I understand that, in lapping up what the culture offers, I’ve internalized the world’s disregard, the idea of poetry as a laughably useless pastime, along with the world’s admiration for the junk it produces, even while simultaneously scorning that junk and the morons who consume it; this is a reliable recipe for bitterness.
And even though I’m bemoaning the loss of vital purpose for contemporary poetry, I also write obscure little things that only a sliver of the already minimal poetry readership can appreciate. Whether or not I intend to, I contribute in this way to the alienation of the reading public, which in turn furthers poetry’s marginal status. Which means that this rejection by culture is also, in part, predicated on a rejection of the mainstream culture by writers like me. Or did these rejections happen in reverse order? Or simultaneously? In any case, it’s a two-way street—we can preserve some smugness about that.