"As Chris Richardson said: 'It's the American Ido effect: Being bad includes not knowing you're bad.'
"In judo we don't have to guess whether or not we have succeeded. The fact that we're on our ass is proof enough that we haven't. Without an audience, there is no similar way to show that we've failed at poetry."
Obviously, if we can't convince students to recite Scavella's Mantra we can't sell education. Not surprisingly, few English or even Creative Writing courses bother teaching techniques that might improve one's composition. Instead, they teach its interpretation as if it were a foreign language.
The problem is exacerbated by the fact that poetry is dead. The great poets of our time are hardly household names--not even among poets. What is our measure of success or failure? How can we demonstrate that Margaret Griffiths is a better poet than the average novice when both are unknown, along with the tools Maz mastered? By taking the word of "know-it-all critics"? By showing them non-existent videos of superb contemporary poetry being brilliantly performed? By insisting that if the reading public gave contemporary verse a chance they'd love it?
In an era of blurbing and esteem-based "learning" how can we combat the Ido effect?
Next: What Passes/Fails as Criticism