Take the official Scarriet Poetry test and find out!

1.  You have graduated from, or are in, an MFA program.

2.  You mostly read poems written by your teachers and friends.

3.  You mostly read poems by moderns and post-moderns.

4.  You have published at least two favorable reviews of work by your friends.

5.  You have published in some form the work of at least two of your friends.

6.  You have organized readings for at least two of your friends.

7.  A friend has published a favorable review of your work.

8.  Your work has been published by a friend.

9.  A friend has organized a reading for you.

10.  Your friends are mostly poets.

11.  You never argue about poetry.

12.  You only have friends in your poetry circles.

13.  You have little interest in quibbling about the definitions of poetry.

14.  You admit to strangers pretty quickly that you are a poet.

15.  You consider yourself a poetry critic.

16.  You wish poetry conversations were more civil.

17.  You prefer John Ashbery to Walt Whitman.

18..  You prefer Charles Olson to Edna Millay.

19.  You prefer Ezra Pound to Edgar Poe.

20.  You prefer Geoffrey Hill to Percy Shelley.

21.  You prefer Tony Hoagland to Rae Armantrout.

22.  You prefer Allen Ginsberg to Robert Creeley.

23.  You prefer Charles Bernstein to Charles Bukowski.

24.  You prefer Jorie Graham to William Carlos Williams.

25.  You prefer Jennifer Moxley to Billy Collins.

26.  You prefer Walt Whitman to Alexander Pope.

27.  You prefer Robert Frost to Wallace Stevens.

28.  You prefer Emily Dickinson to William Wordsworth.

29.  You prefer Dante to Robert Lowell.

30.  You prefer Pound’s Cantos to Shakespeare’s Sonnets.

31.  You prefer Li Po to Leslie Scalapino.

32.  You prefer 20th century translations to Tennyson.

33.  You read more poetry than prose.

34.  You read more poetry criticism than poetry.

35.  Your favorite part of ‘Poetry’ magazine tends to be the poems.

36.  Your favorite part of ‘Poetry’ magazine tends to be the commentary.

37.  The first thing you do when you see a new anthology is to check to see which poets have been published in it.

38.  When you look at any poetry anthology, it matters to you how many poems/pages are allotted to each poet—whether or not the poets are living or dead.

39.  When you look at any poetry anthology, it  matters to you which poets have been left out/included—whether or not the poets are living or dead.

40.  You are naturally more interested in living poets than dead ones.

41.  You generally think poetry as an art has improved since 1900.

42.  You generally think poetry as an art has improved since 1960.

43.  You generally think poetry as an art has improved since 1990.

44.  Over half of the books on your nightstand right now are books of poems.

45.  Over half of the books on your nightstand right now are books of poems by living poets.

46.  You would rather read a new, self-published book by an unknown poet than a book of reviews by William Logan.

47.  You would rather read a new book by an unknown poet published by an establishment press than a book of reviews by William Logan.

48.  You would rather read essays by Stephen Burt than by William Logan.

49.  You prefer the prose of Walter Benjamin to the prose of Coleridge.

50.  You would rather read essays by Robert Hass than letters of Byron.

51.  You would rather read an anthology of contemporary female poets than a book on Shakespeare’s London.

52.  You would rather read the latest book of poems by Peter Gizzi than a recently published anthology of essays by New Critics.

53.  You would never read a poetry textbook if you didn’t have to.

54.  You prefer Charles Simic to Philip Larkin.

55.  You would rather read a book of poems by Sharon Olds than an anthology of WW I poets.

56.  You would rather go to a poetry reading than attend a movie.

57.  Everything else being equal, you would always choose a poet for a lover.

58.  Your poems never rhyme.

59.  You teach/have taught in the Humanities.

60.  You teach/have taught  poetry, exclusively.

61.  You administer poetry contests.

62.  You enter poetry contests.

63.   You have won a poetry contest.

64.  You have won a major award.

65.  You have published in mainstream publications.

66.  You’ve met Franz Wright on a blog.

67.  You think Jim Behrle is hot.

68.  You have a private method or trick to writing poems.

69.  Ron Silliman has good taste in poetry.

70.  You read ‘Poets and Writers’ from cover-to-cover every month.

71.  You read books of poems from cover-to-cover in one sitting.

72.  You are proficient in at least one other language beside your native one.

73.   You have a degree other than in English or Creative Writing.

74.   Jorie Graham deserves her prestigious Chair at Harvard.

75.  Poetry is ambassador to the world’s peoples.

76.  You have a secret crush on Alan Corlde.

77.  Metaphor is the essence of poetry.

78.  You want to sit at Daniel Nester’s knee and have him tell you the ways of the world.

79.  You understand what the post-avants are talking about.

80.   Flarf is really cool.

81.  Conceptualism knocks your socks off.

82.  Poets turn you on.

83.  You want desperately to have a wild affair with a poet.

84.  Your secret goal is to teach poetry.

85.  When you are published in a magazine you buy copies for friends.

86.  At least one of your parents is an artist.

87.  It really bugs you that poetry has become prose.

88.  Marjorie Perloff is the bomb.

89.  Poetry is a way to explore political identity.

90.  Poetry is the best way to communicate the deepest truths.

91.  Humor for a select audience is poetry’s most important function today.

92.  The bottom line is that poetry helps nerds get laid.

93.  Poetry contributes to the dignity of the human race.

94.  Slam poetry is a great antidote to bookworm-ism.

95.  Your favorite poetry event is a slam poetry fest.

96.  You are wary that you might be a ‘school of quietude’ poet.

97.  You dig Language Poetry.

98.  You look for trends in poetry, but just so you can be informed.

99.  You write songs/play songs/are in a band.

100.  Poetry breaks your heart every day.


  1. July 10, 2010 at 12:21 am

    Bonus Question:

    The purpose of poetry is to:

    A) Enlighten

    B) Educate

    C) Entertain

    D) All of the above

    E) All of the above, simultaneously

    Therein we separate the great from the chaff.

