.Thomas Brady, Desmond Swords,
Alan Cordle, Christopher Woodman

Writers keep blogging about the end of writing [and brilliantly, Abigail Deutsch. It’s a most wonderful article, and would we were there to honor it. Indeed, this one could  be well over 100 comments in a few days, and really be worth saving as a resource too. So we apologize for the satire, but what can we do?].

The English department is declining. Book reviews? Print journalism?  The on-line poetry-establishment non-profits like Pw.org, Poets.org, and Blog:Harriet?

There’s just one problem: no one gets into details. We want to know exactly when and why poetry croaked.  Did it happen in bed or on the beat? Did poetry die in peace, or in the ambitious twilight schemes of on-line editors in the back rooms at the American Academy of Poetry or the Poetry Foundation? Did Travis Nichols get short-listed for a prize like Robin Beth Schaer, or did they all get together for a ‘Compleat Retro Refit’ in Stockbridge or Lake Forest?

And so, in the style of the solemn journalism covering this crisis, we offer a few speculative reports for a nonexistent newspaper (call it The Daily Travesty).

They Know Why the Caged Bird Sings: Chicago Gang Takes Over, Ghetto Population Soars.

BOSTON– [on schedule]
DUBLIN– [tomorrow]
PORTLAND– [evening edition]
CHIANG MAI– [Sunday magazine section]

[STAY TUNED. The samizdat articles are coming in hot off the underground press — and if you don’t receive your copy it means you’re part of the problem! ]


  1. thomasbrady said,

    October 10, 2009 at 2:17 pm

    The innocent who chatter on Harriet today are like those who submit to a journal they’ve never read.

    They say: ‘Before you submit to a journal, read it first.’

    Some, now posting on Harriet, are not so innocent.

    Myles, Margo B., John Oliver Simon, Terreson. They know.

    But some have no idea. Some are innocent. They did not read Harriet in the summer.

    Harriet was exciting over the summer, as Cordle, Brady, Woodman, and Swords sizzled–writing a great deal and bringing out passion in others. Some creatures raised their heads, slowly looked from side to side and sniffed the air: ‘is that Foetry we smell?’ And fear–fear of honesty–began to run from vine to vine, from leaf to leaf.

    Harriet management began to fret: what to do? Commands were given. Rules were made. Still, the rich discussions, propelled by honesty and insight, continued. Threads grew. Ideas flowed. Harriet was suddenly in a golden age of dialogue.

    But Management fretted: what to do?

    No rules were broken this past spring and summer. Honesty prevailed, and those who could not handle the honesty simply left of their own volition. All appeared to be welcome. Well known writers visited.

    The rude comments by Oliver Simon, Robbins, Kent Johnson, Noah, Nick, Krista, Matt were allowed, and the victims of these nasty comments were not nasty in return, but carried on with genteel authority.

    Still–management fretted: ‘how do we make those, like Noah Freed and Nick, who are rude and unhappy, glad?’

    It was not enough for Harriet management that posters like Simon, Nick, Robbins and Noah Freed expressed themselves rudely with impunity–they (the rude posters) had to be SATISFIED.

    Then, cowardly actions were taken. Woodman, Cordle, Brady and Swords were BANNED–for no reason. (At least no reason was GIVEN–for this would have involved HONESTY.) Management decided they didn’t like these individuals. Civility, passion and honesty were PUNISHED.

    Sneering bullies were rewarded, and, in a matter of hours, on September 1,Harriet fell into near-total silence.

    As fall began, Harriet management surely hoped that activity would increase, or at least remain the same, since summer is typically slower than fall. As school began, guest writers and their friends arrived, ready to celebrate. ‘Welcome,’ Travis Nichols announced, in a friendly tone.

    But Harriet in September, and now in October, is strangely empty. Remarks are met with silence, a negative vote, perhaps a one-sentence banality.

    ‘What is going on here?’ Amber Tamblyn, and others ask.

    ‘Is poetry worse off than we thought?’

    It is.

    • larry10 said,

      November 21, 2009 at 10:06 am

      this blog is not as interesting as the Fox NFL pregame show.

      • thomasbrady said,

        November 21, 2009 at 3:09 pm

        I want to hear what moe10 and curly10 have to say.

    • larry10 said,

      November 21, 2009 at 6:37 pm

      Moe 10 and Curly 10 would say that this blog is far less interesting than the CBS NFL pregame show and that Peyton Manning is superior to Thomas Brady.

      • thomasbrady said,

        November 22, 2009 at 5:15 pm

        this is da game, ya knucklehead

  2. cowpattyhammer said,

    October 11, 2009 at 2:16 am

    A ‘Poetry is Dead’ comment on Harriet has appeared, and very typical of the ostrich mentality there too.

