THE STATE OF THE ONION: A Report on Poets.org.

POETS.ORG GRAB
***********************************************************************POETS CROPPEDONION SCAN 3___________________________________________________________

Just a year ago, Poets.net, a small, independent poetry forum, did a study of the mother of all Poetry Boards,  The Academy of American Poets’ own Poets.org.

On a thread entitled  The State of the Onion, a Report on Poets.org, Poets.net hosted a discussion of recent events at Poets.org that involved some controversial departures similar to those on The Poetry Foundation’s own Blog:Harriet.

Thomas Brady had just completed a two month long debate with Poets.org’s leading critic and administrator, Kaltica, resulting in the most popular thread Poets.org had ever hosted. Called  On Aspiring Writers Becoming Successful Writers, it involved 259 replies and 72829 views, Indeed, Poets.org experienced a flowering during the time of Thomas Brady’s participation that it has never been able to recapture, anymore than Blog:Harriet has — the heart simply went out of both sites when they were unable to sustain a more passionate and independent sort of dialogue. All that remains without such engagement is desultory, I-score-you-score chit-chat  [click here or  click hereand on this latter, has anything changed a whole year later?].

It’s important to emphasize that Thomas Brady decided to leave Poets.net voluntarily. He never felt comfortable there, and couldn’t express what was on his mind without sneers and threats from the management and its clique of supporters who obviously felt threatened by him. I myself, on the other hand, was summarily axed, and as mysteriously as on Blog:Harriet. Indeed, I seem to lack friends in high poetry places. And the sad part is that that’s only partly a joke — because my story proves that there are, in fact, special interests in very high poetry places!

The State of the Onion: A Report on Poets.org — a fascinating piece of on-line skull-duggery, and some of the revelations are startling.

It’s important to notice that Thomas Brady’s last post is dated June 14th, 2008, and that this Report was compiled on September 17th, 2008. When you look at the statistics of “Visits” and “Replies” on the 1st page, you can calculate how little had transpired in those three intervening months.

Finally, Thomas Brady goes by the name of TomWest on Poets.org, and I’m A Commoner. On Poets.net, Thomas Brady is Monday Love, Kaltica is Pirvaya, and I’m still A Commoner.

Christopher Woodman

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4 Comments

  1. poetryandporse said,

    October 15, 2009 at 8:57 am

    Exactly the same thing happening in both forums.

    Even Terreson is threatening to quit Harriet now, saying the place is too lame for him to sport in. It may very well go the way of poets.org, because people know what the behaviour of Travis was.

    I know from experience, that when you have a chat-gaffe that is busy and successful, you want to control the flow, and just because you have mouse-control and the power of appearance or not over the posters: sad as it may seem, this can tilt your thinking and it only takes one wrong move which you justify as a small cutting-corner operation, to put of the regulars who, on seeing you as a dictator, will never view you again int he same light.

    When this blog started, we were very much filled with the passion we had when Harriet was thriving, and now that Harriet is no more, just a wan limp and almost invisible reflection of how she used to be – so too the passion wanes here, with myself at least.

    The first few weeks we had the energy and overspill engendered by unjustness and unfair treatment by trav, to keep the fires stoked; but now, watching the dying blog breathing its last, with the crucial understanding drawn from the whole sad and sorry episode, being that: it was us, we who were that blog anyway – vindication has been arrived at. That it was a handful of people who made the difference between one liner strategic slaps on the back, and honest debate and fruitful exchange.

  2. cowpattyhammer said,

    October 15, 2009 at 3:31 pm

    But Desmond, it’s only just warming up, it’s only just starting to get interesting!

    Four such distinct and separate voices, that’s what makes us:

    1.) Alan Cordle, so well informed yet minimal and perfect:

    2.) Thomas Brady, so flapless, so impenetrable, so confident, like a glacier with millions of tons of years creeping along on its inimitably well researched and glistening belly, dropping icebergs in the fiord of our history with only 10% visible and everything we need to know compact in every tranche:

    3.) And you, Mousquetaire Nombre Trois, Desmond Swords — hot off the bonny Irish skillet, skittering like flaming balls of water on the seething oil — steaming, smoking, ready to cook anything at all that happens to be tossed into the pan including streams of faeces:

    4.) Then me, Christopher Wouldhecouldman, tongue tied and therefore also pure like Alan, the tattle of the mute, the voice of the silence that if we just stopped talking for a moment could be heard.

    How could Travis Nichols have thought we were a gang, the Yeats Yakuzi or the Rorschack Roodscreen and the Reign of Rebus Terror?

    Yes, he thought we were ‘Foetry,’ whatever that was. Whereas we’re just four simple souls that really like to talk Poetry, and where better than on Ruth B.Lilly’s miraculous Blog:Harriet? He didn’t get that, our Travis, so he made a trap which couldn’t hold an earth worm — then when it didn’t work he banned us, feeling sure that every law-abiding poet in America would understand. Well, maybe they did, but they certainly haven’t stood up to be counted what’s more come in to save his job!

    We’re not finished yet, hey Swords, you black-tan man, you turn-shirt, you interwallbylocaterminator, we’re just starting to have some really good clean fun!!!

    Christoforusoragainstus.

  3. thomasbrady said,

    October 15, 2009 at 3:39 pm

    poetry&porse,

    I’m not ready to lay down my swords quite yet.

    Scarriet’s got legs. (and mashed-up feet)

    The po-biz twits deserve a good lashing.

    Silli-man and Bern-stein and all their followers, too.

    They’ll all be running and hiding before we’re done.

    Thomas

  4. thomasbrady said,

    October 15, 2009 at 7:09 pm

    Diana Manister almost single-handedly keeps the Poets.org blog afloat.

    She added a lot to Poets.net. I disagree with her often, but she’s willing to engage.

    Kaltica is brilliant when he doesn’t play prosody czar and is ruled by his common sense. He’s a witty antidote to Diana’s Marjorie Perloff.

    Kaltica’s zinger in the comments to Matthew Zapruder’s on-line Poetry Foundation article re: explaining difficult poetry to make it more accessible was priceless:

    “Would stand-up comedy be more popular or less so if it required someone to come along and explain all the jokes?”