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Re-gifting rejection with Tim Wu and Notorious B.I.G.
Tim Wu settles the great rap vs. poetry battle of 2010 over at The Paris Review (and none to soon, because no one wants this spilling over into 2011). Answering readers’ questions in an advice column, Wu takes on the complex terrain of whether to tell a student that his collection of poetry is awful and risk discouraging him from further pursuits. Turns out that poets and rappers have one major commonality at the root of their best work: Rejection.
“I read your poems. They are awful.” With these simple words, you have the rare chance to create a lifetime’s worth of writing fuel, a resentment that can be relied on for years. Or, in the words of Notorious B.I.G.: “This is dedicated to all the teachers who said I’d never amount to nothin.’”
Sometimes being a hater is the greatest gift of all.