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Author Topic: Grad Students as Screeners?  (Read 22950 times)
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Maria Wyeth
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« Reply #30 on: May 31, 2006, 04:08:56 PM »

Quote from: "alan"
Sorry to post this publicly, but I think you missed the private message I sent to you yesterday, Maria.  The link to private messages is posted at the top of this page.

Another person I sent one to over a week ago just noticed his, so everyone, look at the very top of this page and see if you have a message waiting.

Thanks all!

Al :heart:


Thanks for pointing this out, Alan; I hadn't noticed and had three really pleasant messages.

Best to all.
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Matt
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« Reply #31 on: May 31, 2006, 04:51:29 PM »

Quote from: "Maria Wyeth"
I don't have any prejudice about anyone here.  I think comments about seeing a poet naked at the gym are distasteful.  As an example.


I don't remember the comment in question or the context . . . but (at least judging from the way you portray it), I would agree that the comment is irrelevant to any discussion here.  But such comments (they are normally jokes, I think) are not at all representative of the forum conversations in my experience (or possibly, I just avoid those threads).

We don't do much (if any) editing here.  It's true that sometimes people post wild, ridiculous, and offensive things . . . as is their right (unless they are violating a law).  We are not responsible for everything that's said.  It's an open forum that anyone can speak out in.

I can only recommend that you either ignore distasteful posts or take the specific poster to task (at your own risk, of course).

Quote from: "Maria Wyeth"
I think an elitist rhetoric is perhaps inevitable when talking about poetry in 2006.


I don't follow . . . and I'm inclined to disagree.  Elitist rhetoric in any situation is destructive to communication because it places the speaker and the listener on different value levels.  Thus, its inherent offense.

Quote from: "Maria Wyeth"
Becuse my definition of 'success' as a poet is probably much more akin to people posting here than it is to the poetry business in general.  Nonetheless, there has to be some kind of language used, even if it's not as precise as I would like.  Plenty of 'successful' poets write terrible or mediocre books.  I think there are plenty of fabulous books that have not yet seen the light of day.  But I must say, in the 3000 or so manuscripts I read as a screener, most of it was pretty bad.  Probably seventy per cent.  And 'successful' poets were among that seventy per cent, many of them.

If saying this makes you think I'm elitist, or 'falling into elitist rhetoric,' there's nothing I can do about it.

Not everyone can write poetry well.  Not everyone can play tennis well.  Very few women can be models.  I will never be six feet tall, thin, with great bones.  Or young again. That doesn't make Eileen Ford an elitist by pointing that out were I to send her a portfolio of photographs.


This is not what I mean at all by elitist rhetoric.  It has nothing to do with success or claims of success.  It merely expresses a subtext that belittles specific others.  The members at Foetry have heard a great deal of such rhetoric, and they may be more attuned and sensitive to it than most folks.

Saying that most poets are talentless (or lack talent) does not, in my book, qualify you as elitist.  If you have found 70% of the poetry you've screened bad, I wouldn't be surprised if many of the Foetry.com members (myself included) would find an even higher percentage bad.  This is a very critical community.  In fact, it's hard to be a fan of any poet in this community without getting lambasted for it by someone.

I find it a bit too harsh at times, but I still prefer it to other cheerleading, non-critical poetry groups I've encountered.

I know you don't want to own up to misunderstanding the nature of the forum here in any way (or at least your distinct tendency to parry and parry again would make it seem so), but the quote from you above very accurately signifies what I have been trying to say in this regard.

Namely, that you would assume that anyone here would associate success at publication with elitism.  Certainly, nothing in my posts had even come close to suggesting this.  This strikes me as a plain misconception . . . and your attempt to apply it not only to me (who I think was the only one to use the word "elitist") but to the community as a whole demonstrates that you are making assumptions and generalizations that aren't based in actual data, but in preconception.

Since your preconceptions and assumption tend to resonate with a bit of defamation, I'm inclined to think that some sort of prejudice or "elitist rhetoric" may be at play.  I'm not saying, "For Shame, Maria!"  But I'm noting it as an unnecessary obstacle to communication here.

Quote from: "Maria Wyeth"
I find nothing threatening here.  (Talk about being condescending!)


I'm glad to hear that, and I apologize if you take my words as condescending (I guess that's what I meant by "threatening"), but I have had very similar conversations with at least half a dozen other poets who stopped by the forums and said almost exactly the same things that you have said.  These poets also described themselves as at least somewhat successful (as contest winners) and as "professionals".  They made the same assumptions about the member community here that you have, and I also challenged their rhetoric.

So far, you have stayed around to reply longer than any of them.  They all left in a huff with their noses in the air and no willingness whatsoever to engage with the community here (i.e., they felt threatened by having their rhetoric challenged).  I respect you for your willingness to stay and talk.  Maybe my tendency to argue strikes you as impolite.  I'm sorry if that's the case, and I can only assure you that it is intended as a sign of respect.

If I had no respect for you, I would ignore you . . . which I have no intention of doing.  But I admit to being overly fond of debate and argument.  It has gotten me into conflicts here before that I never desired (with both long-time members and belligerent passersby).  What I think of as a sense of sport is more often than not taken as aggression.  So I’m oft bitten and gradually becoming shy.

Quote from: "Maria Wyeth"
And also I'm completely unclear on what my misconceptions about Foetry are. . . .  Is there some other fundamental reason for Foetry I'm missing?  If so, please clue me in.


I believe your misconceptions have to do with the kind of people that are active members here, not about the mission of Foetry.com.  For instance, there is a good deal of diversity in our membership . . . enough that supposing there is one type of member only or addressing all the members as if they were one would be a mistake.

Quote from: "Maria Wyeth"
. . . And, overall, most people who post here seem to think you can 'succeed' only by being a suck-up or having an academic career or getting into the good graces of someone famous.


Case in point.  This is inaccurate.  It would be accurate, I think, to say that most of the members here believe TOO MANY poets have found success by sucking-up or swapping favors that have inadvertently or directly caused harm to other innocent parties.

As for a poet's ability to succeed solely on the merits of his or her own writing, I can't speak for the community, but I will say that I, personally, think it is terribly difficult for this to happen today unless the poet writes in a style that is considered conventional or is indebted to a specific established school.  Poets who lack such aesthetic affiliation DO have a very hard time of it . . . as I feel quite capable of attesting to.

It remains unclear to me whether or not an unaffiliated or dissenting poet can find approval and promotion through the PoBiz (based on artistic merit).  I have to admit that I fear it to be so unlikely as to be functionally impossible . . . but I would be happy to find my intuition to be wrong.