  2. July 10, 2010 at 12:34 am

    1. Yes.
    2. No.
    3. No.
    4. One; have had overtures of friendship based upon other reviews.
    5. Yes.
    7. No.
    8. No.
    9. No, but a guy once organized a reading for me, in part to try to establish a friendship. But nobody showed up aside from the host librarians.
    10. No.
    11. I rarely argue about poetry.
    12. I have no poetry circles.
    13. I have little interest in quibbling about definitions of poetry, but sometimes find it interesting to observe other people quibbling about them.
    14. I almost never tell strangers, or even many people who see me daily/weekly that I am a poet. If I were single and looking for love, I would likely be more free with the information.
    15. Yes.
    16. The only poetry conversations likely to hold my attention for longer than five minutes are uncivil.
    17. Whitman.
    18. Millay.
    19. Shelley.
    20. Poe
    21. No opinion.
    22. Creeley.
    23. Bukowski.
    24. WCW.
    25. Collins tends to annoy the hell out of me and while I have my doubts about the “School of Quietude,” I believe he is the Satirist of Quietude. But even without reading the other poet, I’d take Vegas odds that Collins is a more skilled writer.
    26. I like them both, but don’t particularly revere either.
    27. Like them both, but prefer Stevens.
    28. Like Wordsworth, but put Emily in my own pantheon.
    29. Dante vrs. Lowell? That’s an odd one. I’d take Dante over Lowell if I were going to spend a long time in solitary confinement. But I’d be reading him in translation.
    30. I prefer very little to Shakespeare’s Sonnets and nearly everything to Pound’s Cantos.
    31. Li Po.
    32. I prefer 20th Century translations, but I have a personal grudge against Tennyson for helping to get Wilfred Owen killed.
    33. I read more prose, most months.
    34. Not counting Scarriet, I read more poetry than criticism.
    35. I don’t usually read the Pharmaceutical Industry Poetry Journal.
    36. But I do sneak a peek at the letters sometimes.
    37. Yup.
    38. I really don’t give that much thought to anthologies. I might notice it if it were an anthology with a particular theme and I felt somebody deserving was getting sort-changed in favor of somebody who can still help the editor make a career.
    39. Same as above.
    40. No, I am mostly interested in poets that I like to read.
    41. In the sense that more poets have come along who have written more good poems, yes.
    42. Same as above.
    43. No, Langpo has pretty much fucked up everything since 1990. But I assume that in the long run, there will still have been more good poems added to the pile of oblivion.
    44. Probably a third.
    45. No.
    46. I’d be more likely to pick up and flip through the self-published book, but honestly, probably more likely to keep reading the Logan book.
    47. Same as above.
    48. I’m not really interested in reading widely from either writer.
    49. Benjamin, but I have actually been meaning to look at Coleridge’s prose again one of these months.
    50. Byron’s letters.
    51. Shakespeare’s London, by a mile.
    52. I probably wouldn’t bother with either.
    53. I tend to flip through them when I see them in Salvation Army, out of curiosity.
    54. I like them both a lot and think they are too different to compare.
    55. Much rather read the WW1 poets.
    56. I would rather go to my sports bar and watch a UFC pay-per-view.
    57. No, all things being equal I would choose a yoga/pilates instructor.
    58. My poems sometimes rhyme.
    59. Have taught humanities.
    60. Did not teach poetry exclusively or even primarily.
    61. No, and my only experience with anything of the kind made me feel disgusting.
    62. No.
    63. Yes.
    64. No.
    65. Mainstream as in non-poets read the magazine? No. What would that be? The New Yorker and The Nation?
    66. No, but have enjoyed reading some of his flame wars.
    67. No.
    68. No.
    69. No.
    70. I never read Poets and Writers at all.
    71. Sometimes.
    72. No, I am illiterate.
    73. Yes.
    74. No, for ethical reasons well known to most Scarriet readers.
    75. WTF?
    76. No, but he is a hero.
    77. Not exactly, but metaphor is a nice little trick the brain plays that helps make poetry possible/inevitable.
    78. I don’t know who that is, but no.
    79. Yes, I understand perfectly well that they aren’t really talking about ANYTHING.
    80. FLARF would be vaguely amusing if you were using it to pass time during a four hour car trip with a bright and linguistically gifted 12-14 year old child.
    81. No.
    82. No.
    83. No.
    84. No.
    85. I haven’t published in a magazine in years, but when I did, I rarely told anyone. I might hand out the extra contributors’ copies to women I was trying to date.
    86. No.
    87. Somewhat, but I take partial responsibility for it.
    88. No.
    89. Not a very good one.
    90. Probably. But good fucking luck.
    91. No, but that is primarily what it seems to be succeeding at.
    92. Not as well as earning a boat load of money doing something with computers.
    93. Yes. But it also seems to have the opposite effect at times.
    94. No.
    95. No.
    96. No.
    97. No.
    98. No, I do it so I can laugh heartily from a position of superiority.
    99. No.
    100. Not that often.

  3. The Noochie-Coochie Man said,

    July 10, 2010 at 11:49 am

    Are you a poet, or are you a foet?
    Here’s a test that’s not the worst:
    Does ‘E.D.’ mean ‘rectile dysfunction?
    Or does it mean ‘Belle of Amherst’?

  4. July 10, 2010 at 12:54 pm

    I think it would be “on” my knee.

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