It horrifies me that someone went through this:

In an ugly but I think pretty understandable way, the knowledge of having a forthcoming book stood as evidence for me against the small but fairly vocal collection of peers and instructors at Arkansas who didn't think what I did was poetry, or that I would have any publishing success. A favorite example: Dave Smith visited our program and in our meeting he said, "the only thing I can tell you Tony is stop what you're doing." Or the first week of my first workshop, hearing about the older students taking turns reading my first poem at a bar and mocking it, etc. Or people walking out of workshop in the middle of my poem. This all fed into the ambition machine (which keeps humming).

From the interview with Tony Tost on his first book win.


  1. Smith seems to offer extraordinarily useful criticism, across the board. Hmm.

  2. Back in the day someone also told a very young man named Edward Albee to stop what he was doing.

    I cannot imagine Elizabeth without her Virigina or a Goat not named Sylvia.