What I do feel quite confident about is that any such dissenting poet who has managed to land in the good graces of the PoBiz SHOULD be very easy to identify.  Why?  Because anyone who has managed to achieve this against the odds is duty-bound (in my opinion) to combat the PoBiz from within and speak out against any or all of its injustices.

What I fear is most telling about the likelihood of a talented outsider poet "making it" is that such voices either don't exist or have been effectively muzzled.

For instance, how many well-established poets have spoken out in favor of the goals of Foetry.com or with much harshness about the PoBiz.  I have too many fingers on one hand to count them all.  And I don't mean those people who speak out critically about one school of poetry, but blindly advocate their own party's dogmas (as the LangPods tend to do).

It's true that I am pessimistic.  I think the situation of contemporary American poetry is grave . . . and almost certainly past the point of reform.

But I do want to make it clear that my views on these matters tend to be radical even among Foetry members . . . and by no means should be seen to represent the "average" stance here.

Quote from: "Maria Wyeth"
So I have made the point, more than once, that that is in fact not true.  The only other person I've seen--and there may be others--who has also made this point is Alan, in discussing his wife.


The thing is that you have made your point more than once, but no one disagrees with you and therefore no one understands why you keep making the same point.

Quote from: "Maria Wyeth"
Quote from: "Matt"
This simply doesn't fly at Foetry.  Some of the people who post here have pretty credentials and some don't.  It doesn't matter.  It's all moot.  And I think that's a beautiful thing about these forums.

It is a "closed club" that requires credentials at the door.  Maybe that is the mistake you are making.  You may expect a club from a group of poets, but this just isn't one.


Help me out here.  It is a "closed club"?  It "requires credentials at the door"?  But my expecting a "club from a group of poets" is wrong?  Really I'm not following this at all.  Did you leave out a "not" or two in the above paragraph?


I apologize for the lack of clarity . . . although there was no omission in the sentence.  It may have been less distracting to have left off the "It is" and just written: "A closed club requires credentials at the door".  The "It" was referring to the "closed club" not to Foetry.  I thought this would have been apparent from the previous paragraphs.

Quote from: "Maria Wyeth"
How I write?  In a discussion forum on usenet?  That's how you evaluate people?


Absolutely.  It is a tautology, I believe.  How else can you be evaluated/perceived except by the words you use to represent yourself here?  You are nothing but these words, are you not?  Especially since you are writing under a pseudonym.

Quote from: "Maria Wyeth"
While I attempt to be articulate and polite on Foetry and on usenet, I certainly don't see my writing there as anything other than casual, dashed-off conversation.


Your opinion on this matter is pretty typical, I've found.  I happen to be an oddball in disagreeing with it (as I have disagreed with those members here who have espoused the same opinion).

My personal belief is that, to the writer, written language is/should be sacred and should always be used with consciousness and a sense of responsibility (for both text and subtext).  Most others see messageboard writing as "chatting" or more like speech.  I choose to see it more like letter writing.

I don't think anything will ever come from a dedication to casualness on such messageboards as this.  In my experience such "casualness" tends to mean prejudice, unconsciousness, lack of concern for the other, and a resistance to intimacy.  Such writing is of no interest to me whatsoever.

I continue to be surprised that, even among poets, this attitude is so rare . . . and that many of us are so inclined to be satisfied with a meaningless and non-communicative medium or so unquestioningly accept the convention of the messageboard format of (casual/spoken) language.  It seems incongruous to me that poets would not want to push any language medium farther or use any language opportunity as a chance to communicate as intimately as possible.  But, I can sometimes be quite a throwback.

Quote from: "Maria Wyeth"
No one's posting his or her poems here so so there's absolutely no way to judge how anyone writes.  You or anyone else on here may be the next Hart Crane, but I have no way of knowing that, nor do you have any way of knowing how I write.


I think my writing here is fairly representative of who I am and how I write and think.  It may not directly demonstrate the aesthetic I've used when writing poems, but it serves a parallel purpose.

Others tend to be less transparent and longwinded than me . . . and maybe this makes their writing here less representative of their poetry.  Also, I tend to have a life approach/intelligence that is more psychoanalyst than poet . . . and I have come to learn that the approach to language is typically much different between these two types.

Quote from: "Maria Wyeth"
And, quite frankly, I'm not interested in an initiation rite, having already attended junior high and rejected an academic career for that very reason.


I don't mean to be so pedantic, but all engagement between a self and an other involves a kind of initiation rite as each party evaluates the other based on the numerous indicators displayed.  The human brain notes and coordinates these perceptions, all of which contribute to informing reaction.

I didn't mean that you had to be ritually scarified to post here, merely that you and everyone else posting here have to go throw a process of earning the respect of others.  This community (as I've said) tends to be pretty critical and cautious (like prey that has to live among predators).  This is, I think, normal for a group that tolerates diversity (and, by contrast, completely unnecessary in a club).

It takes everyone a while to feel out newbies and determine whether they are genuine or trustworthy.  All I'm saying is that this shouldn't be taken for offense or hostility.  It's completely natural and ultimately harmless to anyone without hostile intentions.

Quote from: "Maria Wyeth"
I'm assuming there are many older poets on Foetry, who know these things, but that there are also some young poets who might find such things helpful.  I was trying to be gracious to Alexandra, a quality I think this site could use more of.


Any graciousness will be appreciated here.  But sometimes one brand of graciousness that works in a certain group just doesn't work as well in a different kind of group.

I agree that Alexa may have pounced too hastily, but at this point (as it does not warrant moderation of any posts), that is between you and Alexa to settle.

Quote from: "Maria Wyeth"
Discourse has grown far too coarse in this country (and I blame a lot of that on the political pundits on cable news) and people who are anonymous sometimes behave (or write) in ways they'd likely never do in real life.  So I try to be polite when I'm online, overly polite, in an attempt to get along with people, while expressing different points of view in a civilized manner.


You may be right about the descent of discourse into coarseness.  I sometimes see that, too, I guess.  But I will say this about civility and politeness: they tend to be gestures of a specific dialect, and don't always translate well to every circumstance.  Each social class and community has its own definition of manners.  It's the old Upstairs Downstairs thing.

The Foetry forums probably have more in common with working class manners than upper-class manners.

Still, I agree with you that politeness and courtesy are potentially good things and should not fall by the wayside.  But, in my opinion, the whole point of these conventions is to suggest ceremonially to an other that you and s/he are equals and that you respect and will not violate her/him.

Working class manners still abide by this content . . . but tend to include fewer affectations . . . as it is unnecessary (and even offensive) to demonstrate elite status and "good breeding" during the working class version of this ceremony.