    The few who are still posting on Blog:Harriet are deep in denial, and this poster in particular. Terreson’s own personal site,”The Pee in the Pool of On-line Poetry,” lies in ruins, and there’s plenty about it here at Scarriet, as we’ll show you.

    First of all, it’s important to note that this poster was actually in favor of the Like/Dislike function when it was first implemented on Harriet on July 14th, indeed, he was one of the very few who praised the arrangement:


    All in all the new feature strikes me as sound and a good idea actually. In my experience blogs and poetry boards tend to have far more passive readers than they have active posters. In conversations these readers tend to get discounted. The fewer active posters can sometimes take too much possession of the proceedings, too easily convinced their posts are just this side of holy writ and accepted as gospel by all those who do not speak up, when, in fact, the reader might be thinking something along the line of ‘I can’t be bothered with such a blather.’ (And let’s face it. Few are the posters not speaking to an audience.)



    But Terreson is like that, swings from extreme to extreme in his mania, and 24 minutes later was swearing that he would have nothing to do with such a draconian system, and would never be back:


    Desmond Swords says: “How many individual readers need click ‘dislike’before the comment is hidden, please?”

    I’ve found that the answer seems to be two. Man, I am so out of here. This amounts to thought policing.



    Yet he’s still there, indeed Terreson is one of the most frequent posters on Harriet at the moment, and in his present comment on the “Poetry is Dead” thread is crowing about how good it all is on-line!


    I don’t know how it is in the world of professional poets and the academy, but I am satisfied that poetry is alive, well, and flourishing in on line venues such as poetry boards and ezines. There I’ve found affective poetry written by people coming from all walks of life, working different trades and occupying different stations.



    Yet very recently Terreson set about banning a whole group of posters from his own personal site, [click here] deleting dozens of their posts — all because he didn’t want to consider that there were in fact others on the planet who might have ideas about Poetry Board Management. In fact he’s the self-absorbed freedom fighter par excellence, and like most of such “free” people a control freak!

    Now he’s preaching fire-brand management on a site which used to champion freedom and tolerance on poetry boards! [click here] (Be a bit patient, that URL is a slow opener, but it will eventually scroll right down to the comment about fighting cyber criminals with fire!)

    We even satirized that new fiery move of his on Scarriet by casting him in the role of poetry’s Red Adair! [click here]

    Wish we could see peace and love on Harriet. Indeed, the few posters left count among them a number of cyber relicts with vague hippie fantasies about poetry people who talk on-line goodness to each other from the heart.

    In fact, the people who talk from the heart were all banned, Terreson, by you and by Harriet!


  3. cowpattyhammer said,

    October 11, 2009 at 8:42 am

    Oh my, here’s the guy spreading love and light on Barbara Jane Reyes new thread on “Tony Robles,” the Filipino poet. [click here] How tactless and demeaning can you get in a spiritual voice?


    So, Barbara Jane Reyes, I’m going to risk something here. Six or so blogs later and I still don’t have a sense of what you think in the poetry way. Most often you boost the poetry of others, mostly men poets, mostly Filipino-Americans. I appreciate and admire that perhaps you are using the platform to speak for poets outside the mainstream, whatever the mainstream really is. (Trust me. You don’t have to be a hyphenated American to be outside poetry’s mainstream.) But what do you think? What is your approach to poetry? What is your poetry way?

    As for what is essentially political in poetry Neruda said it best in his Nobel lecture.

    Toward a splendid city indeed. Then there is the story of the CIA backed junta that took down Allende’s democratically elected government. Pinochet sent out a squadron of soldiers to arrest Neruda in his sea coast house. The old poet was dieing by then and bed ridden and they sent out a whole squadron to arrest an old man. When the soldiers broke in, found the poet in his bed, he said back to them, “There is nothing here to fear except for poetry.” The captain and his soldiers immediately exited.

    So what’s your take? What’s your voice?



    And he puts up his “Spendid City” post wherever he goes too. Click here for another version called, yes “Towards the Splendid City!” And read the commentary following it to see where that went. Indeed, he vanished in a puff of superior passive-aggressive smoke shortly thereafter!

    That’s Terreson! His take is his stake, and even Pablo Neruda is about him. I mean, Tony Robles doesn’t stand a chance!

    Which is precisely what the previous thread on Scarriet was about [click here], and don’t tell me he hasn’t been reading it!


  4. thomasbrady said,

    October 11, 2009 at 2:58 pm


    Thank you. I was really cruel to Terreson in that Poets.net thread–but I couldn’t help it; I just think Tere is the worst sort of contradictory hypocrite and he’s a very common political type, and people need to point it out and give it a name. I had forgotten what I said, but now I see it must have earned Tere’s undying hate–which is the price I pay for speaking up; I understand that.

