Of course it is all subjective, but you know when you’ve done the wrong thing.
I’m on LinkedIn. There are several writers forums. I joined one and started a discussion claiming I was looking for a rhyme for orange, in order to complete a poem for my second book. It was truly a case of a hot afternoon, nothing to do and the devil making work.
The comments I got back were a hilarious mix of the truly helpful and supportive, to the sniffy, Oxford-Don-ish decrying of the end of poetry. After 200 or so comments I posted that orange was too hard to rhyme, and that I would be changing my tack and replacing it with banana, and that I was looking for rhymes which would imbue my poem with foreboding.
Now, one of the nicer commentators enjoyed the mischief but did nudge me to feeling guilty. Was I taking the piss? Kind of. It was probably the wrong thing to do.
But I once went on a seminar with Michael Laskey and Peter Sansom where we were invited to choose and advocate for a favourite first collection of poems. I chose Bonobos, Chris Preddle; I cant recall many others, except Ed Reiss chose a similarly “uneven” writer. Though Preddle is anything but lacking in skill and intelligence. The outcome of the conversation was circling on how a certain energy comes from writers who take chances, who get things “wrong” , whatever that means. Clearly this needs further discussion: what the meaning is is that you know there are more “even” books written. This is not necessarily positive. In fact, I would argue, the opposite.
Wrong could mean many things. Out of prevailing style, at odds with the familiar. I very much like Joey Connolly’s comments in his Poetry Review article about “flawlessness” as a criticism being levelled at some. What a delicious concept. So counter-intuitive for many. So humane. Orange rhymes with banana. Wrongly. Wonderfully.