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Author Topic: I'm talking Foetry  (Read 27820 times)
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alan
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« Reply #15 on: May 31, 2005, 12:37:15 PM »

Thanks Folks,

I just want to be clear that I'm not looking for credit (while it is kind of you).  I believe we are collectively bringing about change.  Two Iowa attendees (yes, both Casteen and Genoways attended Iowa) aren't going to hijack this discussion and make it their own, though.  I won't let them do that now.  Casteen logged in again a few minutes ago -- I'm sure to check out this discussion.  He retrieved the private message I sent him earlier today asking for "the courtesy of a response."

So Ted, John, we know you're here.  I suggest that if you have something to say, that you come here and say it.  You can say this site is reprehensible.  You can say, "Foetry's charges are leveled carelessly and with no acceptable standards of proof; its methods are wrongheaded and dangerous."

Give us examples.  I am willing to say that, on the main pages of this site, the charges (and lack thereof) are too conservative.  I think there's a lot more monkey business going on than has been documented here.  A few mistakes have been made and corrected, but the cumulative  number is fewer than that in a single edition of the New York Times or other comparable newspaper.
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"You especially have to be hurt like hell before you can write seriously. But when you get the damned hurt, use it -- don't cheat with it.” -- Ernest Hemingway
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Alan Cordle
N. Joy Vey
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« Reply #16 on: May 31, 2005, 01:45:49 PM »

Alan,

I am enormously grateful for the  spirit and labor you have devoted to this site.

I am grateful to the many, many unknown librarians and library workers who create and develop public communal spaces...

Librarians have been maligned for too long!  

United We Read...

Nepotism is for emperors.  Nepoetism  is a virus.  Anti-virals are here;
we can use them judiciously.

Forwards ever!  Backwards, Never! (Anyone remember which country the US invaded in '83).
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Kimon Nicolaides
Monday Love
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« Reply #17 on: May 31, 2005, 10:52:58 PM »

We, TED!  and JOHN!  in the pages of the Chronicle of Higher Education!! do hereby announce our desire to reform poetry contests, and ask for guidelines to be established by a committee of leading poetry organizations!!  We, TED! and JOHN! strongly recommend these steps be taken.  I, JOHN CASTEEN IV, do strongly recommend this!!!   And I, too, TED GENOWAYS, do strongly recommend this!!!

We are STRONG!!!!  We are JOHN--and TED!!!!  

We have watched TOO LONG, me, JOHN! and me!  TED!  the injustice, the unfairness, the sorry nature of these poetry contests!

Listen to me, JOHN!  and listen to me, TED!  We blush! We burn!  We weep!  We urge reform and we urge this reform IMMEDIATELY!!!

We also wish to say a word or two about Foetry.com.  OH! a recent plague has arisen! It threatens our wives and daughters!!   It distracts everyone from the MERITS of poetry written today in this great land of ours.   Think of it, people!   The great poems--ignored! and forgotten! because of FOETRY.COM!!  Oh, what kind of people are we, what kind of community are we, what kind of poets are we?? That we would spend even one minute reading this pornographic EVIL?Huh   It explores, in great detail, the private lives of poets and editors and publishers!!!  Oh, the foul horror!  It once or twice referred to Jorie Graham's length of tress!  It had the audacity to say that this poet was a friend of this poet!!!  How can we tolerate this???  I, TED!!! and I, JOHN!!!! ask you from the bottom of our HEARTS--DO SOMETHING!!

STOP THIS EVIL MENACE!!!!

CRUSH the EVIL SNAKE-- FOETRY.COM!!!  

Thank you!  Yea, thanks.  

Yea, thanks a lot, everyone.

I'm TED GENOWAYS.  Yea, and  I'm JOHN CASTEEN IV.

Uni-vers-teee of ol' Vir-gin-eeeeee.   Don't mess us with us!

Yea, don't mess with us.

Yea don't mess with us okay?

Bye.

Okay. Yea.  bye.
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alan
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« Reply #18 on: June 01, 2005, 09:35:57 PM »

:cry:

I have only been on this site 25 times in the last 25 hours.  The things you say about me, Monday Love, are mean!  You are mean!

My daddy is the president of Lorna Snootbat University and I'm telling.  I'm telling on you, Monday Love!


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"You especially have to be hurt like hell before you can write seriously. But when you get the damned hurt, use it -- don't cheat with it.” -- Ernest Hemingway
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Alan Cordle
alan
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« Reply #19 on: June 02, 2005, 05:23:17 AM »

And after I tell everyone at Lorna Snootbat U., then I'm calling the Death Star!  Then you'll be sorry!