Quote from: "Maria Wyeth"
Matt, you seem to be mistaking that for defensive behavior, which I find sad, quite frankly, not about you in particular, but about our society, particularly the online world.  At any rate, I can take on the chin as well as the next guy, so give it the best you've got.


I apologize for helping to make you feel sad about our society.  I usually manage to do this by being excessively gloomy rather than daft . . . although I do strive not to be yet another blight on the human species.

I will no longer assume any defensiveness in you.  My doing so has been the result of previous experiences with others who have expressed some of the same opinions as you . . . and those people were most definitely being defensive.

But I am beginning to understand that you are not those people.  Which means I am learning . . . and happily.

I will only allow myself this small gloat: maybe, in spite of the little sparring game we're playing, this conversation qualifies as a useful ceremony of communication.  Maybe not quite a "politeness", but surely there is some value in each of us laying another card (and another) on the table between us . . . with some skepticism, perhaps, but without hostility.

I nod, once again, to the wonder and value . . . and ceremony of language.

Yours,
Matt
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Alexandra Benjamin
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« Reply #32 on: May 31, 2006, 06:57:08 PM »

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Maria Wyeth
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« Reply #33 on: May 31, 2006, 07:29:22 PM »

Matt,

As Marx originally said (and then was ripped off by LBJ), even a blind hog can find an acorn once in a while); in other words I can see that you enjoy debate and parrying and verbal fencing.  I enjoy it, too, at times; unfortunately this isn't a point in my life where I have time for it.

Quote
 These poets also described themselves as at least somewhat successful (as contest winners) and as "professionals".  They made the same assumptions about the member community here that you have, and I also challenged their rhetoric.


OK, one thing.  I am not a professional.  Every April my husband jokes that we can't afford for me to work.

Quote
As for a poet's ability to succeed solely on the merits of his or her own writing, I can't speak for the community, but I will say that I, personally, think it is terribly difficult for this to happen today unless the poet writes in a style that is considered conventional or is indebted to a specific established school.  Poets who lack such aesthetic affiliation DO have a very hard time of it . . . as I feel quite capable of attesting to.


Well, we agree here.  I think it's hard for any poet to get published, period.

I write in no conventional style (I'm not saying it might not seem conventional); I am associated with no aesthetic movement; I've been influenced by no living poet.  At least since Elizabeth Bishop died and I was too young then for that to count.  (Hope this paragraph doesn't seem like flaunting creds; I'm not quite clear on where your line in the sand is on this particular question.)

Quote
It remains unclear to me whether or not an unaffiliated or dissenting poet can find approval and promotion through the PoBiz (based on artistic merit).  I have to admit that I fear it to be so unlikely as to be functionally impossible . . . but I would be happy to find my intuition to be wrong.


It's rare, but it happens.  I can think of three people offhand.  Not counting myself, since I'm still preoccupied about keeping my feet on the right side of the line of sand, lol.

Quote
For instance, how many well-established poets have spoken out in favor of the goals of Foetry.com or with much harshness about the PoBiz.  I have too many fingers on one hand to count them all.  And I don't mean those people who speak out critically about one school of poetry, but blindly advocate their own party's dogmas (as the LangPods tend to do).


OK, this question I can answer.  

(Although I have absolutely no idea what Language Poetry is, have never managed to comprehend it, or fail to comprehend it, if that's what one is supposed to.  But when questioned before about what it is, I go blank.  Dull thousand-yard stare.  And I have some answer at least for most questions.)

However back to the original question.  You have pointed out to me that people on Foetry are not a monolith, with the same experiences and opinions and credibility and responsibility.  They are individuals: some thoughtful and smart and good writers, and others bitter and vitriolic and adolescent, as if this were a free-for-all newsgroup, rather than a serious attempt to make necessary reforms.  I imagine well-established poets might be more willing to come out in favor of the good things Foetry has accomplished if parts of this site were less gleeful in their attacks on certain unfairly maligned poets and presses (and I'm not talking about the Iowa/Denver/Georgia triangle).  

Quote
It's true that I am pessimistic.  I think the situation of contemporary American poetry is grave . . . and almost certainly past the point of reform.


Yeah, well, the situation of American art is grave, as is the situation of American public schools; if fact,  the situation in America in general is grave.  The notion that poetry should operate with a level playing field when virtually nothing else in this country does strikes me a bit naive.  And what is a level playing field?  After a certain level of competence, judging poetry is a matter of taste.  I know WCWms is a great poet, but if put in a position of judging his poems in a group with Stevens I'd opt for Stevens every time.  That's taste; it doesn't mean Williams wasn't a genius.  

Quote
The thing is that you have made your point more than once, but no one disagrees with you and therefore no one understands why you keep making the same point.


If I've made the same point multiple times (and it can't have been that many, since I haven't posted here very much), it was in different threads in this forum.  I certainly haven't read every thread on this forum and imagine, perhaps incorrectly, that possibly other people don't either.

If someone says, "Georgia was NEVER a contest," I'm going to argue that, because I know it's not true.  Even if I'm repeating myself.

Quote

It takes everyone a while to feel out newbies and determine whether they are genuine or trustworthy.  All I'm saying is that this shouldn't be taken for offense or hostility.  It's completely natural and ultimately harmless to anyone without hostile intentions.


Well, it doesn't feel harmless to newbies without hostile intentions (which I don't have).  It feels like there's an amorphously defined party line one must follow, or you get blasted.  And hard as it may be for the regulars on Foetry to believe, newbies have big problems about trusting people here.  Not because they're hiding.  But because this is an uneven site, that has pointed out unethical situations, but also taken shots at poets and presses who don't deserve it.  I would never endorse Foetry because of that.  OTOH I do endorse the light it's thrown on some unethical behavior and am glad changes were made because of that light.

Quote
The Foetry forums probably have more in common with working class manners than upper-class manners.


Since I define manners as trying to make other people feel comfortable, while still being able to express one's opinion, I don't get the whole class consciousness you're imposing on this.  I am around working-class and upper-class and poor poor people most days of my life.  Some of them have good manners; some of them don't.  I really perceive no difference in the percentage of rude asses in any given group.  (Although, if pressed, I might give the upper middle class a slight edge on having bad manners.) I'm not talking about holding the right fork in the right way.  I'm talking about civility.

Seems to me that if language, even language used on the internet is as important to you as you say it is, a certain civility would be important (and I'm not addressing this to you, since clearly you are capable of it), because it more often than not makes for more effective communication.  If the goals of Foetry are to improve the ways in which poems are published, and to diminish, if not eliminate, unethical systems, those goals might be more readily accomplished if people coming to Foetry for the first or second or third time weren't so put off.

