"A higher, “purer” standard of what it took to be a poet seemed to reign in that corner of academia, based partly on the possession of an MFA credential, and partly on the networking of the professional poetry world. I got a real taste of the way that poetry guild mentality operated: the mentoring and bestowal of the blessing on a chosen few acolytes, whose books would then be recommended for publication, and the whole priestly sense of the Poet as someone of rare vatic powers. The non-exclusionary ethos of the Sixties and early Seventies had ended, in the face of the writing program-generated mystique of technique. The impression was conveyed that there could only be two dozen poets at most in one era who had received the vision. I knew I’d never gotten a message from on high: I did not fit that bill. My sense of myself as a poet began to shrivel up.
"But that simple explanation is false. It would be wrong to blame my colleagues for killing the urge, since anyone who can be discouraged so easily from writing poetry is not cut out to be a poet."