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"You especially have to be hurt like hell before you can write seriously. But when you get the damned hurt, use it -- don't cheat with it.” -- Ernest Hemingway
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Alan Cordle
mirsk
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« Reply #20 on: June 02, 2005, 09:44:21 PM »

Somehow, though I obsessively log on to this site, I missed this announcement and the thoroughly slimey VQ statements about foetry. Renata is right; missblue is right, alan is right, we are right...
I am uncharacteristically speechless considering how anyone could ask, without breaking down in laughter, how a site like foetry could possibly come about in this nice civilized realm of creative people (for which read, presumably, people without morality who prefer not to think about the consequences of life without ethical considerations). Aren't there workshops in ethics? Perhaps a quick course in ethics and philosophy should be added to whatever requirements there are for receiving an MFA...(and this from a homeschooler. Obviously I am emotionally rattled. Fury.)
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alan
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« Reply #21 on: June 02, 2005, 10:09:02 PM »

Quote
The Bush administration continues its sharp criticism of Amnesty International. The latest salvo came from Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld Wednesday. The group compared U.S. treatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay to conditions at a Soviet-era prison camp. Rumsfeld called the charge "reprehensible."


Quote
. . . we need to carefully consider how we arrived, as a culture of creative people, at a moment in which a Web site as reprehensible as Foetry would find an audience at all.


Analogy Practice Pop Quiz!

Amnesty International is to Foetry as Rumsfeld is to . . .










John Casteen IV and Ted Genoways.
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"You especially have to be hurt like hell before you can write seriously. But when you get the damned hurt, use it -- don't cheat with it.” -- Ernest Hemingway
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Alan Cordle
poetry snark
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« Reply #22 on: June 03, 2005, 02:06:34 AM »

Poetry Snark is covering this little story, in case you all are interested. Come on over and check it out: http://poetrysnark.blogspot.com/

Here's an excerpt:

"A far better question than why Foetry is widely read is why officially-sanctioned academic outlets like the Chronicle are only now acknowledging the stench that's been under their noses. Maybe if organizations like A.W.P. and the Chronicle of Higher Education had been doing their job in the first place, Foetry wouldn't have gained the audience that so astonishes these two writers."
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alan
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« Reply #23 on: June 03, 2005, 09:15:36 AM »

Despite being called a self-pitying whiner, I love the P-Snark!  I love it!  

 :lol:
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"You especially have to be hurt like hell before you can write seriously. But when you get the damned hurt, use it -- don't cheat with it.” -- Ernest Hemingway
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Alan Cordle
missblue
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« Reply #24 on: June 03, 2005, 10:19:26 AM »

That Snark is the shizit.  That's the best website I've been on in a while.  I like the way snark gives Adam Hardin the back of his hand.  The photos are freaking hilarious.
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mwb
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« Reply #25 on: June 03, 2005, 10:23:54 AM »

Quote from: "alan"
Quote
The Bush administration continues its sharp criticism of Amnesty International. The latest salvo came from Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld Wednesday. The group compared U.S. treatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay to conditions at a Soviet-era prison camp. Rumsfeld called the charge "reprehensible."


Quote
. . . we need to carefully consider how we arrived, as a culture of creative people, at a moment in which a Web site as reprehensible as Foetry would find an audience at all.



Well from both contexts it is clear that reprehensible is now a good thing.  So at least in some small way I'm ahead of the curve.  
 :wink:
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 Michael
saint eyebeat
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« Reply #26 on: June 04, 2005, 08:17:08 PM »

Someone here spoke of a subtext to the questions asked Alan. Regarding that and other flame wars surrounding the legitimate issues Foetry was created to discuss, it seems to me that the overall logic of what Foetry has requested in terms of transparency and clear guidelines are so unassailable that the "anti-foets" rely on the too common cheap political strategy of attacking the messenger.

The messenger might be Alan or it might be a severely constipated 3-toed sloth. Either one, it doesn't matter. What matters is that individuals and organizations conducted "contests" in an unprofessional and, perhaps, criminal manner. That's the past. These folks need to move forward and concentrate on putting in place a system of checks and balances to assure reader and writer that protocols guaranteeing fair play will be followed in all future contests. However, it seems they don't want to do that without finding a way to shift the blame. That's stupid. That's illogical and that's the type of reasoning that put these academics in the shameful position of tap dancing a jig to defend themselves.

Looking at the "rules" of these contests, I wonder if they might not be considered sweepstakes. After all, you enter, and you win a prize. As such, under the laws of most states, it is illegal for the entity running the sweepstakes to request an entry fee. I believe such a fee makes the contest gambling and, thus, illegal. Does anyone know how they get around this?

Thanks,

Saint Eyebeat
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Monday Love
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« Reply #27 on: June 05, 2005, 12:03:54 PM »

Quote from: "saint eyebeat"
Someone here spoke of a subtext to the questions asked Alan. Regarding that and other flame wars surrounding the legitimate issues Foetry was created to discuss, it seems to me that the overall logic of what Foetry has requested in terms of transparency and clear guidelines are so unassailable that the "anti-foets" rely on the too common cheap political strategy of attacking the messenger.