I mean, I found about the site by googling myself.  (I was certainly relieved to find I wasn't being blasted.)  But I do see people being blasted who don't deserve it.  If Foetry wants established poets to speak out loud in its favor, it needs to rethink its mission, now that the original mission has probably been accomplished as much as it can for now.

Couldn't this site could have more uses for poets than merely trashing contests and Jorie Graham et al?  Just a thought.  Accomplish one thing, or at least make a big difference in one thing, and move on to something else that might be helpful, while still keeping a watchful eye?

Perhaps focus more on ethical contests, receptive editors?  Welcome information from poets who have some experience in this difficult pursuit? Help establish friendships between poets offline (difficult now, because this does not seem a safe place to expose one's self, even if one is not a foet)?  Pair up older poets with young ones (and I'm not necessarily speaking chronologically here)?  I don't know--I mean it's not my site, but perhaps some of the enormous energy here could be moved into something more positive.

Quote
But I am beginning to understand that you are not those people.  Which means I am learning . . . and happily.

I will only allow myself this small gloat: maybe, in spite of the little sparring game we're playing, this conversation qualifies as a useful ceremony of communication.  Maybe not quite a "politeness", but surely there is some value in each of us laying another card (and another) on the table between us . . . with some skepticism, perhaps, but without hostility.


Politeness would be my preference, in any dealing, but "without hostility" would certainly be welcome too.

Without hostility and, I hope, politely,
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duckyd
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« Reply #34 on: May 31, 2006, 07:39:07 PM »

Not taking sides here but I feel like there's a bit of clarity lacking.  I hope this conversation doesn't dissolve into the nitpicking of minutiae.  To me, that’s when missing the big point of important conversation starts to fall apart.  If intentions are spot on, do one or two potential written missteps really matter?

As far as the discussion goes:

The “elitist” issue is an interesting one, even though it’s on a different thread, but rearing its ugly head here.  Actually Matt a definition might be really useful on the FAQ list you mention.   What I read on the other thread almost sounds like “you’re either with us or against us” rhetoric, and I am not sure that’s useful at any time.  I think we all recognize pobiz is corrupt.  I would never say it is COMPLETELY corrupt.  I can think of several name poets who continue to hold great prestige in the world of poetry, even work for universities, but will never judge a major contest because they don’t want to for whatever reason.  And they also won’t take an “apprentice” poet (I still cringe when I think about that ad for Louise Gluck and her new “apprentice” in a recent Poets & Writers).  Where do we draw the line on these poets?  They earned their place because of a lifetime of commitment to writing—good writing—which I think was Maria’s point on that other thread.  Eg, we can succeed as careerist poets if the definition of a successful career is getting a job in a university.  This can be done without plying the contest game.  Again, as I read what Maria wrote, this is what she meant.  To me, this is not elitist rhetoric, nor does it dismiss the purposefulness of foetry.com.  I have to add though, I don’t get Maria’s follow up comments.  I don’t disagree with them but they seem to digress into issues not specific to her original point.

Matt’s comment:

The issue with tone that you mentioned is largely the product of asserting and reasserting your professional qualifications while not fully engaging in the dialog here as an equal. Your tone/rhetoric suggests that you wish to hold back, to be viewed as an authority or professional, to have your rhetoric "qualified" by your creds.

 That hasn’t been my impression.

Matt again:

It is a "closed club" that requires credentials at the door. Maybe that is the mistake you are making. You may expect a club from a group of poets, but this just isn't one.

Like Maria, also don’t get this.  I thought we were a club, of sorts.  I hope the implication here is not to suggest that if I were to win a contest, even a corrupt one, that I would not be welcome at this forum.  We don’t want to say that, do we?

Maria:

I'm assuming there are many older poets on Foetry, who know these things, but that there are also some young poets who might find such things helpful.

That’s how I took it.  I say things here that I know my fellow poets already know, but then other people, obviously a bit newer to writing etc., post their “thanks I didn’t know that” so these kinds of comments are useful.
And Alan, where’s my message?  I want one too!!!!!!!

Deep Breath……

ducky
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duckyd
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« Reply #35 on: May 31, 2006, 07:51:21 PM »

It looks like you guys are coming to a kind of understanding, which is good.   Congrats to both...it's been fun reading.....

ducky
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Alexandra Benjamin
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« Reply #36 on: May 31, 2006, 08:31:22 PM »

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... And their combined reward will be no greater and no lesser than what will be won by a piece of dried turd. It's a reward beyond thought."

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Matt
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« Reply #37 on: June 01, 2006, 01:17:20 PM »

Quote from: "duckyd"
Not taking sides here but I feel like there's a bit of clarity lacking.  I hope this conversation doesn't dissolve into the nitpicking of minutiae.  To me, that’s when missing the big point of important conversation starts to fall apart.  If intentions are spot on, do one or two potential written missteps really matter?


Hi duckyd,

I apologize to you and Maria (and anyone else who feels the same way) for not being clear or giving false or misleading impressions.

I hate to belabor this issue, but it seems necessary, so I will do my best to be succinct, while also being thorough (this IS me, after all, and terms like “succinct” or “concise” are relative).

Quote
“Elitist Rhetoric”:
  • To the best of my knowledge, I am the only one on this site who has ever noted or complained about such a thing.  It cannot, therefore, be considered a Foetry "policy" or even a Foetry concern.  It's a personal hang-up.  Therefore, although your suggestion was a good one, I don’t foresee adding this to the FAQ-in-the-works.  But I will try to explain myself here.
  • My concept of elitist rhetoric is largely derived from Noam Chomsky’s writing, although I'm not certain he uses this specific term.  But it is based on an analysis of the subtext (implication, connotation, etc.) of language.  Most likely, my Chomskian influence is coupling with my Jungian/psychoanalytic background.  Which is to say, I'm something of an analytical freak . . . but also a student of human behavior, belief, and expression.  So I hope that my obsessions won’t cloud my desire to learn and better my communication skills.
  • This thing I have called elitist rhetoric is a little bit like PR or propaganda in that the text of the language is expressing one thing while the subtext expresses another, often contrary, thing.  Specific word and phrase choices often indicate subconscious ulterior motives (this is the psychoanalyst in me talking . . . it shouldn't be confused with poststructuralism).  These ulterior motives tend to be common human "id-type" emotions: aggression, defensiveness, fear, etc.
  • Like any psychoanalytic thinker, I see these subconscious motives as operating in every individual all the time . . . but to greater or lesser degrees.  When they operate to a greater degree, they disrupt and disable real communication.  This happens, quite simply, because at least one party involved is not recognizing the value of the other . . . and is probably attempting to restrict, undermine, or remove that other's sense of equal empowerment.
  • Like any psychoanalytic (or at least, Jungian) thinker, my inclination, when faced with another person speaking "loudly at me in the subtext" is to try to bring the subconscious language into the conscious plane.  I try to do this, because I believe that true communication (between engaged, equal individuals) cannot occur when the subtext undermines the text.  What I mean by "true communication" is the communication between a self and an other as opposed to narcissistic spouting or "salespeak" or “powerspeak” that tries to deceive the other to the benefit of a particular self.
  • Elitist rhetoric as it has often manifested in poetry forums here and elsewhere is a pretty easily-identified breed.  It's easy to identify, because the institutions of indoctrination and "poet-making" in our culture are very distinct and make no attempt to conceal their beliefs (they so adamantly believe in their righteousness that they don't consider shame an option).  

