America's Most Critical Journal (since 1999)



Kept Poets Society

By William Craig Rice


What heights we reach we’ll die too soon to know:

Much poetry takes on a transient glow,


Like late-night talk by an ancient fireplace,

But morning comes, it’s cold as outer space,


Or weird, contrived like a hallowe’en gourd,

Which rots and loses color when it’s stored.


We turn to critics wise as the elephant.

Perhaps their trumpet calls are relevant.


No, they tell us, poets are just “producing text.”

Egad! Can we survive beneath that hex?


Just listen how we answer the cold pity

Of these believers in Post-Modernity:


We trim our tongues, find voice in workshop drone,

Use earth verbs, raw nouns, lament we’re so alone,


And when we feel some hurt or discontent,

Discover — darn! — we’re the establishment.


How restive we, poetically correct,

Tenured for mastering our dialect.


William Craig Rice has  worked as a schoolteacher, auto mechanic,  college teacher and president, and federal official.  He lives in Washington, DC.