Why Poetry Sucks

Questionable Quality

Most poetry fans will tell you that all poetry is great, but when you read through a lot of it, you soon realize that many of the poems out there aren’t exactly much to brag about. With any type of art, there are “winners” and “losers,” and there is no denying that much of the content that is produced in the industry of poetry falls into the latter category.
Experts agree that much of the poetry published today is of very low quality. According to an article from the Harvard Gazette, even though a lot of poetry is being written these days, very few of the works being created are actually of good quality.
The same article goes on to say that the ease of creating poetry online has led to an influx of bad poetry being created. Everything from short haiku poems on social media to complete poems published on blogs can be seen in the modern world, collected and put into poetry anthologies. Unfortunately, not a lot of them maintain a high standard of quality.
It’s also worth mentioning that a lot of the poetry being created these days is also quite derivative, with many poets utilizing the same overarching themes and writing styles as those popularized by prior authors. This isn’t to say that these poets aren’t talented, it’s just that they are typically just repeating formulas that have been used by artists previously.

Lack of Artistic Freedom

At times, it can be hard for poets to express themselves authentically in their works because of the constraints society puts upon them. For one, many poets feel pressure to produce works which appeal to their readers, making their creative choices more about what resonates with their audience as opposed to what truly represents their ideas and feelings.
Additionally, modern poets might face tremendous pressure from current trends in the literary world, often being confined to just one specific type style of writing or subject matter. It can be difficult for such artists to break the mold and stand out from the crowd in their work, and because of this a lot of poets simply just end up copying what is already popular rather than carve out a style for themselves.

Complacency From Writers

The problem of low-quality poetry can also be attributed to the complacency which a lot of poets have when it comes to the work they produce. With the amount of effort they invest in their writing and the low amount of criticism they receive in return, it’s easy to understand why many poets wouldn’t feel inspired to deliver anything more than basic pieces of work.
Poets just have to put their work out there and take the risk of failing, and although some do strive to do so, many are too scared to commit themselves to their craft in fear of facing a critic’s wrath.

A Lack of Incentives

Another thing that might lead to poets producing lower-quality works is the fact that there doesn’t seem to be much of an incentive to write good poetry, at least from a financial point of view. Unfortunately, many poets tend to stay away from creativity and focus more in finding enough resources for, for instance, the publication of their texts.
Ultimately, it’s the lack of financial and appreciation incentives which makes the industry less appealing than ever, with many of the aspiring authors expecting little to no returns from their work if they ever decide to invest time into it.

Low Confidence

Sometimes, poetic talent is undervalued by poets themselves which might also hinder their writing skills. Maybe due to the lack of attention they might receive, some may choose to stay away from seeking advice or even making the best out of their talents, believing that certain resources are not available to them.
Some poets might also be dispirited by the fact that they’re entering an industry which is incorrectly represented, and they might suffer a lack of confidence due to their prolonged venture in the field.

Not Worth The Time

Many people, including aspiring poets and even authors, might feel that writing is not worth the effort once they realize many of the problems mentioned above. With the already large amounts of available content and the fact that it’s not properly judged or recognized, some authors might conclude that writing poetry is just not worth their time.
Moreover, some may also feel that the industry is too oversaturated with uninspired work, and on top of that they may even have to invest money into their work which could also contribute to their discouragement.

Questionable Appreciation

Even though some authors might find fame, very few of them are justly appreciated for their talent by the public or any meaningful institution. Therefore, it’s easy for the creative minds behind the works to feel that their talent is being wasted, and this lowers the incentive to even start writing.
On top of this, some poets might feel like their works are appreciated for all of the wrong reasons. Very often, works of poets might be seen as light influences aimed at entertaining the public instead of conveying meaningful messages, something which could make many poets feel like their work is oversimplified or even misunderstood.

Receiving Criticism

In addition to the lack of recognition, many poets might feel that the contents of their pieces are not properly evaluated by those who are set to judge them, like literary agents or publishers.
On top of this, poets might find that they are overlooked because of the topics addressed in their works, with some more controversial issues being immediately disregarded by most agents. It’s also quite common for certain kinds of works to be passed up due to the lack of a current trend behind them.


Sometimes, artists might suffer from the lack of resources available for the activity, such as correct information or feedback from those who are more experienced. It’s easy for authors to create work based on incomplete information and end up misrepresenting concepts or putting out works that lack the desired effect.
Furthermore, some might feel like the industry is too intimidating to approach which keeps them from getting in touch with the people who do know how to properly create good poetry.

In Conclusion

Overall, having low-quality poetry being published nowadays is something that has to be taken seriously by those in the industry. There are clearly many factors that lead to a decrease in the standard of work, making it clear that the industry could not just use more quality works but also better working conditions and incentives for aspiring poets.

Dannah Hannah is an established poet and author who loves to write about the beauty and power of poetry. She has published several collections of her own works, as well as articles and reviews on poets she admires. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English, with a specialization in poetics, from the University of Toronto. Hannah was also a panelist for the 2017 Futurepoem book Poetry + Social Justice, which aimed to bring attention to activism through poetry. She lives in Toronto, Canada, where she continues to write and explore the depths of poetry and its influence on our lives.

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