above: Tate, Engle, Ransom


Modern students of literature are well-trained to detect irony in texts.

Why, then, are students today clueless when it comes to irony in human behavior?

Some background:

The ‘Fugitive’ cult of New Critics (Ransom, Brooks, Warren, Tate, et al) was both politically right-wing AND Modernism’s career-advancing wing in the United States.

Allen Tate, John Crowe Ransom, and Robert Penn Warren– “I’ll Take My Stand” (1930)–were Old South Agrarians and New Critics and Writing Program mavens who were closely tied to Pound & Eliot’s Modernist priesthood, by which poetry, as a ‘thing of beauty’ loved by the people—in the spirit of poets like Shakespeare, Poe, Shelley and Keats–was turned into a tool of academic power and abuse.

Let’s begin with the mid-19th century Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood—its very name betokens the cult-like modus operandi of Pound, Eliot and their followers, who abused, downplayed, or ignored whole eras of great art–the  Renaissance and the Romantics and the Enlightenment–in the name of some tenuous idea of ‘modernity,’ which turned out to be a reflection of their own private sicknesses. This Brotherhood spawned Ford Madox Ford, a Pre-Raphaelite painter’s grandson, who worked in the U.K. Propaganda War office on behalf of Great Britain in the butchery known as World War One.

Ford, who changed his German name, met child of U.S. mint, Ezra Pound, right off the boat in London before World War I, and introduced Pound to rich, sordid circles of aristocratic privilege which bankrolled various elitist, cynical, crackpot art movements.

In the 30s, while Eliot was denouncing Jews at the U.VA., and Pound was settling comfortably into Mussolini’s Italy, Modernist Ford made his way to the Confederate flag-bedecked home of New Critic godfather, Allen Tate, in Tennessee, (where manic-depressive Robert Lowell soon dropped in as houseguest, dropping out of Harvard on the way to study with John Crowe Ransom at Kenyon.)  It almost sounds like a Country Western song, doesn’t it?

What were these ‘good old boys’ trying to accomplish in terms of academics and literature, anyway?

CLICK HERE to continue reading this article.


  1. poetryandporse said,

    October 7, 2009 at 8:48 am

    These chaps weren’t wholly monsters, Graves.

    I whacked up a long reply, a lump unfinished that needs a fair bit of work on it before all the spelling mistakes and go-nowheres are snipped and the bladdy thing tightened into prayer proper and thus not foetry but poetry Tom.


    more anon

  2. cowpattyhammer said,

    October 7, 2009 at 8:53 am

    I’ve been waiting for this one for a long time, Tom — I mean, everybody else seems to know exactly what we stand for, and why we’re so dangerous. So it’s good, I guess, that I do too!

    And so now I know what I died for on Harriet — it was FOETICS that was under the bed!

    It was this that got Travis down on his knees, Don Share swearing he had nothing to do with it, letters to Board Members returned undelivered, accusations of abuse, hi-jacking, bad manners, harassing the staff, over-writing, and in general getting sweet Harriet’s knickers in a terrible twist! I mean, I thought it had something to do with Contests and Prizes? I thought it was about Jorie Graham, Bin Ramke, what’s his name Levine, the Holmes girl, who wrote me in Thailand because she was convinced I was Cordle, Joshua Clover, Scott Cairns — and I thought all the time these people were ganging up to get me for whistleblowing! And it wasn’t that at all It just had to do with a rethink of Literary History, just a new interpretation of how our poetry grew, and the huge anxiety and, yes, monumental anger I encountered wherever I went was just fear of new thinking!

    Can you imagine?

