Criticism should always be taken, just not bending over.
Not blindly, embarrassingly, just taken and not questioned.
But looked at clear eyes, open mind, direct into the face of the critic.
If a self-serving, reductive, dismissive bit of erosive advice is shared,
defend it. Keep stringing along letters and words to surround the work.
Like armor. Listen, as they bombard the mutterings of your heart
with wrong, mistruth, with misguided wit unfiltered and over practiced.
These swollen-headed academic types will see if they can’t slip in a line or two
which make them seem better, smarter, more equipped with intention
and more confident than you. They have before and always will.
Just don’t bend over for it.
Too many good, productive, creative elements make you the writer,
and them, just another critic.