More specifically, one of the indelible brandings of the PoBiz involves the distinction between "real" or "professional" poets and wannabe or hack poets (“Slushmokeys” . . . the dregs of the infamous slush piles).  We rarely question this, but those who consider themselves "real" poets tend to be oddly afraid of and threatened by Slushmonkey poets (they represent the “shameful other” that “real” poets seek to transcend or deny in their quests for “realness”).  Yet, Slushmonkey poets are not only no threat to the livelihood of "real" poets, they are in fact the sustainers of "real poetdom" because they buy the "real" poets' books, enter the "real" editors' contests, pay for educations where they can be exposed to "real" poets.  (In fact, the true power of the Slushmonkeys is in this fact.  They have power in boycott . . . and in nothing else.)

[Chomsky is fond of using the term “unpeople” to talk about the radically downtrodden and disenfranchised whose welfare is not considered by gigantic powers like the U.S. when they enact their foreign policies and seek out more wealth and resources for themselves.  Maybe, then, I should call this group, not Slushmonkeys, but unpoets.  I consider myself an unpoet, so I don’t mean this derogatorily.]

Plainly, if it wasn't for the multitude of talentless individuals and other unpoets who desperately wanted to become and be seen by others as poets, the PoBiz would collapse in a heap.  This dynamic is really not any different than the typical Upstairs/Downstairs dynamic . . . thus the class division metaphors I made earlier.  There IS an elitist hierarchy in the poetry world, and it has very distinct and specific mechanisms of indoctrination and credentialing.

And (as it seems we all agree) these mechanisms do not have much at all to do with artistic merit . . . in much the same way that the nobility of old were not better people than the peasants just because they were moneyed and privileged.  The unpeople and unpoets still count . . . even if what they produce is deemed valueless to the PoBiz.  But the unpoets are used by the PoBiz as a “natural resource”.  Most have no chance whatsoever of being rewarded by the PoBiz . . . but the PoBiz can’t let them know this, because it needs their money and adulation.  Much of what makes the PoBiz the PoBiz is this propaganda of deception and “encouragement” of the unpoets (for the benefit of the poets only).

  • Elitist rhetoric in a poetry context, then, usually manifests when one or more parties decide to play the role of a "made poet" at the expense of another poet who they deem "not made" (i.e., an unpoet).  This is overtly offensive to the party who is assigned the insignificance of being "not made".  Also, since "madeness" is a highly suspect credential it becomes quite meaningless to this model of communication.

Ultimately, the value of one’s opinion should be judged on the basis of its sense-making, not on the basis of the credentials of the person who expressed it (e.g., their poet/unpoet status).  It would be nice if credentials WERE a good indicator of value in opinions, but they very clearly are not . . . not at least in our current system of credentialing.

  • This is (or should be) an important issue to those members who are advocates of Foetry.com, because it is generally agreed by those who post here that the system of PoBiz credentialing currently in effect in America is deeply flawed to the point of corruption.  Therefore, I believe we should feel compelled to oppose any elitist rhetoric thrown at us.  After all, we want to say 1) We don't accept your designation as elite/superior, and 2) We don't believe your "voice", or that you have any intention of actually communicating with us, until you drop your barrier of Us vs. Them (poet vs. unpoet) and try to adopt a spirit of cooperation.

I see this as an obligation of dissent.[/list]



As I have said numerous times before, my personal views on poetry are often divergent from Foetry.com’s.  For instance, I believe contest reform is better than contest corruption, and as Foetry’s admin, I try to fight for such reform . . . but my personal opinion is that all book manuscript contests are disgraceful and only serve to shame poets and marginalize poetry as an art.

Similarly, I believe the writing workshop model that monopolizes the teaching of poetry is ultimately destructive to poetry and poets and should be abolished . . . but this is not a Foetry position.

Also, I WOULD say that the PoBiz is “completely corrupt” (in the sense that it doesn’t serve poetry or poets who may have something valuable to contribute to their culture), but I wouldn’t say that the poets themselves were corrupt . . . except on specific, individual bases.  The PoBiz, as an institution, is a cancer.

But that, again, is not a Foetry position.

Quote from: "duckyd"
What I read on the other thread almost sounds like “you’re either with us or against us” rhetoric, and I am not sure that’s useful at any time.


I apologize if I created this impression. It is not at all how I feel or what I wanted to express.  I am, of course, a very opinionated person . . . but I believe I still maintain some perspective on my opinions.  I don’t expect other people to agree with me, but my mode of discourse is fairly formal and distinctly argumentative.  I don’t see argument as aggressive, but more like a sport.  I am an ex-jock, so I was “raised” on relationship-through-formalized-competition . . . and I still tend to adopt a “chivalric” attitude.

Most of the poets I have known, though, are not of the chivalric mindset . . . and do not like to “bond” through “ritualized combat”.  They can see me, then, as aggressive and bullish . . . and in turn, I tend to see them as passive-aggressive and neurotically afraid of intimacy and revelation.  I doubt either party is going to change.

But, my desire, when writing, is to influence or convince people, to at least get them to consider thinking about things in ways they may not have thought of.  I am an instinctive contrarian or counterbalance that tends to gravitate toward loopholes in other people’s ideologies or presentations . . . and then focuses on compensation. But this shouldn’t be mistaken for conversion tactics.  I am suspicious of all kinds of belief . . . even belief in ideas that I hold dear.  I am every bit as self-contrary as I am other-contrary (probably much more so).  It is connection that I want, not conversion.

