Why Be An Arbiter of Literature?

“Literature is only for those who are too frightful to speak their own mind,” said absolutely no one…ever. For ages, many have disproved literature and made the creators look like imbeciles who have been previously living under the cavernous rocks we so daringly speak of. Why does the human race constantly feel the need to be entirely defensive when the matter of written creation pops its head out of the gopher-sized hole of insecurities?

The title of this book includes two acronyms, ‘A.O.L.’ and ‘L.O.L.’ the former stands for ‘America Online,’ while the latter stands for ‘Laugh Out Loud,’ a form of netspeak. However, what those acronyms should read are, ‘Arbiter of Literature,’ and ‘Lovers of Literature.’ Dearest readers, why must we over-establish ourselves to the regal rank of arbiter? Why can’t we just create, escape, and love?

Stephen King and Anne Rice: King and Queen of Horror. Jack Kerouac: King of the Beats. C.P. Cavafy: The Finest Modern Greek Poet. These are status symbols. They are nothing more. We have inadvertently granted these honorary recipients the right and have given them these majestic titles without considering certain invisible ramifications. While these literary figures deserve such recognition and honor, these monikers should remain hidden in the ruins of judgment. This can easily be compared to a couple of modern situations.

The first analogy that comes to mind is a singing competition. Although the judges are critically-acclaimed and have received an assortment of accolades, the results are still based on the judges’ opinions. They are still ordinary people; they are not emperors of music and vocalization. The second situation that should be brought up is a literary contest. Writers from around the globe bare their souls on parchment (and digital screens), submitting their ink children to be published on the page. As we all know, whether the work is performed or read, the creator automatically becomes naked (in the metaphorical sense, naturally). That nakedness involves vulnerability and judgment. This is similar to futuristic performers who belong on the stage. They are judged by some of the most commendable people who have contributed and dedicated their lives to this craft. Unfortunately, the fact remains that they are still people. Many would desire a title with the words, ‘Queen, King, Goddess, God, Mistress, Master, etc,’ but do we really deserve it?

One poet is not better than the other. Superiority may go straight to the bowels of Hell. If one poet is better than the other, then it is based on the opinionated mouths, not the factual points. A fellow poet and friend said in plain and simple terms that the arts are all about perspective. Instead of putting writers in a dead set category, why don’t we bask in their words and see them for who they truly are? Though certain factors may be implemented in what is considered as great literature, music, visual art, theatrics, the culinary field, or virtually any other subsection of the arts, they do not change that the progression of an individual’s gift is what takes precedence over every other matter. Arbiters, nothing! We are all arbiters in our own way.

The aforementioned people do deserve the endless amount of praise, as well as the millions of others who are not in this composition. As long as the masses and standouts continue to spread their love of the written word, Gaia will be in stellar hands. Read on. Write on. Let the creative fluid flow through until its electricity hits the ink-bearing utensil’s tip. When letters and syllables become words, it is only the paper’s overture.

December 30, 2015


Z.M. Wise is a poet and poetry activist, writing since his first steps as a child. He has been a written-word poet for almost two decades, and a spoken-word poet for four years. He is an Assistant Editor of Harbinger Asylum, a Houston-based, internationally known poetry magazine. He is co-owner of Transcendent Zero Press, an independent publishing house for poetry, with his dear friend and founder Dustin Pickering. He hosts a weekly reading at San Jacinto College. His first book of poetry, 'Take Me Back, Kingswood Clock,' published by MavLit, is available as both a hard copy and ebook on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Nook, and Kindle. His second book that was released byTranscendent Zero Press, 'The Wandering Poet,' is available in both hard copy and digital form. Wise has also released another collection titled Wolf: An Epic and Other Poems through Weasel Press. Other than his three books, his poems have been published in various journals, magazines, and anthologies, such as Boston Poetry Magazine, Coalesce Magazine, Great Poems of the Western World, Torrid literary Journal, FreeMyVerse, and A Celebration of Poets. The motto that keeps him going: POETRY LIVES! Mr. Wise will make sure to spread that message and the love of poetry, making sure it remains vibrant for the rest of his days and beyond. To find out more about Z.M. Wise visit his website below:


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