Click Here to continue reading this GUARDIAN article.

Why are we doing this? Is this just more watchdog barking, is this just Foetry II? Indeed, what do we hope to achieve on Scarriet?

Because it comes at a price, this work of ours, and if you read the comments following the last article just below you can see how much. Desmond Swords is ready to move on because he feels we’ve achieved a lot, and isn’t willing to limit his own huge creativity to such a parochial little struggle. Tom and I are veterans, on the other hand, we’ve been banned from Poets & Writers, The Academy of American Poets,  and now The Poetry Foundation, so we’re running out of legitimate space to write in as legitimate travellers. I mean, we’re writers, not Black Panthers — and if you don’t understand how depriving creative people of their voices creates that sort of nightmare, you know nothing about the history of protest. Nor how tragic it can be, and particularly for those who have the gifts to be heard — how that hurts, how that rankles and drives them on!

The previous article just below, The State of the Onion, was posted to help anyone who cared to re-examine what happened last year on, and we may or may not choose to comment on that ourselves. We’ll see. But whether we do or not, it’s up to all of you to decide about each one of us individually, and add your voices to ours if you feel what we’re saying deserves to be heard.

As to myself, do you feel I’m a libellous cad whom any self-respecting on-line venue ought to shun, indeed worse than Jack Conway [Lola] — as Kaltica [Pirvaya] suggested? [click herepassim] Or am I simply uncontrollable in any other way than banning. Is that why the lights went out for me so quickly on Blog:Harriet? I mean, I was placed in the hands of the Foundation Censor way back on July 14th, just days after the Like/Dislike function was introduced, and Thomas Brady, who writes twice as much as I do, and is far more influential, survived until September 1st!

And just look at those accusations levelled at me — yes, yet again that I wrote “abusive letters to the staff” and “hi-jacked threads,” exactly the same accusations as Chrissiekl, the Site Administator at, had levelled at me the year before — even though Kaltica admitted it was really because I spoke about people who “weren’t there.[click herepassim]

So who were those people, and why couldn’t the Academy Administrator just ban me for libel? I mean, that’s clear, isn’t it, if I attack others in a groundless slur, the Academy just steps in to protect them? So why was I dismissed for writing abusive letters to the staff instead of for libel? Why the smoke screen?

Was it that my remarks were already well-established in the public domain, that I was referring to material that had already been published in Poets & Writers, for example, that everybody knew what I was talking about but that the individuals involved still had enough clout on the inside to hush me up? [click here]

Copycat or what, “abusive letters” and “hi-jacking?” I mean, everybody knew there were no abusive letters at all on either venue, and none has ever surfaced, or ever will. And there are no hi-jacked threads either. Or is there something else, perhaps “clique and manipulation” as John Sutherland calls it in The Guardian article. And if so, what are those towering pillars of the poetry establishment going to do about it? Because Scarriet has no bones to pick with The Poetry Foundation or with The Academy — except that both seem to turn a blind eye when special interests are so obviously able to manipulate  some of their employees’ editorial decisions, and that’s where it matters!

So where does that buck stop?

Christopher Woodman


  1. cowpattyhammer said,

    October 16, 2009 at 6:44 am

    Various adjustments did take place subsequently on and Blog:Harriet that re-inforce what I’ve just written in this article:

    1.) Chrissiekl resigned as Site Administrator. We were never told why, nor were we told on what grounds she was later re-instated; [click here]

    2.) All the offending threads supposed to have been full of my abuse and my hi-jacking were deleted by the management. In other words, the evidence was tampered with (aka ‘altered,’ ‘removed,’ ‘destroyed’) by The Academy; [click here and then click here — just two examples of the shenanigans!]

    3.) The On-line Editor at the Academy was removed from her job. This may or may not have been connected to the fact that that same On-Line Editor, Robin Beth Schaer, had just been short-listed for a major prize by Jeffrey Levine at the Tupelo Press.

    Jeffrey Levine also publishes Joan Houlihan, and works closely with her in the Colrain Manuscript Conferences. Indeed, it was Joan Houlihan who published the Nov 2006 letter in P&W that I was specifically discussing. [click here]

    I was banned immediately after mentioning these connections, and not once but twice — which is all well documented. Only the 2nd still exists at [click here] — the first has been deleted. [click here for a copy]

    4.) I also had a very early post of mine deleted from Blog:Harriet that mentioned these connections, as if the Harriet management was all primed and ready to take care of me on that score before I arrived. On the other hand, I was assured by the Foundation’s On-line Editor that it had in fact been a mistake by someone who was inexperienced and alone in the office.

    But to be very frank, I don’t think everybody in the Foundation 0n-line Office sees eye to eye on this matter, and that gives me hope. I don’t think everything I say is falling on deaf ears at the Foundation at all –and I thank very much those individuals who have given me subdued but meaningful support from within.


  2. cowpattyhammer said,

    October 16, 2009 at 8:52 am

    I don’t know if you remember this, but you wrote in way back in October 2008 at a time when I was still feeling so sore and abused, and I kept a copy. I’d like to throw it in here even though it’s still there on-line somewhere:


    This is a classic case of the Poetry of the Priesthood v. the Poetry of Democracy.

    In the Poetry of Democracy, honest discussion of poetry is sought, and the people ultimately decide what is worthy and what is not, by the copies of books purchased, by the popularity of essays and websites, generated by the poetry itself and the criticism itself.

    The Priesthood, however, protects its own. Honest discussion of poetry is the last thing the Priesthood wants. The Priesthood desires a carefully constructed hierarchy of credentials and favoritism (removed from the reality of the poetry itself and the criticism itself).

    This is why the mere mention of Levine and Houlihan got ACommoner banned from Poets.Org. You were interfering with a carefully constructed hiearchy. In the Priesthood’s eyes, ACommoner was “rude.” Criteria based on ‘proper behavior’ replaces criteria based on ‘honesty.’

    The Priesthood phenomenon is not unusual, and few poets manage to thrive outside of it, and those that do thrive outside/without the Priesthood, tend, by necessity, to be great poets, since sheer necessity requires them to be so. The exiled Dante is an example, also the scorned Pope, and Shelley, whose inheritance was cut because of his activities, and also, of course, Poe.

    Competing Priesthoods are rare, for various reasons, which I do not have time to explore now…

    [I found it! — click here!]

  3. poetryandporse said,

    October 16, 2009 at 8:59 am

    Hold fast comrade. I am not moving on to pastures new; merely taking a natural break.

    In the past few weeks, it has been four and five hours sleep, then up and at the coal-face of poetic agitation. Then, last weekend I reached burnout and this week am in a fallow silent period before surging ahead on the next r un.

    This is what usually happens. A lot of blather than a week or two off to catch up on sleep and for my brain to rinse itself out, dreaming in language, itself being spun through the mind in some at-source process.

    No, fear not comrade of the freedom to be body, I am not deserting the cause, merely pausing before the next campaign begins.

  4. cowpattyhammer said,

    October 16, 2009 at 9:10 am

    Diddley, diddley, do da dah!

    I never doubted you for a moment, good Des — just used your good person to make a good point!

    I mean, we’re poets, aren’t we — isn’t that what we always do, and why we’re such sinners? Like our Christie?

    What makes Scarriet really different, of course, is that we admit it!!!