My concurrent desire is to be influenced by others, to be convinced, even to see my arguments dismantled, their loopholes pointed out (thus the counterbalance . . . the ultimate desire is for equilibrium).  But I’m not an easy mark.  I’ve been an arguer from the time I first started speaking.  I rarely “lose” arguments, but I like it when I do.  My goal is to engage and to learn.  I’ve learned a great deal since I joined this site . . . about poetry, about the PoBiz, and about myself.  I am grateful to everyone here who has engaged with me.  

This is, I suspect, the cause of my community advocacy here . . . and why I’m so sensitized to “elitist rhetoric” criticizing the community as a whole.  The community (unlike any other poetry community I’ve been involved with) has touched and helped me . . . and I, in turn, feel a commitment to it, a desire to defend it.  It has been good to me, and I know it is capable of good.

But what I just wrote above about the give and take of influence is, I think, the key to being both a poet and a reader of poetry.  Why poet if we don’t want to influence, penetrate, move another?  Why read if we don’t want to be touched, convinced, enlightened, changed?

To me, this is what communication is all about.  Around this, there is a lot of posture, façade, deception . . . and it all boils down to a fear of intimacy.  I write because I thrive on intimacy, on connecting with others.  The opportunity of intimacy is the allure of working with language

Quote from: "duckyd"
Matt again:

It is a "closed club" that requires credentials at the door. Maybe that is the mistake you are making. You may expect a club from a group of poets, but this just isn't one.

Like Maria, also don’t get this.  I thought we were a club, of sorts.  I hope the implication here is not to suggest that if I were to win a contest, even a corrupt one, that I would not be welcome at this forum.  We don’t want to say that, do we?


I guess it could be argued that, because we have come together for a specific purpose (i.e. poetry and/or PoBiz corruption), we could be seen as a club.  But I strongly oppose this designation.

To me, a club is exclusive and it comes together to relish a sense of privilege.  I know it’s a matter of semantics, but I prefer to see the forums here as a community.

To use your example, if you were to win a contest in a way that demonstrated impropriety and we found out about it, we would note that this had occurred and recommend that others avoid that contest and its judge.  Also, your “winning” poems would most likely fall under greater scrutiny.

BUT, you would NOT be prohibited from joining in conversation here.  You would be given every opportunity to defend or explain yourself.  It could be difficult going for you, as many members have the right to be “impolitely” critical of your actions and/or writing.  They even have the right to hold and post “unjust” opinions about you.  And it would be up to you to disprove any false claims (this is my understanding of how the libel law works).  If you disproved such claims, we would remove them from the forums, issue a retraction, and post an apology . . . in the conventional journalistic way.

To return to semantics, if this was a club and not a community, none of these rights would be extended to you.  You would become “one of Them” and be barred from participation.

For an example, take Scott Cairns.  He has been involved in multiple dodgy contest awards, but he has come on the site to participate in conversation and to both deny and apologize for his actions.  Although, I believe the members eventually lost all sympathy for him, because it seemed his remorse was bogus, as he went out and “sinned again”.  Possibly, he believes Foetry is a kind of Catholic confessional that can absolve him.

Regardless, my personal feeling is that anyone (“foet” or “fo-fighter”) is welcome here as long as s/he can manage to refrain from excessive hostility (we set that limit pretty high).  But all should have the understanding that we, the moderators and admins, only step in in very extreme circumstances and prefer that disputes are settled between individual members.

We don’t want to stifle outrage or dissent here . . . even dissent against Foetry itself.  We even have a forum expressly for this.

And we read and appreciate all the suggestions and criticisms . . . even when we choose not to agree with some of them.  Our hope is that something good will emerge from such disagreements and arguments . . . and that both Foetry and its detractors will gain from the debate.

Yours,
Matt
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Maria Wyeth
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« Reply #38 on: June 01, 2006, 02:37:12 PM »

Lest Matt, or anyone else, think I am slinking off in a huff, as apparently so many of my ilk have in the past, I just wanted to say I'll be in and out, mostly out, of town, the next few weeks.  And will be too busy to do much more on the internet than check basic email.

Best to you all,
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« Reply #39 on: June 01, 2006, 04:17:41 PM »

Quote from: "Maria Wyeth"
Lest Matt, or anyone else, think I am slinking off in a huff, as apparently so many of my ilk have in the past, I just wanted to say I'll be in and out, mostly out, of town, the next few weeks.  And will be too busy to do much more on the internet than check basic email.

Best to you all,


Hi Maria,

I've got a long reply for you which I'll post in a couple minutes.  No rush, though.  Thanks for the notification.

Enjoy your travel.

-Matt
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« Reply #40 on: June 01, 2006, 04:41:05 PM »

Maria,

Thanks again for your reply and for the time you've taken to respond to my excessively long post.

Who DOES have the time for such things?  I can only steal time to write what I do here or anywhere.  I've chosen to pour my writing time into my posting and activity here . . . but I know few others would be willing to (or should) do so.

Quote from: "Maria Wyeth"
I write in no conventional style (I'm not saying it might not seem conventional); I am associated with no aesthetic movement; I've been influenced by no living poet.  At least since Elizabeth Bishop died and I was too young then for that to count.  (Hope this paragraph doesn't seem like flaunting creds; I'm not quite clear on where your line in the sand is on this particular question.)


Not at all.  I don't want to draw a line in the sand . . . nor do I have much of a problem with "flaunting creds" in the service of example or anecdote.  I am only suspicious of substituting creds for communication or engagement with others.  And that is not relevant here.

Quote from: "Maria Wyeth"
Quote from: "Matt"
It remains unclear to me whether or not an unaffiliated or dissenting poet can find approval and promotion through the PoBiz . . .


It's rare, but it happens.  I can think of three people offhand.  Not counting myself, since I'm still preoccupied about keeping my feet on the right side of the line of sand, lol.


Let's chuck the sand.  I am satisfied with your gestures of good faith, and I have said my rah-rah bit about the good of the Foetry community.  I think I CAN speak for all in saying that we are interested in your experiences and opinions . . . and are likely to agree with some opinions and disagree with others.

Quote from: "Maria Wyeth"
. . . I have absolutely no idea what Language Poetry is, have never managed to comprehend it, or fail to comprehend it, if that's what one is supposed to.  But when questioned before about what it is, I go blank.  Dull thousand-yard stare.  And I have some answer at least for most questions.)


Yes, this is, I believe, the intended effect of LangPo . . . a pre-hypnotic suggestivity that the Pods hope will make the "initiate" more susceptible to the podding process.  They like to follow this up with a propaganda stream.

Some, thankfully, are immune.  Others get MFAs :twisted:.

