IMITATION IS FLATTERY — COPYING IS PATHETIC.

As everybody who’s interested in poetry  knows, The Poetry Foundation has banned me, Alan Cordle, along with Christopher Woodman, Thomas Brady, Desmond Swords, and who knows how many others.  So it seems odd that staffers there incessantly and obsessively read this blog and our side projects.

Granted, they seem to be out of ideas and desperately unable to encourage dialogue, and the statistics are certainly painful.  It’s no wonder they’re now “borrowing” from Scarriet.  And by borrowing, I mean “stealing.”

On December 8, 2009, The Poetry Foundation published the following article by Abigail Deutsch:


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This would have been fine if Scarriet’s Thomas Brady had not published a post entitled The Good Bad Poem just 10 days earlier.

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“This is no coincidence,” Thomas Brady tells me.

“My article originated because I happened to take an old book out of the library, it wasn’t from any current event . . . Abigail got her idea from Scarriet. Well, well, well. I’ve commented on it just now on ‘The Good Bad Poem’ on Scarriet.”

New Year’s Resolution for The Poetry Foundation and Harriet: stop preying on the intellectual property of Scarriet. After all, some organizations make plagiarists walk the plank.

Others just vaporize the opposition!

Alan Cordle

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HELEN VENDLER AS DR. PHIL: THE CRITICISM OF EMPATHY AND SUCK-UP

THE MERCHANDIZING OF POETIC GENIUS

GENIUS 2 Grab copyClick here to go on reading this fine article. Like all Abigail Deutsch’s contributions to Blog:Harriet, you’ll find it skillfully written, fun and thought-provoking, and I wish I could comment.

So we all know the history, we all know how the Industrial Revolution led to the invention of the Artist, and how Art came to be regarded as superior to Trade. We all know why the Artist then chose to starve in the attic, the advantages of that, the creative clout of being ‘alternative,’ and we all know what Leo and Gertrude Stein then did with that on the Art Market in Paris. We also all know how the same take-over took place in the Poetry Market in America about the same time, how American Poetry became a viable business masquerading as a higher calling, how the writing and teaching of Poetry emerged as a sinecure after the War, and why as a result poetry is no longer read by anyone at all. What we don’t seem to notice is how we’ve also commercialized the mental faculties involved in writing that poetry. We’ve so sold ourselves a bill of goods and actually believe those faculties are something called ‘Genius,’ whereas they are just quite ordinary skills, how to cut, how to paste, and how to market. And chutzpah, of course, lots of that, and sometimes that’s truly entertaining. But not poetry, unless you mean like Sarah Palin’s wardrobe is pure poetry, or even Miss Venezuela!

Do you think that might get talked about on Blog:Harriet, or just the daimon and the primitive vision that have become so respectable? Keats actually did have the daimon and the vision, in abundance — but how much talk was there about that in response to what Abigail Deutsch and others said on Keats Lives about Jane Campion’s new film ?

And oh yes,  do you think John Keats would have won the MacArthur?

Christopher Woodman

IF YOU’RE JOHN KEATS YOU’RE NOT SAFE HERE

Keats by Tom Title

Keats Comment

Tom, Harriets, Everybody,

We’re also dying from the inability of poetry people in America today to believe in anything, to take a position like Keats did and then to cry out in disbelief and sorrow when nobody is moved or, much, much worse, there’s silence. Like the comments on the “Keats Lives” thread on Blog:Harriet — such wonderful material, crying out for commitment, and nobody in the whole community dares! Except our champion, Eileen Myles, of course, who despite all her toughness always wears her heart right on her sleeve. And I love that about her, and although I don’t always get excited by what excites her, I always get excited by what she stands for and the way she shows it!

Eileen BW

So what am I referring to specifically?  Eileen Myles most recent comment on Abigail Deutsch’s  “Keats Lives (for a while).” Wow!

Eileen on Keats

What I hear in this post is a huge cri du coeur, because Eileen is so fierce and articulate she can say anything, yet she’s not been posting real comments for weeks, and she used to be so involved. I think she just got fed up with all the adolescent posturing, the effete throwing up just a little in your mouth, the bon mots and the martinis. Because of all the Contributing Writers on Blog:Harriet, Eileen is, of course, the one who has attracted the most DISLIKE votes, can you imagine — indeed, there were a number of her comments that were actually shut down during the discussion on  “Post on the Post” (164 comments) and “Political Economy” (227 comments)!  On occasion you actually had to click on “click to show comment” to read Eileen Myles!

That was the worst of it, but I also think it was extremely inconsiderate to Eileen that some of the posters most engaged with her got shut down too, including Eliot Weinberger, Bill Knott, John, Kent Johnson, Dermot, Thomas Brady and myself, so that she had to “click to show comment” to read her own correspondence, so to speak. (The threads have been cleaned up radically since then, but many of you will remember the mess.)

