Letter from Poetry Magazine

Letter to the Editor

by Neth Hass

Dear Editor,

My objection to negative reviews is not, as Jason Guriel supposes, that they offend my sense of justice (although sometimes they do) but that they are not useful. Given the nearly infinite supply of fair to middling poetry books currently available, it’s a waste of everybody’s time to tell us that any one particular example is mediocre. What we need is a hot tip on where to find the good stuff, along with a descriptive explanation in case we don’t agree about what makes a book good. Skepticism is not negative. It is neutral, and welcoming everybody with open arms is not the only alternative to expecting the worst. The best judge is one who reserves judgment.

anna, illinois

Originally Published: May 1, 2009

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This prose originally appeared in the May 2009 issue of Poetry magazine

May 2009

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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