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By Michael Marrotti

      I’ve been a part of the small press scene long enough to know that ingenuity and sincerity don’t mean a thing. If they did, there wouldn’t be this constant influx of superficial sycophants, and poetry that is synonymous with mediocrity.
      I’ve recently gone through with a social media experiment where I’ll ‘like’ someone else’s writing, just to see where it’ll lead me. It’s led me to the path of reciprocation. Now all of a sudden this poet is ‘liking’ my poetry, where as before it wasn’t anything but Facebook spam.
      Ridiculous, right? Absolutely.
      After that I tried the same experiment with a few other poets. The result was always the same: reciprocal. We’ve come to the point where a courtesy is a fallacy.
      Chances are for the most part, if a poet gives you a little time on any of the social media outlets, it has nothing to do with sincerity. They’re only out for their own best interest, which is: propagation.
      As I mentioned earlier, mediocrity has prevailed. Shallow writing that stirs no emotion, based on a no life experience, equipped with boring mystical elements, leaves me sick to my stomach, as the accolades keep coming. Every now and then though, a poet does conceive a clever piece of poetry. Not that it matters, much.
      They could churn out shit, or literary gold, the results are redundant so long as they partake in the fallacy of reciprocation. They’re bound to receive the same amount of recognition either way, so what’s the point? The point is to embrace cynicism, stop placating pseudo-poetry and label accordingly:

      Merit does exist.

      Optimistic, delusional poets will insist on the ridiculous notion that there is no such thing as bad art, only preference. The only thing more ridiculous than that, is believing poetry has the power to change the world.
      If we all really did adhere to this notion, then every single person in the world would be an artist, when that is clearly not the case. It takes a special breed of human being to rip out the heart, and cleverly construct it into poetry.
      For example, I personally don’t know of any published poets in Pittsburgh. Then again, I live in a culturally bankrupt city. Talent is few and far between, to the point that almost anything passes as creative expression.
      Mundane thoughts in this day and age are orchestrated into three stanzas, given a title, and labeled as poetry. The contemporary poet will praise this approach, all in the name of reciprocation.
      It’s a popularity contest for people who never evolved from high school.
      The bottom line is, it’s all bullshit. Poetry at one point endorsed the truth. Now it’s just like anything else. If you plan on making it in this dying art form, you better bring a breath mint. And for those of you who refuse to kiss ass, mislead or simply acknowledge the ‘greatness’ of contemporary poetry, the road ahead will be tumultuous. You’ll turn out to be another sentimental fool who wasn’t invited to the after party.
      On a positive note, I have no inclination to partake in a pretentious event. I’m not writing to impress the competition. I’m writing to expunge the agony of living in this callous world of redundancy.

You can read more at Michael’s blog.