    It’s a combination of things: first, the Dido poem of Terreson’s was so awful–that was strike one; this pretentious idea that, he, Terreson, would make sweet love to Dido and she would forget Virgil’s protagonist, the warrior, because, you know, Tere is a man of peace of love! LOL This is so pitiful, such sad hippie garbage, and for a guy who knows as much as Tere to lay such crap on us with a straight face, while lecturing us about Neruda and beneficial communities. Good God!

    Strike two was the Neruda speech itself, which features a very beautiful passage–the journey on horseback thru moutain, forest, river–but the speech overall is finally overly apologetic, defensive, rambling, and I don’t buy at all this ‘the baker baking his bread’ is a poet and the foundation of all society, etc etc…well, sure he is, but to tell us so, to state the obvious: bread is good! is such sanctimonious, pompous tones…to be impressed by this sort of rhetoric is so…dreary…it’s all so humble in a false kind of way. It’s like religion without the religion…it’s finally condescending in a really insidious manner. ‘I’m baking my bread…I’m real! I belong to the people!’ yea, whatever…

    And then strike three is Terreson’s censorious judgement against ALL who disagree with him…he wants this democratic community, yet ALL voices must be silenced except the one that sounds like HIS, you know, the democratic, community, one.

    And Harriet, which mainly reflects po-biz, is very similar. ‘We’re a friendly community here, baking our bread, and as long as you fit in with us, we will welcome you!’ As if they are doing a great favor to us by allowing us into their rule-oriented ‘community.’ No, a true community is differing voices, not YOU standing at the gate, deciding which voice to let in. A good community is truly democratic and knows its purpose: Harriet’s purpose is to talk poetry, not bake bread.

    The bottom line is, I have never censored Terreson. I rhetorically name his type, but this does not mean I silence him; in fact I encourage those I disagree with to speak out and prove me wrong. We are ALL wrong–only the dialogue is worth protecting; no one’s precious opinion is worth protecting, mine included. It is the dialogue of opinions which needs protection. Terreson, like many, takes his ball and goes home, censors himself–which is fine. There are few who can really talk the talk, and it has nothing to do with personal credentials; it has more to do with something divine, something that keeps going, beyond all that.


  5. cowpattyhammer said,

    October 12, 2009 at 3:49 pm

    Terreson to Amber Tamblyn, can you imagine? I mean, more self-indulgent than that?

    Self-indulgent. Reads like a valley girl cliche from the eighties. Sorry.


  6. thomasbrady said,

    October 13, 2009 at 12:51 am

    “and were once again picked up on by some creepy backwoodsmen with bad manners.” –A. Tamblyn

    Perhaps Terreson was one of the creepy backwoodsmen with bad manners?

    (It’s a joke, Tere)

    Amber mentioned US Weekly ‘Stars R Just LIke Us’…

    Stars, too, blog on poetry sites and get flamed by Terreson.

    I’m sure we’ll see that in US Weekly…

    As for Michael James’ comment on Tambyln’s post:

    “This post syncs up with Anslem’s “More Internal Data” via the line: “what are the conditions that make this writer relate to language in this particular way?”

    Whatever poems are to arise out of these trips, even if they do not occur now, are sure to be pretty interesting. The energy is palpable even from here…”

    POSTS ARE ‘SYNCING UP’ ON HARRIET. look out, people.

    First, the question, “what are the conditions that make this writer relate to language in this particular way” ?? ‘conditions that make…relate to language…in this particular way?’ What does this even mean? ‘Conditions?’ Who even uses this word anymore? If I took this question seriously, I would never write again.

    Second, I find it hard to believe ‘poems’ will ‘arise’ out of these ‘trips.’ Why should they?

  7. Christopher Woodman said,

    November 21, 2009 at 11:36 am

    I’m pleased to see this article is receiving a lot of hits on Scarriet at the moment, because this post and its subsequent comments lay bare an aspect of the whole ‘reform’ movement that is particularly negative.

    There are a number of self-styled ‘reformers’ out there who are in it just for the on-line kicks they get from acting as if they were the most natural, free-spirited, and out-spoken new-thinkers on the scene, whereas in reality some of these ‘prophets’ are just old performers putting on a show. They are riding the reform movement for selfish reasons, not because they would like to see poetry throw off the shackles of the past, get back on track, move on, whatever you want to call it. Indeed, the reassessment of modern American poetry takes all sorts, and the problems are as multifaceted as the proverbial elephant.

    Needless to say, there are many mansions in this house, and room for all.

    Scarriet’s door is wide open, and we hope very much that some of you will find the courage to put your two cents in right here.

    You’re welcome!