    If you’re here on this site because you’re interested, or even just amused (which I certainly am — I just posted that red hydrant!), please believe me when I say we are not a club or a team or even a movement. Desmond Swords lives in Dublin, and he had never even heard of Foetry — he was just a very loud and very gifted mouth that got caught up in the shouting. Me, I have no background in any of this, and I don’t know anybody, have no credits, no CV, and not the least bit of clout. I’ve neither lost a job in poetry nor have ever even looked for one, and as far as I know Tom hasn’t either — of course I’ve never met him. Also I think he isn’t even Thomas Brady! He’s just there, it seems to me, neither jealous nor feeling neglected, not a rival, not feeling he ought to be known or be given the job, or be famous, forgiven, or beloved. And as to Alan Cordle, the only one of the group I’ve actually met (he came to stay with me and my wife in Chiang Mai last Christmas — and by the way, you’re all invited!), he’s a librarian, da dah — and myself I find that fascinating (click here to see what he’s like!)!

    I want to say right away that I don’t agree with Tom about some things in this essay, but I know he’s right about it all even when he’s wrong. So let me give you an example.

    When D.T.Suzuki, the great Japanese scholar who dedicated his life to translating the most important Zen texts into English way back in the 20s and 30s — when this great Buddhist pioneer in the West, America’s Boddhidharma and Marpa the Translator and Milarepa all rolled up into one, when this great man realized what he had done with all his saintly powers and patience, he was in despair. Because he saw the Beats, he read Kerouac and Alan Watts, and sat down with all sorts of dharma bums and academics, and he realized that he had misled them all! He realized that the whole Zen movement in America was based on certain cultural and intellectual, and of course spiritual, assumptions that did not prepare the new young Buddhist to let go at all — because they didn’t have hold of anything yet to give up!

    You see, you need huge amounts of discipline and training, 40 years of it, at least, before you have anything to go on, what is more to let go! Because Zen is only relevant in a context of discipline!

    And what Tom is saying is that there is something that has happened in the development of American poetry that is also a distortion, that also got off very much on a very unprepared foot. And that’s true — human developments are always like that, even some of the most gifted.

    So like American Zen Buddhism, we’ve got to look at American Modern Poetry as in some ways badly distorted by local conditions and developments. That’s hard — but it doesn’t have to mean everything is lost. I personally love “The Red Wheelbarrow,” for example, even when I understand exactly what Tom is complaining about. And he’s right, too, and although the poem in itself may not be great, it still has great value – just like “Dharma Bums,” despite being the product of a self-induced hoax, has its own special charge and its value!

    We can look after the baby, of course we can. We just need to deal with the bathwater — which is horribly tricky and threatening, the kitchen floor being so slippery after the bath by the fire, and the round copper tub such a handful!

    That’s what Tom is doing, and it’s very exciting!

    Christopher Woodman

  3. poetryandporse said,

    October 7, 2009 at 1:41 pm

    This weeks poem of the week, number 105 in the series, is “The Sun Rising:” composed by one of tom stearns’ favourite metaphysical ditty makers, John Donne, when he was a young man full of brag and bravado, and though not everyone’s preferred poetic poison – linguistically, for many poetry lovers, it represents the genuine transcendent artefact which all verse proper, is, I think. Prayer to a genderless muse, supplicate and pay homage, raveller in the majesty of language deconstructing the human intellect to lay bare the soul-boned core of what it is we’re here for: everything and nothing in symbiotic binary bluff none but God put together and untangle from the cosmic cloth. Prayer, in essence, poetry is, non?

    Certainly in my own evaluation of what the essence of poetry is, in its most artful form – the presence of a Muse – honest prayer conjured from within and our only stay against the void of eternal light within the reversal of an anima breath, the soul on stage paged by the technology of our intellect, letters nailing the intellect to something beyond us and our pathetic tiny intellect.


    great post! lurve it, green all da way!

  4. poetryandporse said,

    October 7, 2009 at 1:43 pm

    oops, should say, on the guardian books blog: a venue where i was sliced, killed, and a dead mind walking, zapped for three semesters solid before the foetry controllers modding there copped on: prayer cannt be topped, an honest mind and heart, all we are, i was there y’all.

