Lost Indifference of a Learned Critic

Several months ago I read an article written by a somewhat esteemed and learned member of an obscure, elite literary group who took it upon herself to define poetry, not so much by what poetry is but rather by what poetry isn’t.   Words can not even describe how her thesis made me feel.  But I will say this, and I will say it without any apology whatsoever:  She is wrong.  I didn’t even need to read her descriptions to know that.  Anyone who sits on a sideline as a third party and attempts to tell others what poetry should or shouldn’t be is simply and entirely wrong.

Poetry is not about what she prescribes for others.   And as I was just reminded recently by a lovely new friend,  poetry is not even what the poet himself thinks it is.  Poetry is only what the reader finds.  Period.  Poetry is simply art.

As an example, I do not enjoy Picasso’s jumbled art.  It has no meaning to me whatsoever.  But it would be sinful and a slap in the face to those millions who find his work enthralling to say that I don’t believe he was an artist…..  because to them he certainly was that.

I hope you will enjoy my little poem written to the hardline critic in us all.  Thank you for visiting………

Lost Indifference of a Learned Critic

What beauty will you find in words
that others found before you?
Will the twists of yesteryear’s poet
slip completely through?
His heart fallen to dust,
his feelings lost in time due?
His memory untouched,
his own Waterloo?

And should you find his pen at best
more comfortably in its well,
that his words find no solace
but in your solemn death knell.
A stretch of time has you sublime
to the feelings he would foretell.
But his words still there and bare
haunt you through the dell.

So go now, critic lord,
to worlds of wonderment.
Bind his words to unworthiness,
and for ever your abandonment.
But please leave with this,
most likely to his enjoyment,
that your learned and cultured pleasure
was probably never meant.



It is a gratification to me to know that I am ignorant of art, and ignorant also of surgery. Because people who understand art find nothing in pictures but blemishes, and surgeons and anatomists see no beautiful women in all their lives, but only a ghastly stack of bones with Latin names to them, and a network of nerves and muscles and tissues.    – Mark Twain

© 2011 John Richter

About johnallenrichter

I am an aspiring Poet and adorer of life, a conqueror of nothing. However I am a champion curator of truth and friendship and hold both of those things most dearly to my heart. Welcome to my mind's eye. I hope you will enjoy what you may find and please know that you have a friend here. View all posts by johnallenrichter

8 responses to “Lost Indifference of a Learned Critic

  • kaykuala

    Hear..hear..rightly said John! We decide what is right and what is good for us. Poetry is more than just words but the wisdom around it. There is so much more to discover and to relate to. The choice and forum to dabble in is so vast that no one should attempt to impose on anybody else.We enjoy our poetry. It is a beauty to be shared. Keep at it John!


  • claudia

    haha – loved the mark twain quote… and i also find it difficult to “rate” poetry..i have seen perfectly crafted poems and they did nothing for me and i have read poems that certainly would need some edits but i was madly touched..so i rate poetry by just one thing: does it touch me?

  • Mary

    I think the old adage holds true of poetry as well: “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” What one person may find great verse, another may not appreciate at all. But that never means that the one who does not appreciate (or understand perhaps) need put another down. There is room for us all in the blogosphere.

  • oceangirl

    I wrote a poetry today John, and I would like you to come read it.

  • manicddaily

    Love your close here. Very funny. Screw the critics! (Pardon my French!) The irony is that many critics would like this poem, as it is a good one! K.

    PS – However, I’m really sorry that you don’t like Picasso.

  • marousia

    Yes and yes I wholeheartedly agree with you and I thoroughly enjoyed your poetry and yes it is Art! Thank you 🙂

  • Ravenblack

    Nowadays, I try to avoid reading articles that try to define what is or isn’t art. It’s terribly discouraging when I was new at this, and now it is just pointless to ponder on such things. In the end, it’s what you see in it. Like you said, even if you can’t appreciate Picasso, there just are people who do and the work has meaning for them.

    As to your poem, it is a nice proclamation against that sort of attitude that seeks to define things by concrete rules and which causes inks in pens to freeze.

  • Linda Kruschke

    There is poetry I like, and there is poetry I don’t care for. It is all poetry. This poem falls in the category of poetry I like. Very well said. Peace, Linda

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