anyone who writes criticism long enough will get abandoned by the herd

“I feel like I should write reviews,” he said over drinks. “But I just wonder if it’s worth it? Like, is it worth it to put yourself out there as the evaluator of other people’s sweated-over art?”

I considered that question amid the backdrop of having just told him that I’m officially going to shutter my poetry blog, Vox Populism, after a year-long descent into occasional and half-hearted posting. I wanted to tell him it’s worth it, because I would like his voice to be out there, in the fray. The problem is that it isn’t really worth it. Canada has too many poets and not enough critics, and this imbalance encourages itself, as anyone who writes criticism long enough will get abandoned by the herd. Even worse, they may find themselves beaten back by the herd's constant circular counter-arguments, until he or she become mere describers of work, blurb machines, people who’ve had the evaluative necessity of literary criticism diluted by the pyramid schemes of other people’s jargon.

What I tell him is this, “It’s not worth it. But you should really do it anyway.”

- Jacob McArthur Mooney, talking about shutting down his Vox Populism blog (and in so doing not taking his own advice) in a special for the National Post. You can read the whole thing here.

When Jake was going at full speed, his was always the first poetry blog I'd read in the morning. Too bad he eventually came to his senses about what a lousy gig this is (and why my "Reviews" link in the sidebar eventually turned into my "Reviews + Hype" link). It was great while it lasted, Jake - and though you certainly don't need my permission, you're welcome back any time.

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