  5. thomasbrady said,

    October 7, 2009 at 7:48 pm


    You spoke of Tom Eliot and his fondness for Donne and the Metaphysicals; this was Tom’s ‘pre-Raphaelite-ism;’ Possum puffed the Metaphysical poets while at the same time damning so much that came after them, especially the Romantics like Shelley, not to mention Poe, abused by Tom in “From Poe To Valery.” (1949) Call it pre-Shellean-ism. Or something.

    Poe told a different story of the Metaphysicals, and since I’ve found much in Poe that was secretly mined by Eliot; it is well possible Eliot read this and came up with his opposite notion–just to see if he could do it.

    Here’s Poe on the Metaphysicals, and re-reading ‘The Sun Rising,’ I think Poe may be more correct:

    “Almost every devout reader of the old English bards, if demanded his opinion of their productions, would mention vaguely, yet with perfect sincerity, a sense of dreamy, wild, indefinite, and he would perhaps say, undefinable delight. Upon being required to point out the source of this so shadowy pleasure, he would be apt to speak of the quaint in phraseology and of the grotesque in rhythm. And this quaintness and grotesqueness are, as we have elsewhere endeavored to show, very powerful, and if well managed, very admissible adjuncts to Ideality. But in the present instance they arise independently of the author’s will, and are matters altogether apart from his intention. The – American Monthly has forcibly painted the general character of the old English Muse. She was a maid, frank, guileless, and perfectly sincere, and although very learned at times, still very learned without art. No general error evinces a more thorough confusion of ideas than the error of supposing Donne and Cowley metaphysical in the sense wherein Wordsworth and Coleridge are so. With the two former ethics were the end — with the two latter the means. The poet of the – Creation wished, by highly artificial verse, to inculcate what he considered moral truth — he of the Ancient Mariner to infuse the Poetic Sentiment through channels suggested by mental analysis. The one finished by complete failure what he commenced in the grossest misconception — the other, by a path which could not possibly lead him astray, arrived at a certainty and intensity of triumph which is not the less brilliant and glorious because concentrated among the very few who have the power to perceive it. It will now be seen that even the “metaphysical verse” of Cowley is no more than evidence of the straight-forward simplicity and single-heartedness of the man. And he was in all this but a type of his – school — for we may as well designate in this way the entire class of writers whose poems are bound up in the volume before us, and throughout all of whom runs a very perceptible general character. They used but little art in composition. Their writings sprang immediately from the soul — and partook intensely of the nature of that soul. It is not difficult to perceive the tendency of this glorious – abandon. To elevate immeasurably all the energies of mind — but again — so to mingle the greatest possible fire, force, delicacy, and all good things, with the lowest possible bathos, baldness, and utter imbecility, as to render it not a matter of doubt, but of certainty, that the average results of mind in such a – school, will be found inferior to those results in one (ceteris paribus) more artificial. Such, we think, is the view of the older English Poetry, in which a very calm examination will bear us out. The quaintness in manner of which we were just speaking, is an adventitious advantage. It formed no portion of the poet’s intention. Words and their rhythm have varied. Verses which affect us to day with a vivid delight, and which delight in some instances, may be traced to this one source of grotesqueness and to none other, must have worn in the days of their construction an air of a very common-place nature. This is no argument, it will be said, against the poems – now. Certainly not — we mean it for the poets – then. The notion of – power, of excessive – power, in the English antique writers should be put in its proper light. This is all we desire to see done.”

    (from Poe, Review of ‘Book of Gems: The Poets and Artists of Great Britain,’ S.C. Hall, ed. Southern Literary Messenger, 1836)


  6. poetryandporse said,

    October 7, 2009 at 11:44 pm

    Reading the above Poe prose, one thinks first: what wondrously rich and evocative language to nourish our mind, more linguistic show-biz than legally binding and conclusive proof that Cowley and Donne are faux, in comparison to Wordsworth and Coleridge.

    At least, I thought that is what he was arguing for.

    It was unclear to me, partly because on reading the words old English bards, I immediately being aware that – though I am nowhere near as able and talented as the founder of Symbolism – Poe knew next to nothing about the bardic tradition, because there where never such things as English bards.

