... Appreciation is one of the highest skills in criticism, and one of the rarest: it is worth aspiring to. There is a difference, though, between appreciation and approval, just as there is a divide between literary criticism and promotional copy. Much of what passes for critical discussion of contemporary poetry is (and for some time has been) merely a form of recommendation, one that tends to the hyperbolic. I do not believe that reviewing should be a form of professional networking; but I have to acknowledge that here the facts are against me. In time, all the hyperbole proves corrosive: it should be no surprise that, the higher the volume of praise from reviewers and prize juries, directed in predictable ways to a consistently small circle of predictable names, the less a general reading public feels inclined to tolerate contemporary poetry.
- Peter McDonald, from his introduction to Tower Poetry Reviews: 2004-2014. You can read the whole thing here. Thanks to the Vehicule Press blog for pointing this out.