Hatemonger’s Quarterly critiques the notion of the “scholar athlete” and announces a new challenge in its First Annual Horrible College-Student Poetry Competition. There is nothing more horrible than horrible amateur poetry.

Poets die young compared to prose writers, notes Jim Miller. Apparently, burning the candle at both ends is a fire hazard. (Do they put a toothpick in the middle of the candle and mount it horizontally?)

About Joanne


  1. What’s a professional poet?

    Poets die young, but English teachers live forever. I wonder which influence will win out in my case?

  2. Not young enough except for Keats.

  3. I live next door to two professional poets
    by Jon Meade

    I live next door to two professional poets.
    Good people, they
    take my recycling to the curb
    each Monday. Then they walk their dog.

    They are retired,
    but how can I tell?

  4. PJ/Maryland says:

    They are retired,
    but how can I tell?

    Jon, if they speak in prose, they’re retired.

  5. Mad Scientist says:

    An appropriate haiku:

    Do poets die young?
    So says the recent research.
    No rhyme or reason.

  6. Hypotheses:

    1) They starve to death. Very few people buy books of poetry.

    2) What is the proportion of poets subject to suicidal depression (Sylvia Plath, e.g.)? Maybe if the depressives and the nutcases were removed from the sample, the remainder would be at least as long-lived as non-poets. (OTOH, maybe that would weed out everyone but Robert Frost and Ogden Nash.)

    3) A lot of poets seem to have forebodings of death. This could be accurate (the many 19th Century poets with tuberculosis, for instance), and it could be the reason they turned to poetry rather than something that could be expected to pay for a retirement fund.

  7. I started wondering about the origins of the phrase, too, and found this explanation from R. C. Layne of Random House.

    Other places I checked (very briefly) seem to agree that the phrase was orignially French. And Layne thinks that Millay came to dislike the fame the poem brought her.

  8. Man, you all just hate everybody, don’t you?