    Originally there were Brythonic bards, whose culture once was spread right across the southern half of Britain, until the Angles, Jutes, Saxons, Danes, Norwegians and hordes of northern European tribes flooded into what is now England, after the Romans pulled out after four hundred years occupation, leaving behind a culture that sunk into the Dark Ages, because without Roman soldiers, the province of Britannia was easy pickings for the non-Romanised Northern Europeans who made what is now England, their crucible in which to fight each other.

    The original romanised Brythonic culture, got squeezed out and withdrew into what is now Wales, where half a million still speak a language that was the original ‘British’ one, and only they had a bardic tradition.

    But this is just semantics. What i am trying to get across is, the force of the poetry in his language swept above all esle. After another read, though I was still unsure of which two Poe was casting ‘inferior’ and which as his two favs: it didn’t matter because I was more interested in the language of Poe than his argument about such a bore being more faux than the other.

    Does it matter Poe’s foe may counter that Coleridge and Cowley are a pair of jokers who should never have been allowed access to education? I say no, because the authority of other writers only count for so much, because it is their writing we read them for, not who they recommend.

    Yeats’ choices of poets in the contemporary poet chart anthology, is generally considered howlingly prejudiced, lacking in all objectivity and transparently so, even though he could carry it off that: no, this is sincere. Because of his language being such that he could flannel on any old topic, keeping up patter, which Poe could also do.

    Stuff of this lyrical density and genius, needs familiarizing with, as the fruits and poetic wisdom does not yield after one or two skims through, and so, I may be a complete idiot for not seeing the exactitude of Poe’s argument here; but steadfastly believe, will not impinge on my own rise to obscurity and craftlessness in doing the thing i love, foetry investigations.

    WC invincibles, turdsworth and his boyfriend who blew his mind out on drugs: come and dump the amateur know-alls into touch, in an essay by the faux jeRoi – contemporary King of kitsch killing y’all dead poets reputation, and inflating others with blather and bluff our addiction to Letters makes reality; for the few sad, sad bores like yo woodie al moi and all them fauxer poet-hoaxes Tom.

    We yam what i yam, we are no special Creation – apart from his Highness JeRoi Hamrag, who aint real because it’s all just make-believe from a colonial johnnie – wot, wot – stupendously lurid and here he is, EA being more AE than George rustling himself in air beyond what border of mind and matter – perhaps, makes the most importantly of all Ed’s go Allo my fav, fav, ancient ka ka ka Jah, sur nom l’air

    John Delon and on.

  7. poetryandporse said,

    October 8, 2009 at 2:06 am

    …yeah tom, poe ushered a lot of symbolic phantasmagoria into the thinkers and drinkers in the poetical fuse up of pre-Revoltionary France, dreaming to dash down the faux peasantary class yoked to a Feudal le Roi, traversing tiny specks of realm, half the size of New York.

    il accuse au moins un des poèts in his line up, of attempting to ‘inculcate what he considered moral truth..by highly artificial verse’, before going on to say his attempt at inculcating ‘moral’ truth, was ‘commenced in the grossest misconception’ and a complete failure.

    High claims to be making, and on its own, a sermon from faery dollar moat; stern, passionate, utterley seductive and yeah the beauty in Eddie’s language, the utter originality of his wordplay and laying bare of Poe’s mind, occassioning in ourselves only sheer fandom (like when i first read Tom Brady, before i knew it were you Gravesy: gwurn, howiya..) – which can distort our view of what it is he is actually saying in such wondorous enrapturement.

    One need be orbital around a similar rim of ability and experience, to fully grasp the pertinent charge, claim and accusation being prosecuted by Eddie here tom, i think.

    Fair play, i think, on first reading: Poe’s the main head for Allen and Jack re-appearing below us at the rim of heaven, where the moral Truth tom, just isn’t within us to predict, perhaps, sailor?

