Enough With the Rankings, Already

Tahoma Literary Review

Poetry is a strange corner of the literary world. When we’re not wringing our hands about whether poetry is dead, dying, or undead, we’re coming up with elaborate but poorly-thought-out ways of quantifying its importance in contemporary society. This week’s contribution to the latter is a strange entry on Huffington Post’s “The Blog” in which one Jonathan Hobratsch gives a teaser of his personal ranking of the top 100 contemporary poets.

The rankings are a head-scratcher from the start: his list of “Top 10 Contemporary Poets” comprises eleven individuals, ranked from number one to number eight. Arithmetical concerns aside, if this teaser list is any indication of what the “Top 100” will look like, it will be a predominantly older, white, and male list. The “Top 10” is followed by a mystifying category called “Top 10 MFA graduates.” Hobrastsch provides no explanation of just what it takes to become a top…

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