In their blogs Amy King and Reb Livingston address the issues of greatness in poetry. Here's my two cents. In each poem, the poet should strive for 'greatness.' For the poem to be all that it can be. But, that should not be the most important thing and is rarely achieved. For me, the most important part of poetry in intension. In my small mind, a poet should write because they have no choice. Some poets, many poets, are committed to that lifelong goal. I am suspicious of people who write in order to get teaching jobs, attention, fame, girls or boys, or whatever. And I think, in these cases the poetry suffers. Also, when a poet doesn't meet a certain goal, the poet often gives up. The poem in itself is the means to an ends. A poet is not great. The poems are. People have to learn to divorce themselves from academic success, personality, and so on and at the end of the day, just say these are good poems (or they are not). Particularly in academia, the quality of the poems has become so beside the point. Now, the point is, where did you go to school? Who do you know? What kind of a mover and shaker are you? Even, how good looking are you?
Lots of people don't like me because I'm so opinionated. I try to tell them, who cares what I think? I'm just a cranky mother typing in her dirty house next to her toothless cat. Read my poems or don't. They are what matter and they are all that matter.