Continuing her arguments about bringing poetry to the public, Tasha Golden takes on the myth that “wanting readers isn’t a noble enough desire for ‘real’ poets—that we should instead write strictly ‘because we must,’ or because ‘the muse has us’”:
[A]s George Orwell has famously illustrated, there are (valid!) motivations for writing that actually require a readership. And if our work is driven to any degree by its potential human impact, as Orwell’s was, it’s irresponsible to eschew the work of reaching out. This was what I wanted us to translate from pop music: Its gritty determination. Its insistence on being heard. Its put-our-stuff-where-folks-will-find-it creativity. Its refusal of insularity.
It’s time for writers to stop feeling shallow or guilty for wanting what only makes sense: to be read. It’s time we stop policing each other’s motives and frowning on self-promotion, and instead empower each other to explore where our poetry can go. Why? Because if readers are required to want and seek poetry in order to find it, we’ll never get beyond each other. If the wider world’s not reading poetry, it’s at least in part because it rarely encounters it. That’s what we can change.