Wednesday, September 26, 2007

If You Think There's Honor In Poetry

read what Seth Abramson and Quincy Lehr have taken the time to write about Heather McHugh and Joesph Salemi. Then tell them both "Thank you." What a heart-breaking, myth-busting, gut-sickening confirmation of everything you've already suspected about the poetry world!!

Seth Abramson


Quincy Lehr

When you're done reading, ask me why I no longer care to submit poetry to anywhere or anyone.

Tell me if you're still comfortable doing it yourself.

Why do we tolerate this sort of crap in poetry? Would sports fans turn a blind eye if Bill Belichick suddenly pulled Tom Brady out of the QB position and stuck his recently-graduated-from-high-school nephew in the Super Bowl? Would we tolerate a member of the Nobel Peace Prize Committee awarding himself the prize? When President Bush consistantly appoints no one but his best friends and highest campaign contributors to high places, tell me, honestly, what is it that even his die-hard supporters understand explicitly?

I'll tell you what I think - I think that President Bush and his Republican cronies have nothing on The Live Poet's Society. Nothing at all.


Julie Carter said...

That thread Salemi participated in makes me ill. The McHugh thing is so much the same old shit that I'm baffled so many people still think publishing credits are worth anything. Gah.

Lo said...

The thing that amazes me is that Mr. Salemi (without even trying, apparently) hurt his own reputation so much more severely than anyone else in that entire thread could have managed to do.

That's no small feat - even an illiterate writer couldn't have managed to look any stupider - nor could even the rankest beginning amateur wanna-be poet have managed to dig his own grave any quicker, any deeper or any more thoroughly.

Oh, the horror...the horror.

Rob said...

I got bored reading the Salemi thread. Maybe it gets better later on. Clearly, it's a case of strict form first, poem second, for him.

As far as Best American Poetry goes, my opinion is that corruption exists in the poetry world as much as in any other sphere of activity. But not every publisher is corrupt. Let's get this in proportion. Many publishers are good, honest, skilful poetry enthusiasts who want to publish the best stuff possible. Gerry Cambridge at The Dark Horse is one example of a publisher you could send poems to and get a fair reading, irrespective of how well (or otherwise) he knows you. Mike Stocks at Anon is another, as he doesn't even know who he's reading. And there are many more, including (I'm quite sure) in the USA.

Lo said...
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Lo said...

You're right, Rob. There are good honest editors in Poetry. I'm not acquainted with either of those you mention but I do know several others who've always been kind, honest, helpful and totally above-board. Harvey Stanbough, (formerly of TRR) Michael Burch, (Hypertexts) (although I have to admit, I'm a bit taken aback by the recent appearance of the angels) Anna Evans, ( The Barefoot Muse) and Kate Benedict (Umbrella) come to mind in the U.S. as does Mike Loveday (Fourteen) in England.

It's just that it's such a small community and the stakes are so low and there's so little fame and fortune involved that it distresses me that there's still so much unnecessary backstabbing and blatant favoritism which routinely takes place.

I'm tired of the whole thing.

It's not even fun anymore.

As for the Salemi thread - read the whole thing - it's not even about poetry, formal or otherwise -it's about personality and hatred and ego.

If it was about the poetry, I could understand it. Hell, if it was about the poetry I could even accept it.

Rob said...

OK, I'll read the Salemi thread tomorrow.

But it's best to ignore these morons who imagine they are important. Salemi is important only in his own goldfish bowl.

But check out The Dark Horse. It's a Scottish/USA collaboration of a magazine, and it favours quality formal poetry. And I really mean quality. Slant rhyme notwithstanding (heh). You can send poems to a USA address as well as a Scottish one.

Check it out at:

Lo said...

Thanks, Rob. I'll check it out. I've been aware of the magazine itself, I've just never submitted anything. I think the "quality" thing stops me.

I'm more one of those "not quite ready for prime time" poets. Words like "quality" always scare me off.

Julie said...

No, not every publisher is corrupt, but enough are that "publication" in and of itself (the way that Salemi attempts to use it in that thread) is a laughable metric for quality.

And I'll admit, I'm probably just as pissed that my poem had a typo in an end rhyme. Grr.

Lo said...

I can't blame you for being angry, Julie. I'd be angry, too. ESPECIALLY with the typo being part of the rhyme pattern. Ugh!

I'll also say this much about TRR - I've had several poems published in that particular magazine when Harvey Stanbrough was still the editor and there was never a typo or a misprint to be found anywhere in the entire publication. The publisher of the magazine, John Oelfke, is still the same and I have big trouble thinking it's his fault that the errors occurred. He's a very fine gentleman, and has always shown the utmost concern for the quality of his magazine.

Since the only change in the publication of the magazine has been the editor then I'd tend to think that the printer and the publisher are still be doing their jobs the same as in the past - which has always been excellently.

It's not proof positive where the blame lies, but it does certainly suggest something.