The Greatest Living Poet by Craig Hinds – Selected Flash Fiction

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Craig Hinds lives and works in Newcastle, UK, where he is often mistaken for his identical twin brother (who has also been published by The Broken Spine!) He graduated from Newcastle University with a first-class degree in English Literature, and a Distinction in his English Literature 1500-1900 MA, for which he was awarded two prestigious scholarships, the School Bursary Award and Excellence Scholarship. His fiction has appeared in Lackington’s Magazine.

One cannot compete with the dead. Nor can one compare oneself with those who write in another language. They are playing a different instrument. One might as well compare the piano and the djembe.

Then, of course, there is the question of genre and what one can strictly call poetry. We can get rid of prose poems and the like. I must staunchly insist the kind of poetry is important too. One does not wish to be unfair to poor Mr. Lear, but it is not epic poetry.

And then there are those unrecognised geniuses who go unpublished in their lifetimes, their single hope an attic discovery, in some future age. How many go undiscovered? We cannot all be Blake. And what about those great poems not written down; those great poets who never become poets, but wallow in bank, law court, and grocery?

They do not count. They must not count, as how could one count them. Yes.

One has a number in mind, of course, but one does not like to say. The important thing is to put in the work, to keep moving up the rankings. To write better. To write truer. One’s competitors die, of course.


I hold the knife like a pen, when I am discovered at the house of the poet laureate. They see me for what I am. I tell them I am the greatest living poet.

I show them the list to prove it. They promise they will keep it as evidence. I have crossed out my predecessor. One’s competitors die, of course.

When they put the noose around my neck, I go to join the unassailable dead.

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