Now that’s a huge embarassment for Harriet, to have an honored writer so mucked about with. It’s also a stain on The Poetry Foundation of America to let it happen, and I do hope the management is reading this (I’m happy to say we have a huge number of visitors on the site).

In fact, I count Eileen as an ally in our struggle against what’s happening on Harriet, and she’s a big hitter like Ireland’s Desmond Swords and the Red Sox’s Thomas Brady, and although I have no personal contact with her I feel sure she is following. And her little post, just 18 words, after all, cries out for a reply like the kind I would have written. Yes, had I still been on Harriet I would have written up such a storm in response, you have no idea. And that’s what would have annoyed Travis, Nick, Noah Freed and the other male regulars so much they would have howled for my banishment just like they did on Joel Brouwer’s  “Keep the Spot Sore” (then I was writing about ROBINSON JEFFERS!)

But of course, I wouldn’t have written up a storm against Harriet or Travis or the Like/Dislike thing, or anything like that. I mean, if I were still with you I would never have been banished, so I wouldn’t have needed to defend myself at all. I would be normal, in other words, I would be part of your community, one of your voices, Yes, I would still be older, and yes, still further away from any coffee shop or blackboard. What else? I would be unique in that I haven’t got a single invitation to a Poetry Reading or an Opening in my pocket diary, and don’t even own a pocket diary for that matter!

Out of respect for my friend Eileen I’ll put my face where my mouth is too:

Christopher2_2

And you still want to know what this guy would have said in response to Eileen’s little cri du coeur against tight-assed death in poetry? Read Abigail Deutsch’s original good article, read all those blurbs and the golden copy, look at the wonderful young actor in the photo and think of Jane Campion (!!!) — then read what Eileen says in just 18 words. And if you still feel blocked, go take a hot shower, stamp on your hat, eat something inorganic, do anything that makes you less tight-assed yourself!

After that, like Gary just go for it!

Christopher Woodman

More Keats with No Heart, No Risk, No Fancy!

LISTEN!

So much lost on Blog:Harriet! When I read the new article about the Keats film with all those seductive reviews and then saw virtually no replies, I was staggered. I mean, how could this have happened? Because it’s such a wonderful article, Abigail Deutsch’s, a sheer delight including the illustration, but where are the souls that can rise to it? Why the stilted silence?

How much I learned during my 3 months on Blog:Harriet, and oh, how grateful I was to be part of such a diverse, passionate, unselfconscious community. And look at it now? A pale shadow — just chickens pecking in the dust, and of course keeping not too far away for fear of foxes, big RED ones! Nobody dares to dance anymore, nobody dares take chances.

How I loved Annie Finch’s contributions, for example, and how they flew.  109 comments she got after “Why I Am a Woman Poet” —  CLICK HERE and your heart too will be broken.

Yes, there is Terreson’s comment after Abigail Deutsch’s article, but he’s just repeating things he’s said a hundred times before. Earlier on Harriet he was much better. Go to “Why I Am a Woman Poet” and see how he could write when he wasn’t trying so hard to sound professional. Indeed, click here for Tere’s longest post on the “Woman Poet” thread, 792 words, if you can believe it — of course a distant second to dear Desmond Swords who hit almost 2000.

Here’s what Desmond said right at the end, and needless to say, there weren’t any grumbles!

“The post contains no satire or smart-assery, but picks up on Terreson’s comment on Eisler, because this theory of a 50/50 Poetic is something which all my learning has led to and this post is merely my latest try at clarifying what is essentially one of the central planks to a Phd equivalent of my own bardic brand which culminates at grade seven ollamh (poetry professor), which i have another 4 years to go before finding out if i got there or not.”

And then I did my best to rise to all of that as did we all. Here’s what I said, and it hurts to read it again because now I’m not allowed to write on Harriet at all!

Christopher Woodman

Another Great Keats and Even Then No Replies!

ABIGAIL DEUTSCH

Keats lives! (for a while)

John Keats Bright Star poetry

Poor fellow! His was an untoward fate:—
‘Tis strange the mind, that very fiery particle,
Should let itself be snuffed out by an Article.

—Lord Byron

Keats didn’t actually die because of a bad review. But if he had, how would he feel now that Bright Star, Jane Campion’s film about him, is garnering so much positive press? 09.18.09

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Now this is a very fine article just posted on Blog:Harriet. If you would like to read the rest of it click here. If you’d also like to read the unlikely comments click here. If you’d like to comment on a comment with impunity (no Red Thumbs, no Poetry Board intolerance)  you can post it just below.

And don’t worry either, if you say something especially beautiful Gary B. Fitzgerald can still post a poem here, and you might even get to share a few pints with Desmond Swords or a billet doux with Thomas Brady. On the other hand, if you say something that annoys Travis, Nick, Noah, or John Oliver Simon,  you won’t be Voted Down or be put on “awaiting moderation.” I mean,  even if you say something really nasty about Chicago you won’t get Deleted, even if it’s “curate!”