    Poe’s case is essentially irrelevant because we have only language and using the dead – people like ourselves – as a grave, from which to trash them, give the silent dead poet a hammering, dance around the block to whip up the moral jizz, in order to elevate writings by the very very recently dead or Live master poet recently deceased: when reviewing books in the rags, trying to sell ’em and beyond that, get our own gas bought up by the eyes of our audience. That’s what Eddie done, i guess: could be wrong – who knows? not me tom, not Des $ Words main foetally opposed to poets not moi y’all, and what is written and left by a Mind passing through the continuum toward light arguing such and such were thus..da da

    ..that’s all the argument we have with ourself, and the world carries on spinning, I suggest – our thoughts merely the reflection of what’s within. And becoming inspector Clues oh, who doesn’t know it, that he’s a bumbling poet all along, is all one can attempt as we stumble along in abject failure to comprehend what’s really there where words ‘moral’ and ‘inferior’ await US on the basis of a case about whoever we choose to ressurect and use in our WaR-craft of write and reciting songs from a dock.

    As we pull into the marvelous flourish of luridity, the guys burdens of proof we had back when that Turdsworth was shitting golden eggs, and Donne was just shit yeah, bar from which God sings to us in contemporary po-biz: sadly all but a few, funny movers who are towarding to the boring of late. All over the online jizz shop, mart and language mall: thieves stealing ideas, text, letters, freedom of speech, mind melding into a different arena: God and you alone with only JeRoi Hamragson, Daft Aider, dada district attorney pulling heists, rounding ’em up to the grin of Ogma, grim as the Poe corvus wind-chime wimmen: harpies trilling and doing tricks,


    Tell i to it main

  8. thomasbrady said,

    October 8, 2009 at 12:55 pm


    Here’s what I find worth chewing on:

    “No general error evinces a more thorough confusion of ideas than the error of supposing Donne and Cowley metaphysical in the sense wherein Wordsworth and Coleridge are so. With the two former ethics were the end — with the two latter the means. The poet of the – Creation wished, by highly artificial verse, to inculcate what he considered moral truth — he of the Ancient Mariner to infuse the Poetic Sentiment through channels suggested by mental analysis.”

    I don’t think Poe is saying one is better than the other.

    I find Poe’s an inspired counter to Eliot’s, and yet, when is Poe EVER discussed when the subject of the Metaphysicals arises? Never. Eliot earned not a little fame with his little essay on the Metaphysicals (it was Samuel Johnson who named them so)–and the link between Eliot and the Metaphysicals is secure and widely known.

    I merely seek to redress an imbalance.

    This is your motivation, too, is it not? when you speak of old Bardic histories buried by Time?

    It is not that I demand Poe be worshiped, and you, I’m sure, do not demand devotion to every old Welsh poet who ever lived…


  9. cowpattyhammer said,

    October 10, 2009 at 10:34 am

    Tom and Desmond,
    I feel badly I haven’t had the time even to get started replying to your comments on this thread.

    Just recalling what I wrote at the very end of Barbara Jane Reyes’ COMMUNICATIONS AND MISCOMMUNICATIONS thread about R. Zamora Linmark — and it still applies to what we’re talking about right here — Bards et. al. And of course it’s at the very heart of our struggle with old Blimp:Harriet:

    October 5, 2009 at 2:08 pm

    Everything I’ve learned has been a tooth drawn out of my mouth, leaving me spitting blood and inarticulate.

    Here’s one thing I learned in the dentist’s office.

    Conformity in human societies isn’t always conservative, and bee-hive-like communities with their bee-hive-like communications aren’t always ‘on the rails.’ In American poetry, for example, it’s the conservatives who say, “Make it new,” and the real poets in the bee garden hum the ancient tune that speaks and sings what has never been heard or found or celebrated before.

    Actually, what am I saying. I learned that from you!

    Christopher [emphasis just added]

    I put that up just to keep this thread nice and warm. Thanks, Tom — I’ll be back soon.


