The Problem of Accessibility

By now, I have heard many poets complain about accessibility in poetry, and how it waters down the art. In fact, I have always firmly believed that poetry is about communicating an experience through art. The reader necessarily has to bring their faculties to bear, and maybe do some work. But beyond some pretty basic requisites, I’ve always felt that poems should be accessible.

Writing poetry has likewise become evermore accessible. The abundance of open mic readings, the explosion of small presses, self-publication, chapbooks, online journals, and MFA programs tells it. People write poetry, perhaps now more than ever, and naturally want to share their work. I don’t claim to fully understand why, exactly. But I have some thoughts on how we got here and what this means.

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