Just teasing, you MFA-heads out there.  We love you, too . . . but we're going to try to remove those chips from your heads.

Quote from: "Maria Wyeth"
However back to the original question.  You have pointed out to me that people on Foetry are not a monolith, with the same experiences and opinions and credibility and responsibility.  They are individuals: some thoughtful and smart and good writers, and others bitter and vitriolic and adolescent, as if this were a free-for-all newsgroup, rather than a serious attempt to make necessary reforms.


Well, I see at as both.  Regrettably, the two have commingled in such a way that the reforming institution has become more sullied than I would have liked.  I agree with you that this is a problem and a clear flaw of Foetry.com.  This is something that we are trying to work on.

Our plan is to better differentiate the journalistic/reformist institution from the "free-for-all" of the forums discussions.  We are at work on a mission statement, a set of proposed contest guidelines, an extensive FAQ of our "official positions", and a number of other things.  But this process has only just begun, and we are radically understaffed.  I'm afraid that we won't have this new face until the end of the summer.

I think that new face will be more in line with what you are suggesting.  Our goal is to make Foetry transparent and to provide a fact-checked and fact-verifiable information source about poetry contests along with op-eds about the PoBiz and American poetry trends.

But I will reiterate that any "ugliness" that has emerged on the forums here is, I believe, the result of a grassroots coagulation of outrage and dissident opinions.  An inevitability.  I see it as raw material we can work with and transform rather than something to be ashamed of or repress.

Although my personal goal is not a more "polite" Foetry, it is a more credible one.  But it is also my belief that increasing the credibility of Foetry is also likely to aggravate those in the PoBiz who have been behaving most unethically.  That is, increased credibility means increased effectiveness.  

We are not apologizing for growing out of outrage and frustration.  I can't and don’t want to speak for all, but I, for one, feel no shame in being an unpoet . . . and will not have my barbarous ways conformed to "upper class" or establishment ideals.  But this doesn't mean there is no honor or civilization among the barbarians.

We will grind away the burrs . . . but in the end, we will have more reach, more impact, cut more sharply.  We will not be commodified or intimidated by the PoBiz.  We will not be complicit.

Quote from: "Maria Wyeth"
I imagine well-established poets might be more willing to come out in favor of the good things Foetry has accomplished if parts of this site were less gleeful in their attacks on certain unfairly maligned poets and presses (and I'm not talking about the Iowa/Denver/Georgia triangle).


I agree.  I know some have definitely attacked "foets" with glee.  I won't condemn them for this, but it is not my "way" . . . and I hope, at least in this aspect, to be able to influence Foetry as an institution.  I think such glee (though understandable) does nothing to further the goals of Foetry.com.  Also, I'd like to see us become a consumer-advocate, not a foet-hunter.

I don't have a persecutory instinct.  When I see people suffering, I want to help them . . . not dish out more suffering.

In my opinion, the so-called foets are not monsters, but weaklings, failures of Poetry itself, of the art, of their students, of their readers.  We want to note them, but not dwell on them.  We will dwell on reform and helping the disenfranchised.  

Even the foets are pawns of the PoBiz.  Like all of us (to some degree), they have been indoctrinated into a destructive mindset.  They are victims of their own propaganda and flawed ideologies.  They only have as much power over us as we choose to give them.

So, my belief is that they should be named publicly so an eye is kept on them . . . but they shouldn't be persecuted.  The idea is not to give them any more undue power to harm others.  Their belittlement serves no function . . . and in fact, can serve to re-institute their power by making them seem like victims.  THEY are NOT the victims.

If innocent parties have been maligned, we will have to sort this out.  I'm not aware of all of the cases of "foetic behavior" mentioned on the site, because almost all of them predate my joining.  I believe Alan has given all the information required to verify his claims . . . and if there are situations in which this information was hard to access or split between multiple posts and forums and pages, we will do our best to reorganize it into easily intelligible, verifiable blocks of information.

And, again, we will separate our op-ed interjections from our information presentation.

Quote from: "Maria Wyeth"
Yeah, well, the situation of American art is grave, as is the situation of American public schools; if fact, the situation in America in general is grave.  The notion that poetry should operate with a level playing field when virtually nothing else in this country does strikes me a bit naive.  And what is a level playing field?  After a certain level of competence, judging poetry is a matter of taste.


I also believe that the situation in America in general is grave . . . and that there is abundant injustice.  But I don't see why this HAS to be the case . . . or why poetry HAS to also be unjust.  I tend to think of injustice as the product of our ignorance and lack of engagement/participation with (and valuation of) others.  There have always been more used than users . . . and the used are only as free and empowered as they are organized.

The goal of Foetry is to start organizing the disenfranchised community of unpoets and those poets who have grown disgusted with the PoBiz.

The "level playing field" is an ideal.  I don't think there is much chance of ever achieving an absolutely "fairness" and meritocracy in American poetry.  It's just not a characteristic of the human species.  But better regulation and consumer-education can go a long way.

A desire for reform is not naive . . . to think such a thing would be absurdly cynical.  Why go on living if all is doom, doom, doom?  The expectation of a utopian state of poetry WOULD be naive . . . but who expects such a thing?  I would say that the Foetry community tends to be on the cynical and suspicious side.  There aren't a lot of starry-eyed kittens here.  Most of us have quills and nasty dispositions and maybe some venom, to boot.

What WOULD be naive would be the expectation that, among the disenfranchised and disgusted, one is more likely to find naiveté and youthful hope for providence.

We are, I think, far beyond looking for providence.  What we want to do is make a difference . . . because if people like us don't try, nobody will.

As for poetry judging being a matter of taste, there's no doubt about it.  I find most differences of aesthetic opinion to be affectations (my own included).  I don't think anyone expects their poetry submissions to evade the precepts of individual taste among judges, editors, and screeners.

I guess the hope is that regulation of contests could provide an entrant with a better idea of the actual odds of winning.  Maybe any editorial tastes could be illuminated by making the contests more transparent.  I do think that there is a consensus here that contests should not be subject to the ignorance of unqualified screeners.

The idea of "celebrity" judges is that we think we are more familiar with their tastes . . . but no one wants to be undermined by some kid screener who doesn't know poetics from petunias.  Just as no one wants to be undermined because their credentials page has fewer lines on it than someone else’s.

The tastes of the judges and/or editors are acceptable criteria for fair competition, I think.

Whether any of our tastes in poetry have any validity, well, that's another matter entirely.  Personally, I feel that our aesthetic tastes are only as valid as our arguments for them are sensible.  There is no "good taste" beyond good argument.