  10. thomasbrady said,

    October 13, 2009 at 1:27 am


    D.T.Suzuki and his 40 years of insight. I dunno– you know me, no sacred cows, what of Keats who only lived 25 years? I’m a little wary of religions and practices which make these kinds of claims–you must study 40 years to ‘get it.’ etc. I don’t think if I can go along with your idea, I don’t believe this is what I’m saying…

    As for Desmond’s remark, ‘weren’t wholly monsters.’ Yes, you are right. Polite society never contains ‘monsters,’ but then a cat never eats its owner, unless the owner is the size of a mouse. Men without morals are pretty things to read about in books, but meditating on consequences is another matter…of course I have no right to judge them as men, but as actors in the life of our literature, I can and will…

  11. cowpattyhammer said,

    October 13, 2009 at 2:25 am

    I didn’t mean it like that at all, Tom. I didn’t mean that the length of his life and the sheer time he spent laboriously trucking Zen to California somehow made his contribution more genuine or dependable. Indeed, a glance at D.T.Suzuki’s Bio is a real eye-opener, he did so many things in those decades upon decades of spiritual transportation between cultures that now look a bit crazy. Indeed, as much as I admire D.T.Suzuki, I still have to admit that his life story does have an Ezra Pound sort of trajectory to it, a similar opportunism, a similar second-hand car-salesmanship sheen even if it was always in Bentleys, and a similar self-induced sanctity that led both himself and his texts into some very unexpected and tragic denouements.

    Born in 1870, he was already a finished Zen product by the time he first visited America in the 1890s, this man who would go on to provide the lunch boxes for the Beats in the 60s, and almost out-lived Jack Kerouac and even Ezra Pound who was 15 years his junior. Imagine — what a life that must have been!

    But like Ezra he just had too much energy, too much ability, too many languages, too much restless self-interest, and he burned his way through one spiritual fashion after another. He married a Radcliffe Theosophist in 1911, and if that doesn’t sound like a bad start for a Zen Master I don’t know what does — unless of course you were clever enough to process anything as a koan which he certainly was. He also got involved with Ba’hai, was a leading member of the Theosophical Society in Britain, coached Yeats, and taught at Columbia from 1952-57, missing me by just one year. At the same time he worked with (or on, it’s hard to say) Alan Watts at the California Academy of Asian Studies in San Francisco, and Alan Watts was at the time a reputable academic, don’t forget, and English to boot (Alduous Huxley, R.D.Laing, Suzuki knew them all!)!

    What interests me about such a life is the way our abilities in a sense out-shine us, or begin to shine like us perhaps, so much so we’re utterly convinced ourselves by what we project. Because there’s no doubt whatsoever that both Pound and Suzuki really believed they were on to something, which is why they come over as so credible even when as in Ezra’s case he was a certifiable nut, and Suzuki, I’m so sorry to say it, inflated. But if you have a whole generation of make-it-new poets or preachers who need a new genealogy, a reputable lineage because they had no antecedents, you need to suspend your judgement. And of course you need teachers with mantles and the higher the pedestals the better!


  12. cowpattyhammer said,

    October 13, 2009 at 6:11 am

    “As for Desmond’s remark, ‘weren’t wholly monsters.’ Yes, you are right. Polite society never contains ‘monsters,’ but then a cat never eats its owner, unless the owner is the size of a mouse. Men without morals are pretty things to read about in books, but meditating on consequences is another matter…of course I have no right to judge them as men, but as actors in the life of our literature, I can and will…”

    I wrote a whole comment on this one, Tom — but then it became a new article [click here].

    Indeed, you don’t judge men, I know that now — but I must say that when I first encountered you back on Foetry.com, I thought you were highly judgmental. Now I understand that you do make a distinction between what you call “men without morals” and “actors in the life of our literature,” and you’re only too ready to acknowledge that most of the objects of your criticism are a little bit of both. So you give no quarter to the “man without morals” while sparing the “actor” in them, and even quite enjoy the show they put on.

