I’m trying to make mathematical sense of one of the cruelties of publishing: endless unsolicited manuscripts of lousy poetry. Today one such manuscript began a discussion on the problem of contemporary poetry: there is just too much of it, and too much of it is bad. This has always been the case, though, since poetry was possible. Because, given that good poetry is hard to write, of all the poetry being written at any one time the largest proportion will be bad. It’s likely, for instance, that the number of good poems (G) is the square root of the number of lousy poems (V, for Vogon).