Quote from: "Maria Wyeth"
If I've made the same point multiple times (and it can't have been that many, since I haven't posted here very much), it was in different threads in this forum.  I certainly haven't read every thread on this forum and imagine, perhaps incorrectly, that possibly other people don't either.

If someone says, "Georgia was NEVER a contest," I'm going to argue that, because I know it's not true.  Even if I'm repeating myself.


I have no gripe with this or anything you may have repeated.  I thought I was responding to your own acknowledgment that you were repeating yourself (but no one was listening).

If I misunderstood or was out of line, I apologize.

Quote from: "Maria Wyeth"
Well, it doesn't feel harmless to newbies without hostile intentions (which I don't have).  It feels like there's an amorphously defined party line one must follow, or you get blasted.


I'm sorry it feels this way.  I never felt like this when I was a newbie, and I have always had significant disagreements with other members here . . . including a number of the core members of V.1 of Foetry.  Some of them even, once or twice, sniped at me, but I never felt threatened.  I merely fought back (as is my inclination).

If there is any respect for me here, it is due to my willingness to participate and my ability to write intelligently.  Honestly, I don't expect to be evaluated by any other means.  I am responsible for the way I present myself here and for all of my claims and theories.

I would have it no other way.  This IS why I write.

I don't expect you to go back and read my ridiculous tonnage of previous posts, but I will (once again) reiterate that I have disagreed on numerous issues with other Foetry members . . . and I even think that I am quite atypical in my ideologies and aesthetics of the "average member" here.

But this community tolerates and even at times appreciates me and my participation . . . an experience utterly unlike those in all the other poetry groups I've been involved with.  I can only commend them for tolerating where others have hated and ostracized.

Quote from: "Maria Wyeth"
And hard as it may be for the regulars on Foetry to believe, newbies have big problems about trusting people here.  Not because they're hiding.  But because this is an uneven site, that has pointed out unethical situations, but also taken shots at poets and presses who don't deserve it.  I would never endorse Foetry because of that.  OTOH I do endorse the light it's thrown on some unethical behavior and am glad changes were made because of that light.


I have seen this same sentiment expressed about Foetry on other blogs and websites.  "Unevenness" is often the result of diversity.  But still, you are correct in faulting us on tone (I remain uncertain about shots taken at undeserving poets . . . but that should be addressed on an issue by issue basis).

I hope we get to the point where others who feel as you do will feel more willing to endorse Foetry.com's mission AND means.  And I hope we are able to achieve this without sacrificing anything essential to the cause or blunting our teeth.  We have our work cut out for us . . . but I have faith that we'll pull it off.

In the meantime, I appreciate that you will take the time to post your opinions here even if you don't feel capable of fully endorsing Foetry.com.  I wish there were more like you . . . because the alternative (as no similar site exists that I know of) is to accept and maybe even embrace PoBiz corruption.

That's the way I've seen it at least.  Either I could try to counterbalance the gruff or destructive tendencies of Foetry in the only way I felt able (as an active member) or I could endorse the PoBiz and contest corruption.  I saw these as my only viable alternatives.  I was actually quite sad to see that few others saw it the same way.  In their shoes, I would have felt complicit with the PoBiz . . . especially since I would have no influence over its dynamics or ideologies.  

At Foetry, I had a voice.  I had a chance to speak up and oppose certain things or to try to nudge the group in one direction or another.  Again, the possibility to influence.  Many of my posts over the last year and a bit have been sermons calling for change (within and without).

But, in the PoBiz, I would not have had an individual voice.  I would have been silenced.

The decision was really quite easy to make . . . when seen in this light.  The "right" thing to do was to stand with Foetry . . . even when I did not agree with everything it did or how it did these things.  Again, it's community vs. club.  Democracy vs. totalitarianism.

But I don't expect anyone else to see the moral issue the same way I do.  I'm not going to extend into righteousness and judge others.  And my suspicion is that many others who had the same initial impression of Foetry's tone and didn't do what I decided to do did not so much "fail morally" as they failed to thoroughly analyze the situation and think through the possibilities and repercussions.

Whatever the case, I don't hold it against them . . . and I even hope to encourage them to give us another shot.

Quote from: "Maria Wyeth"
Seems to me that if language, even language used on the internet is as important to you as you say it is, a certain civility would be important (and I'm not addressing this to you, since clearly you are capable of it), because it more often than not makes for more effective communication.  If the goals of Foetry are to improve the ways in which poems are published, and to diminish, if not eliminate, unethical systems, those goals might be more readily accomplished if people coming to Foetry for the first or second or third time weren't so put off.


I agree with you.  I do my best to be forgiving of those who "violate civility".  Everyone is a valuable individual, and as long as they aren't sociopaths, they deserve some attention and respect.  We all have personas and fronts . . . sometimes more so in our writing.  I've never accepted that this is all there is to people.  I've met plenty of people that are all thorns on the outside . . . but are deeply worth knowing if you can get beyond this.

I even think of myself as such a person . . . so I try to extend every courtesy.

I think our much-promised FAQ will help significantly.  I do feel it is worth pointing out though that many newbies come in on the defensive based on what they had heard about Foetry or what they Googled or something.  These folks don't always have a fair perspective.  And, although I do my best to be gracious, we don't make a habit of wooing the people who are hell-bent on judging us unfairly.

I am as apologetic and deferent as anyone here, I think.  By I don't stand for being abused (either overtly or subtextually).  We can only be deodorized to a degree . . . beyond that, tolerance has to be mutual.  And some of us have horns.  Blame God.

Quote from: "Maria Wyeth"
contests and Jorie Graham et al?  Just a thought.  Accomplish one thing, or at least make a big difference in one thing, and move on to something else that might be helpful, while still keeping a watchful eye?
 

We are thinking alike . . . but the gears move slowly.

Quote from: "Maria Wyeth"
Perhaps focus more on ethical contests, receptive editors?  Welcome information from poets who have some experience in this difficult pursuit? Help establish friendships between poets offline (difficult now, because this does not seem a safe place to expose one's self, even if one is not a foet)?  Pair up older poets with young ones (and I'm not necessarily speaking chronologically here)?  I don't know--I mean it's not my site, but perhaps some of the enormous energy here could be moved into something more positive.


These are all useful and appreciated suggestions.  I can't predict what we will evolve into or how "positive" it will be.  My current desire is for us to be credible and audible.  But I DO see Foetry as an ever-evolving thing.  We seek to adapt and grow and learn.

Yours,
Matt
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Funk not only moves, it can RE-move, dig?"
      --Sir Lollipop Man (Alias, the Long-Haired Sucker)
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