To access our initial graphic of the man peeing in the stream,
click here — and unlike Harriet, let’s discuss it!

Congratulations, Harriet.  You’ve managed your first 100 comment thread since you diverted the waters to Scarriet 5 months ago, but look out for your malodorous ditch!

Has anyone forgotten just how much water was flowing in your streams before the September 1st blockage? Just look at the raw statistics. Back then there were even 200+ threads — and 100 was quite normal, the streams were so clear and intense.

And now? Just look at the Jan. 25th article, “Poetry & Gender: Why Don’t More Women Do Blog Oriented Writing?” C. Perez sets it up like this, and in bold no less:

“questions: do you think women’s self-promotion in poetry differs from men’s self-promotion? what do you do to self-promote your work? are certain kinds of self-promotion gendered in identifiable ways?”

Gender differences in self-promotion?   LOL

Yea, this is why I’m a poet.   To contemplate issues like this.

The discussion quickly devolves:

“having grown up in a mostly athletic blue collar fraternity house atmosphere, crazy as this is going to sound, i came of age believing that the creation of any art, especially the writing of poetry, is for sissies. “


First Amber Tamblyn.   Now this.

“I always feel ashamed, in my blog (not this one, my other one — see, it feels wrong even to write the name of that other blog!), if I directly mention a publication, or a book that’s come out.”


ZZZZZZZ   At least the ‘sissies’ comment was slightly controversial.

Half the comments on the thread are by 3 people, ‘blue collar,’ the writer of the post, and a blogger named Greene.

So there’s this:

@All: This is the most fun comment thread I’ve had in…I mean jeez, you guys can all spell! Shoulda hung out with other writers more all these years, I guess…


And finally:

“I’m not sure why you guys are bothering to engage with this obviously very myopic and ignorant blog troll. He is insulted by affirmative action and thinks women have more time to write because they’re housewives… why is that worth engaging?”


Oh boy.

The Poetry Foundation blog may be a very dull place these days, but let’s look on the bright side.

Travis Nichols doesn’t have to invent clever ways to suppress discussion.

John Oliver Simon doesn’t have to be exposed to ideas he doesn’t agree with.

And that’s a good thing, don’t you think?


  1. Christopher Woodman said,

    January 30, 2010 at 9:02 am

    I hadn’t visited Blog:Harriet for weeks before this post went up — and what a come-down for me reading “Gender & Poetry” over. Grief almost.

    For the first time it occurred to me that Travis Nichols and his colleagues at The Poetry Foundation might actually feel this sort of dialogue is an improvement over what was happening on Blog:Harriet last summer. Indeed, there’s even a regular from Pw.org ‘Speakeasy’ on Blog:Harriet now, and she’s obviously feeling right at home. And what an irony for me that is, as I had such hopes for Blog:Harriet last May and June, thinking that it could actually break the little homey circle that so be-devilled Pw.org, with its handful of lonely and out-of-sorts people sharing recipes and knee-jerks shepherded by a nanny moderator. I felt Harriet was not only focussing on the issues but drawing almost by force of will an uplifting style out of everyone who came there. I really thought a new sort of poetry community was taking off.

    And now it’s thump, back to earth, and another expense of spirit in a waste partly of shame, partly of blame, but mostly just plain rocking on the porch.

    Anybody got a recipe for brownies?

  2. Christopher Woodman said,

    February 6, 2010 at 4:08 am

    So here we are behind the scenes at Scarriet, so I guess we can say anything we want without being observed.

    Re. the rejected ‘Peeing Man’ image, and the whole idea of satire that’s “tasteful.”

    Oh dear.

    Indeed, the graphics on Scarriet often worry me, but then I always doubt myself on this score. Like the friend who told us she was put off by the peeing man, I too found it shocking, but not in a moral but an aesthetic way — to choose the wrong word and reveal all my prejudices! Yes, the ‘Peeing Man’ was ugly, I felt, unnecessarily in your face, kitschy, clichéd, intellectually embarrassing.

    But then, you see, I’m from such a different world and epoch. I don’t like any sort of satire that’s over-the-top — unless it’s either really, really clever or really, really far-fetched — like so bloody awful it makes you just as sick with laughter as it makes you sick to your stomach — and of course makes you rethink everything you believe in. Like Swift does. And not just A Modest Proposal either, but all that insane rolling about in the bodily functions he does in Gulliver’s Travels.

    In other words, NOT like Benny Hill — whom I always found funny simply because he was so English (and I hate the English as much as Desmond does, of course I do), but then I was laughing at Benny Hill and his whole repressed culture, not laughing with him (Philip Larkin is a genius at the same fescennine humor, of course, and also just as English, but I love him. Get that and you may be able to understand the difference, and if you do, let me know.).

    Or like I always detested Jerry Lewis while I was an American teenager at a ‘Public School’ in England. I found him so “American,” — and I thought “adolescent,” fit only for “College kids” (but it is such an awful expression!) or “Frat” culture like Animal House (later, but what an indictment!).

    [And I know very well here how I’m blowing my cover…]

    So initially I would have preferred for this thread a photo of a polluted stream something like the above — with a little global warming undercurrent thrown in, a twist that had to get you really thinking. Because the peeing man is so grotesquely large (the body, the hair, the red-neck look), and with such a pathetically small dick.

    But looking back on it, I think what we’ve got now is even more shocking, and even more over-the-top. With the first one you just saw an ugly man peeing in a clear stream, o.k. — now it’s about Harriet wrecking the planet!


    What I really liked was the stark Colt combined with the six red slugs and the thumb that illustrated the TENETS OF FAITH article. That worked really well for me, and I was excited to see it again when it recently got rediscovered by some visitors.


    My feeling is that Scarriet has to be more careful now, more subtle. We’re beyond the stage of just protest, and now we have to work more on our real and enduring message. And that means that we have to stop making points that are just reactions — we have to be sure about what we actually mean as well, what we actually want to show and tell, indeed, what we stand for.

    In other words, we have to start putting things together more, not just taking them apart.


    I worked VERY hard on my comment to Mike Young re. his “moves” article, an interesting example. Initially my own comment in reply was just confrontational and insulting, and then I worked on it until I felt it was encouraging and constructive as well. In the end I achieved that balance by finding the image of “the rag and bone shopping-mall of the heart” — which in a sense celebrated what Mike Young was doing while at the same time questioning it.

    I’d love for visitors to feel that that’s what we do on Scarriet.


    P.S. I’d also love The Poetry Foundation to wake up and realize that discussions like this are invaluable. I got banned specifically from Blog:Harriet for questioning it’s values, but how can you write about poetry without challenging the discourse that evaluates it?

    Come on, Don Share, tell me? Or Cathy Halley?

  3. thomasbrady said,

    February 6, 2010 at 3:10 pm


    We don’t need to have conversations with these people.

    Don Share. pffft. He links to things. Anyone can do that. Read Silliman’s blog if you want link-heaven. There’s a place for that, sure. It’s a great resource. I don’t want to underestimate it at all. But let’s not confuse that sort of thing with the Ideal Muse itself.

    We are the Ideal Muse. We don’t need anyone else.

    We’ve won.

    Scarriet doesn’t need more conversatons and comment streams. We are the goal, not the path. Harriet will always be a path. We’re the mountaintop.

    My advice is…

    Don’t look down.