I've noticed a theme in the negative reactions to my book. They've mostly had to do with effort and intelligence or "cleverness" -- I see phrases like "trying too hard" and "pleased with itself." And "the reader leaves the collection feeling like they’ve just read a book written by the smartest person in class" (this last levied as a criticism or a caveat, I guess since everybody hates that guy). I don't find this kind of criticism hurtful because I wasn't trying to write an effortless book (ha, like how would that work). A seeming effortlessness can be pleasing (Matthew Rohrer's work comes to mind), but I generally prefer work that evidently required effort and intellect. (Broken record alert: I always go back to Wallace Stevens when people argue against intelligence or control in poems.)
I recently identified a "heat" scale for "moves" in poetry: There are hot moves and cool moves, cool moves being those that seemingly involve less effort, hotter moves having more apparent intent. When a critic invokes a phrase like "trying too hard" they evince a preference for a cool poetics. But coolness is sort of a facade; you can't write a poem without trying, and writing a good poem that appears effortless usually involves effort. Most of the time, actually trying less hard yields shittier, more forgettable poems.
The thing is, I feel like my poetry uses more cool moves than hot moves. I mean the whole second section (the "blogpoems") was built around the idea of throwaway poems, daily poems, poems as blog posts. Accordingly I wrote them fast and revised minimally. So, like, has the cool poetics thing gone too far? In a world (movie trailer voice) where a blogpoem is trying too hard, can there be room for a sonnet?