Now that we’ve established that poetry is work, let’s move on to questions of productivity. How much should a poet produce, ideally? As much as one half-assed garden, planted by a person with a drinking problem, who did not read the directions on the seed-packets very closely. Elizabeth Bishop only ever wrote one poem, a villanelle about an elk breaking up with her (“The Elk Breaks Up with Me”), and if I may say so she did very well with it. Wallace Stevens only wrote five poems, and every one of them was insured for one million dollars, like a famous pair of legs. The greatest living poet, Nicolas Cage, continues to amaze us by never having written a poem at all.