    And you yourself, of course, just like me, have first hand experience of both — in yourself. Indeed, if you didn’t or, what is even worse, did but wouldn’t acknowledge it, you’d never be able to write about poetry at all. Which is what goes so wrong in the academy.

    Plus no sense of humor, of course, and that’s fatal!


  13. cowpattyhammer said,

    October 13, 2009 at 7:53 am

    I left out one word in my last post.



  14. thomasbrady said,

    October 13, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    “I wrote a whole comment on this one, Tom–but then it became a new article (click here)”

    I love this, Christopher! I feel like I’m inside a computer program, or a Russian Doll-within a Russian Doll game.

    Should I reply to THIS thread, or the NEW THREAD which you have created?

    We are discovering ‘the soul of the plot’ in either case, so I really don’t mind being in these sorts of mazes, for I hold the thread, and I never get lost.

    Suzuki’s trail is a cult-like one, and it touches Huxley–who was very much part of the Modernist coterie; Huxley met Graves, who was connected to the New Critics thru Laura Riding, who was a John Crowe Ransom Fugitive member, briefly, and both Huxley and Graves advocated psychedelic drug use for inspiration (to students!) and Huxley’s vicious attack on Poe was reproduced by the New Critic, Robert Penn Warren, in his “Understanding Poetry” textbook. Poe was hated simply for his clear and common sense approach: there’s nothing con-men hate more than clarity and common sense. If Poe was one thing, it was this: a highly conscious artist who endeavored to see through cons of all sorts. The truly wise man (in the Socratic tradition) does not know wisdom (for anyone who says they know wisdom or presents themselves as wise is a con-man) but rather the Socratic wisdom ‘knows ignorance.’

  15. thomasbrady said,

    October 13, 2009 at 2:59 pm

    The con-man says I’ll make you wise and happy with drugs, with the Goddess, with meditation, or with sex, or with publishing credentials, with haiku, with zen, with eating grass and never bathing, and the Socratic response is, “Really? Do you really think that leads to happiness?” And this Socratic response is reviled and hated and would be stamped out. “What?? You reject my wisdom?? You dare to ridicule my Cult???” It’s one thing to practice free love, it’s another thing to adorn one’s free love lifestyle with all sorts of ‘religious’ allowances and ‘artistic’ allowances. A rogue without money remains a mere rogue, but a rogue with money and publishing credentials is a wonder and an inspiration and seduction which very few can resist, the pot of gold at the end of the pyramid scheme.

  16. cowpattyhammer said,

    October 14, 2009 at 5:31 am

    CLICK HERE for what that did to me, Tom.

    But there’s more:

    A pyramid scheme is of course the perfect image, because the original investors do so well by permitting subsequent sharp investors to get in on the scheme by speculating in the same chapter and verse, so to speak, making everyone complicit!

    A Ponzi scheme, on the other hand, dupes late comers, who must carry the whole can on their own. If Modern American poetry is a Ponzi scheme then it means our poets today are just dumb! Enormously greedy, self-obsessed, self-congratulatory like the founders, but a whole lot more dumb.

    And there are some like this too, of course there are, but they’re mainly in at the entry level, and have to pay for manuscript conferences with the big-wigs, for example, or go back to school even. The real big-wig investors actually run the schools, the departments, the publishing houses, the non-profits, the prize-giving commitees, the on-lines and the conferences, and they know very well what they’re doing. Joan Houlihan, for example, a very bright lady, fine critic, and even good poet. She knows full well that when a whistle gets blown it means something’s amiss, and understands what that is too, but she still calls the whistle blower a loser to cover her ass.

    Which sums it all up. If you aren’t in charge at the top you’re just stupid, i.e. a bad poet, and you certainly have no understanding whatsoever of the process of editing and publishing poetry in America. And the author of that dictum is very proud that she does, too, Joan Houlihan, and chooses her editors and publishers with aplomb!

    And if you want to be successful just go to her (I’d give you the URL on that but I’ve repressed it).