitous), as well as wasted energy, the slow seepage or sudden shift of interest, premature death, burdensome debt or better offers, usually cure the problem of overpopulation. In other words, there are plenty of natural predators.

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