The messenger might be Alan or it might be a severely constipated 3-toed sloth. Either one, it doesn't matter. What matters is that individuals and organizations conducted "contests" in an unprofessional and, perhaps, criminal manner. That's the past. These folks need to move forward and concentrate on putting in place a system of checks and balances to assure reader and writer that protocols guaranteeing fair play will be followed in all future contests. However, it seems they don't want to do that without finding a way to shift the blame. That's stupid. That's illogical and that's the type of reasoning that put these academics in the shameful position of tap dancing a jig to defend themselves.

Looking at the "rules" of these contests, I wonder if they might not be considered sweepstakes. After all, you enter, and you win a prize. As such, under the laws of most states, it is illegal for the entity running the sweepstakes to request an entry fee. I believe such a fee makes the contest gambling and, thus, illegal. Does anyone know how they get around this?

Thanks,

Saint Eyebeat


Eyebeat,

That's a good question.   I think the 'entry fee' is called a 'reading fee' or 'administrative fee.'  It takes a great deal of time (supposedly) to read all the manuscripts, and 'expert judgment' costs money as well.   I would guess that's how they get around the 'no entry fee for sweepstakes' rule.  

However, if it were determined that winners of these contests were either unfairly chosen in the corrupt manner Foetry asserts, or, that winners were chosen in what amounts to random selection, as in a sweepstakes, and not by 'expertise,' and most of the 'administrative work' were done by unpaid interns and graduate student volunteers at little or no cost to the contest, perhaps the sweepstakes rule should apply.

I'm not a lawyer, so I don't know.  Anyone?

Oh, and when you used the term "anti-foets" did you mean "anti-anti-foets?"  I know it can get confusing.

Monday
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mojo
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« Reply #28 on: June 05, 2005, 09:36:12 PM »

Alan, I admire the guts with which you're taking on the poetry establishment (am I correct that you're not an active poet?—that makes it somehow easier and more admirable.  Perhaps you have less to lose by offending the status quoticians.)

Nonetheless, the arts have always been about cronyism.  Like life itself.  How did Michaelangelo or Auden or the Bloomsbury group make it otherwise?  In fact, one could argue that these kinds of "schools," which protect and support their own, in fact generate compelling bodies of literature as a collective enterprise. We think in terms of these collectives even now: the Beats all knew each other, the Abstract Expressionists, Dave Egger's current coterie.

In my own field, architecture, a book was published a few years ago called "The Favored Circle."  It essentially breaks down the entire history of architecture as a string of more or less direct relationships: one architect hands his (too few hers, unfortunately) down to the next.  

The result has been that architects spend most of their early years trying to study with and work for the so-called greats.  And the experience ends up being rewarding—though often the people who don't work for the greats disappear into obscurity.   Is it fair?  I don't know.  But people trust what they're told.  If an established writer/artist/architect says, "check this person out," people do.  And sometimes even the established writer/artist doesn't know what's good. They go on hunches and connections.

I'm not trying to be an apologist for what's going on in the poetry world (I've entered two of these contests in the last couple of years and predictably, for all the reasons you outline here, didn't win.)  However, I don't feel bitter about that, or believe I've somehow been shortchanged.  If I were really serious about poetry, I suppose I'd go to great lengths to work through the system.  

But it's nonetheless good that someone's fighting to make the system more fair.
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« Reply #29 on: June 06, 2005, 12:21:30 PM »

There have always been schools that hung together, looked out for each other, etc. But when you talk about architecture you are talking about a real economy. You rise and fall, make money or don't make money based on the quality fo your architectural work and how well you do in the community. So even though there are relationships what really supports the enterprise is the selling of services. Mediocre architects who hang together will go broke. Same held with certain schools of artists in the 15th century when they had guilds or patrons. If you hung together and did work no one wanted the relationships didn't last long.

My argment has been that what we are talking about here with poetry/Foetry is an invented economy and invented reputations. Take the NEA money away, take the university money away and take the state arts and Lannan and McArthur money away and suddenly you have a 100 books a being published instead of 10 zillion. The economy is not real. What is real now is the new above ground economy created by the prize contests. A million dollars flowing to support poery. The only problem is that no one still buys the stuff.

And along with that goes the invented reputation of writers. If Tessa Rumsey is secretly seleceted at Georgia by a former Iowa teacher (we know now) and then by Graham at Barnard (two prizes she should not have been eligble for) then of course not knowing the connections you have an invented reputation. Same goes for a lot of younger poets who have been slected by former teachers for prizes and may or may not have any reputation at all in twenty years.

So I think you have to look at all of this with the invented economy/invented reputation thing in mind.
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