Thursday, May 19, 2005


the cranky pages

Just started flipping through my newly-subscribed-to new issue of Poetry and hoo boy, what I've read about the new prose features is true. These really are the cranky pages. Peter Campion takes a swipe at blogs in general and two in particular. He seems to have somehow missed the pages and pages of aesthetic discussion which our 'you-know-whats' are filled with and which are merely leavened by discussion of submission etc (as if the ins and outs of publishing weren't interesting, anyway). Not that there isn't plenty to swipe at, but still, talk about selective reading! "Could these writers really have so little experience outside of the "poetry world?"" He really said that. He must be friends with the Dark Horses. Really odd. I guess he knew what he wanted to say. He was cranky.

What a strange essay! (Maybe he needs a blog, or a "whatever-you-call-it," since he couldn't bear to write it twice.)

Did you notice the high-quality card stock paper tho?

This is the last subscription to Poetry I'm making. I used to think it was the "pinnacle." Funny how things change. There's so much better work elsewhere!
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Yes, the magazine is physically beautiful, isn't it?

I'm happy to subscribe for their $1 an issue deal--they do have a consistent aesthetic (perhaps an understatement . . . ) and sometimes publish something which really shows how it can be a powerful one. But beyond that circulation number, and their 'prestige' (whatever that is), no they are no pinnacle, it's true. There really is a lot of better work elsewhere!
On an unrelated (yet important) note: I hope your reading went well today. Sick as a dog and didn't make it... Which bums me out -- but there will be a next time.

It went well; and don't sweat it, there'll be another, and hopefully another &c. I may even be able to make it in for the NYQ reading your in June, though I can't say for sure. (You know, I used to read submissions for them for a year or two, when WIlliam Packard was alive?)

Health first, I hope you get better soon.
It would be splendid if you made it to the June reading. Especially since you have a history with NYQ. I'll announce details when it's closer to the 20th.
I read Poetry whenever I can because it's consistently pretty funny.

What bloggers does Campion cap on? I wanna know!
Ana, I'll do what I can. I'd love to be there.

Tony, Here's the money paragraph (or 2),

"You'd think that the very word "blog" would send a poet running for cover . . . [i]nstead, the you-know-whats (I can't type that word again) spew down the screen with a kind of poisoned earnestness.

Could these writers really have such little felt experience outside of the "poetry world?" A poet who faults Robert Frost for being a dead white heterosexual male (what subtlety) moans about his rejection slips. Then a successful poet writes in to offer advice. It's not tough to catch the pomposity behind his professions of humility:

'My poem, 'Vespers,' was rejected 7 times before it was taken by the Southern Review. That same poem went on to be included in Best American Poetry. My poem, 'Sotto Voce,' was rejected 38 times . . . In fact, 42% of my poems have gone out 18 times or more before being accepted!

Fourty-two percent! Studying your own cv seems narcissistic enough. But when you find yourself reviewing your publishing record with a calculator, you know it's time to look for help. And how about keeping up online with such people? Jesus, I'd better turn off this machine right now. Needlepoint or elk hunting, miniature golf or doll house decoration: anything's better."

That's the final 2/3rds (I went on because the straw-man disdain of the final paragraph is too much to pass up on). The Robert Frost blogger, I'm not sure--I remember reading the post, I'm thinking maybe it was Eduardo and tongue-in-cheek but I'm not sure. The other one getting busted on would be C. Dale Young.

To me, it seems he's being shitty and unfair. Now, if he addressed our unhealthy obsession with online quizzes, he might have a point . . .
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C. Dale,

Peter Campion criticized you for publishing Mark Wunderlich? What fault there?

I imagine you won't let this stop you from encouraging people. I enjoyed that exchange, personally, for what it's worth.

Odd thing, it must be, to be criticized in Poetry regarding something other than your poetry.
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I can imagine.
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