I didn't sound off about what Silliman commented on regarding Bill Knott's recent statement about how old, failed poets should be taken out and shot. It seems like sour grapes to me. How someone who's books sell for hundreds of dollars (whether anyone is buying them is another matter) could be considered a "failure" is interesting. Knott's been published by FSG, as well. FSG is a huge name in publishing, so that would be indicative of a certain level of success in my opinion. Poets simply do not attain a celebrity status in mainstream society, but who's comparing and why? Poetry is marginalized, but I think that's what has preserved its credibility. Those writing poetry obviously aren't in it for the money. Other types of success arise because of one's skill at writing poetry, but success in conventional terms isn't attained by writing poetry.
"But if you think that beyond a certain point, the 'failed poets' should be taken out & shot, Knott’s modest proposal, there is something seriously wrong. I feel about failed poets the way Larry Fagin & C.A. Conrad feel about “neglectorinos” or, to use one term I’ve employed in the past, “the disappeared.” That disappearance – usually from print first – is invariably tragic. It robs me of my heritage as a poet that I can’t find the work, say, of Gail Dusenbery on the Web. I’ve already been robbed no doubt of many good poems by Weldon Kees, Lew Welch or Dan Davidson because they acted on an impulse not so different from Knott’s."