Shout Out

Don Share hasn’t had a single comment on his latest post, X-Rays and Fowling Pieces.  Has everyone been banned from Harriet?  Nope.  The remaining commenters at Harriet are too busy spamming the site with press releases for their own books and have no time to read about the good successes of another, or God forbid, her poem.


  1. thomasbrady said,

    September 12, 2009 at 9:32 pm

    John Oliver Simon and Margo B. are doing their best to keep Harriet alive, but..they…just…can’t…pull…it…off….

    Gary Fitzgerald’s latest post sums it up…


    How To Kill A Blog
    by Travis Nichols

  2. thomasbrady said,

    September 13, 2009 at 5:03 pm

    “The remaining commenters at Harriet are too busy spamming the site with press releases for their own books…”

    That’s right. Poets are just ‘sell, sell, sell’ now, and it’s really sad because it’s not really the poets’ fault; it’s a systemic problem. Since no one trusts that major disinterested editors exist who are looking for merit (friends picking friends or ‘names’ in contests and for publication over and over again will do that) this reality forces poets into this hyper-sell mode, since ‘selling’ is the only thing that will get notice; intrinsic merit will not–at least this is the perception: which then drives the reality. Yes, there are surely honest editors painstakingly watching the horizon for signs of talent, but nobody’s heard of these editors, or will read the books they publish, and anyway the perception is that you can’t trust merit to thrive, only selling will get attention. Now, some selling may be necessary at times, and that’s fine, but what you have here is selling 24/7, even on a blog where poets are supposed to say interesting things about poetry; most can’t, because they don’t have any energy left after all the selling; selling is now all they do, when they are not huddled alone scribbling their intricate, learned poems; ideas must be hoarded, energy must be hoarded, selling must be done constantly; have a lengthy discussion on a blog about issues in poetry that matter? ‘What? I don’t have time for that! Oh, would you like to hear about my latest book? Oh, and I’ll tell you what I had for breakfast, too!’

  3. thomasbrady said,

    September 14, 2009 at 2:51 pm

    But they may not even tell you what they had for breakfast–IF they are SAVING this observation for a POEM they are writing.

    And so poets are the worst conversationalists; stricken by the workshop dictum, ‘write what you know,’ they cannot talk about anything lest they give away what they are writing about.

    “Write what you know” leads right into meta-fiction, as the reflexive writer, not the world, becomes paramount. The creative writing program has created the world from which most writers write. see ‘The Program Era’ by Mark McGurl, a new book from Harvard U. Press.