ANGER IN POETRYLAND

Since Alan Cordle’s Foetry.com got major media attention and made Foetry a household word, a quiet revolution has taken place.   Publishing and prizes are no longer assumed to be pure.   The ‘Cred Game’ has been exposed.

Here’s a random example from the world of poetry bloggers: http://irasciblepoet.blogspot.com/2007/09/what-makes-me-want-to-vomit.html

From the list of 10 things that makes this poetry blogger “want to vomit:”

Vomit #4: I want to vomit when presses that are vanity exercises continue to publish their friends and exclude new voices.

We think it’s wonderful, thanks to Alan Cordle, that new understanding and outrage exists, but further education is needed.

What made Alan Cordle so dangerous and hated, was that he named names. He was not content to just bellyache.  Foetry.com named, and brought low, big names, because, as more and more realize today, “vanity” in po-biz goes all the way to the top.

Big names intimidate, allowing foetic practice to continue where ‘the gods’ play.

But not everyone is intimidated by big names.  And the word is getting out that Foetry did not begin with Jorie Graham.  The word is getting out that many of the icons of Modernism–which so many people worship because they learned about them in school–were foetic frauds.

It takes critical acumen to detect foetry in history, foetry in the canon, and foetry in contemporary big names.

This is what Scarriet is here for.

All that juicy and critically acute stuff.

The poetry blog which I quoted at random is called ‘The Irascible Poet,” with the following quote on its masthead:

“I Have Never Met a Poet Worth A Damn that was Not Irascible” —Ezra Pound

Here’s what we mean by education.  Our blogger needs to be educated.  The foetic Modernists really brought very little new to the table that was not merely crackpot. We really hate to keep going back to Poe, and making this an issue of Pound v. Poe, but this did fall into our lap.

Before Pound recommended “the irascible poet,” Poe wrote the following:

That poets, including artists in general, are a genus irritable is well understood, but the why seems not to be commonly seen. An artist is an artist only by dint of his exquisite sense of Beauty – a sense affording him rapturous enjoyment, but at the same time implying, or involving, an equally exquisite sense of Deformity or disproportion. Thus a wrong – an injustice – done a poet who is really a poet, excites him to a degree which, to ordinary apprehension, appears disproportionate with the wrong. Poets see injustice – never where it does not exist – but very often where the unpoetic see no injustice whatever. Thus the poetical irritability has no reference to “temper” in the vulgar sense, but merely to a more than usual clear-sightedness in respect to Wrong, this clearsightedness being nothing more than a corollary from the vivid perception of Right, of justice, of proportion. But one thing is clear -–that the man who is not “irritable” is no poet.

This is from Poe’s Marginalia.   Is it not a rapturous paean against foetry? And as we close this post, let us quote Poe again from his Marginalia, and this, too, could be a pledge against all foetic affliction.

Take heart, my friends!

Literature is the most noble of professions. In fact, it is about the only one fit for a man. For my own part, there is no seducing me from the path. I shall be a litterateur, at least, all my life; nor would I abandon the hopes which still lead me on for all the gold in California. Talking of gold, and of the temptations at present held out to “poor-devil authors,” did it ever strike you that all which is really valuable to a man of letters, to a poet especially, is absolutely unpurchaseable? Love, fame, the dominion of intellect, the consciousness of power, the thrilling sense of beauty, the free air of Heaven, exercise of body and mind, with the physical and moral health which result, these and such as these are really all that a poet cares for. Then answer me this: why should he go to California?

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6 Comments

  1. wfkammann said,

    November 6, 2009 at 4:56 pm

    And why would he ever stop drinking.

  2. thomasbrady said,

    November 6, 2009 at 5:25 pm

    Bill,

    Poe had to “stop drinking,” even though drinking was never really a problem for him–testimony from friendly witnesses who saw him on a daily basis, plus an objective look at Poe’s output: the originality, the quality, the amount, and the exquisite handwriting, reveal conclusively that Poe was not impaired by drink, or anything else.

    But Poe had to “stop drinking” because his enemies, through libel and slander, made it an issue.

    Poe’s Temperance Pledge, late in life, was merely a public effort to combat slander.

    The facts on Poe and drink/drugs, given here, show the issue is very much exaggerated: http://www.eapoe.org/geninfo/poealchl.htm The Edgar Allan Poe Society of Baltimore site is a fantastic resource…

    A Temperance fanatic and Baltimore Sun editor, Dr. J.E. Snodgrass, who ‘found’ Poe in Baltimore, probably had something to do with Poe’s murder.

    The Temperance Movement could be a cover for slander operations; as you know, sometimes the ‘good’ will cover their tracks…

    Thomas

  3. garybfitzgerald said,

    November 7, 2009 at 1:49 am

    “An artist is an artist only by dint of his exquisite sense of Beauty – a sense affording him rapturous enjoyment, but at the same time implying, or involving, an equally exquisite sense of Deformity or disproportion. Thus a wrong – an injustice – done a poet who is really a poet, excites him to a degree which, to ordinary apprehension, appears disproportionate with the wrong. Poets see injustice – never where it does not exist – but very often where the unpoetic see no injustice whatever.”

    – Edgar Allan Poe

    Well, God bless Edgar Allan Poe.

    Poe was one of my earliest influences. Now I remember why.

    Thank you, Thomas.

    .

  4. garybfitzgerald said,

    November 7, 2009 at 3:25 am

    “Talking of gold, and of the temptations at present held out to “poor-devil authors,” did it ever strike you that all which is really valuable to a man of letters, to a poet especially, is absolutely unpurchaseable? Love, fame, the dominion of intellect, the consciousness of power, the thrilling sense of beauty, the free air of Heaven, exercise of body and mind, with the physical and moral health which result, these and such as these are really all that a poet cares for.”

    – Edgar Allan Poe

    Well, God bless Edgar Allan Poe.

    Poe was one of my earliest influences. Now I again remember why.

    Thank you, Thomas.

    .

  5. garybfitzgerald said,

    November 7, 2009 at 4:14 am

    And did anyone notice that nice play on “gold” and “strike” in that first sentence I quoted?

  6. thomasbrady said,

    November 7, 2009 at 11:37 pm

    Gary,

    Actually, I didn’t notice that…maybe unconsciously…

    I once read an analysis of the tale ‘Ligiea’ and how there’s an underlying theme of gold and lead…

    Poe, the detective writer, poet, rigorous critic and horror tale writer eclipses the more conversational, witty, playful, “marginalia” side of Poe, which I also find inspiring…

    Thomas