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    The ten cringiest things in poetry.

    Jessie Gaynor

    April 8, 2024, 12:40pm

    This weekend saw another round of Mary Oliver discourse on Twitter. Like all Mary Oliver discourse, the essential argument was whether her poetry is Cringe and Corny or Good, Actually. I have no desire whatsoever to weigh in on this one (beyond a plug for this essay)—BUT, as a person who has spent a significant amount of time among poets and poetry, I do think it’s worth remembering that there are many greater sources of Cringe in the poetry world than Mary Oliver. Here, for your consideration, are the worst offenders.

    10. Instagram poetry.

    9. Think-pieces about how Instagram poetry is ruining poetry.

    8. Think-pieces about how Instagram poetry is saving poetry #letSylviaPlathpostbathingsuitpics.

    7. The word “gossamer.”

    6. Arbitrary line

    5. Poet Voice.

    4. The moon.

    3. The speaker.

    2. The speaker, who is the moon.

    1. When you see your poet ex at a poetry reading with their new poet partner who you recognize because you did a poetry MFA together and they once said your poetry was pedestrian and threw a lit cigarette at you outside a poetry party and everyone still took their side because they are the moon.

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