Does MORE OR LESS REALISTIC means pretty much very realistic

Does “more or less realistic” means pretty much very realistic?

“While he seemed on the page to be the roughest of American poets, he was actually a gentle and contemplative man…” Does “on the page” here mean his writing style or the way how other critics protray him?

What does “school of hard knocks” mean?

Someone please help, and thanks.

It means he’s generally realistic.

“On the page” means in his books. It means that when anyone reads his poems in a book, he seems rough, but that his personality was not that way. It doesn’t have to refer directly to critics.

That means informal education through practical experience – sometimes rough, unpleasant practical experience. It’s not an actual school.

Ah, I see!! Thank you so much!!!