Deciding to self-publish my poetry book was definitely an arduous one. For months I flipped back and forth, back and forth between the options in my mind. Pinballing between the possibilities until finally I realized that autonomy with my work was ultimately the thing I valued most. Poetry as of today is both a vibrant, and mediocre art form. There are currently more poets writing poetry than there are people reading poetry and I cannot conclude much on that statistic other than that perhaps there are a lot of people on the outside looking in. Poetry for years seems to have been stuck in the 1960s. Never really arriving in the modern age. My thesis for why we seem bizarrely stuck in the past is because I surmise poetry never had a technological revolution. The closest we have come to it is Instagram poets which arguably hearkened a weakening of the art form. It represented a kind of brilliantly brief distillation of a single thought, and a fuck ton of negative space to convince the world it was profound. We as a community should have had a collective reckoning when Rupi Kaur became the voice of a generation, and in her own words was, “…the product of the ancestors getting together and deciding these stories needed to be told”…*SIGH* I don’t want to brand myself as a hater. I think that Rupi Kaur’s vulnerability is incredibly brave, what is disheartening perhaps is the declaration of profundity from insanely vague statements. If Rupi was seen as an iconoclast and left to exist in her own sphere it wouldn’t be a scourge within the literature community, but alas everyday a new poet pops up emblematic of the same style. A single sentence or singular thought and a fuck ton of negative space. Perhaps she is the Andy Warhol of literature or maybe just a tragic depiction of what happens when we don’t fund public schools in America; either way poetry has never been less relevant nor more divided. I think that the other problem that plagues the poetry community is the immense amount of gate-keeping. We as a community tend to turn our noses to others who cannot enjoy the dense MFA level allusions that frequent the pages of the New Yorker or The Kenyon Review. We act like its the worlds problem that poetry is not accessible instead of acknowledging that there is an immense amount of intellectual elitism rampant in the pages of every poetry journal. There is a marked lack of experimentation, people who are truly trying bizarre and weird things out with writing have no place to go. Instead they have to make creative sacrifices and force their writing to sound the way that all poetry sounds in the modern age. I find it disturbing that there is a poetic voice present in almost every published poem I read. To me, of course all of these thoughts are immensely biased, poetry should not have a collective voice. It should be almost impossible to relate one poet to the next. Poetry has the potential for more liberty than almost any other art form and yet its constrained by stupid rules that are collectively agreed on and taught in MFA programs and enforced through the locked gates of journals. If interesting things were happening in poetry, guess what, the most interesting people would be here. But, as it is, because we continue to run the same literature machine, the art form slowly dies into the murmurs of boredom and obscurity. We can and should do better. There are a lot of writers right now writing poems, people who will join MFA programs, but if the indoctrination continues as it is ultimately what will happen is the same thing that has been. They will join the ranks of every other beautiful but indistinct writer of the past, and the potential will have been squandered in an effort to uphold the status quo. So back to my original point, Why did I decide to Self-Publish? Well I decided to Self-Publish because I did not want to have to lick the boots of anyone. I knew that my message and my writing was valid and I wanted complete control over the entire process. Being an indie writer is perhaps the only way I can think of rebelling against the current system and I certainly hope that in the years that come I will be able to look back on this decision and smile knowing I made the right one.