“Bad is not the Devil”: Anthony Madrid at Best American Poetry : Harriet Staff : Harriet the Blog : The Poetry Foundation

“Bad is not the Devil”: Anthony Madrid at Best American Poetry : Harriet Staff : Harriet the Blog : The Poetry Foundation.

Mostly it’s not that poets are bad. It’s that they’re nothing. Most readings too. They’re not bad; they’re nothing.

This is something they should have taught us in MFA-land. Bad is not the devil. Bad can be good. The devil is what you see all around you: large piles of neither-good-nor-bad, towering stacks of nothingness. Nothingness and nobody’s ever gonna reread it. Miles and miles of poetry that completely passes for art—but nobody loves it.

Actually, sitting here right now, I can think of at least two poets who aren’t any good, they’re bad, they’re wrong about everything, they’re dumb and icky—but they are something. I rush to read whatever they print, and I would walk through five miles of flaming snot to see them do their thing. I don’t even care that they’re bad! They’re something!

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