Friday, September 21, 2007

What Makes Me Want to Vomit

Someone on a Blog recently commented on my comment that allot of what Fence Magazine and Editor Rebecca Wolfe does makes me want to Vomit.

Of course in poetryland expressing a strong opinion is always suspect. For an opinionated person like me to express what I really feel about a poet or editor breaks the social contract of friends helping friends to write poetry that no one reads and has been written primarily for other poets. It destroys the great vanity exercise that so much of poetry has become and makes me into a jerk or worse yet gets me excluded from the social scene.

So I thought I would list ten things that make me Vomit just so I am clear with my so small blog audience- and I am clear while I am being commented on;

Vomit # 1 : I want to vomit when I have to endure poetry written about nothing but with technical skill that has been created simply for artifice.

Vomit #2: I want to vomit when poets who are independently wealthy pretend to be Marxists if there was revolution they would be the first to be executed.

Vomit #3: I want to vomit when Poets tell me how hard they work and they have an academic job at some cushy university. The real hard workers in academia are the adjuncts and lecturers.

Vomit #4: I want to vomit when presses that are vanity exercises continue to publish their friends and exclude new voices.

Vomit # 5 Once in my life I want to see a poet who does not have the pedigree getting published in a sexy journal? Where are the Jack Kerouac's, William Carlos Williams or James Baldwin's?

Vomit # 6 The complete lack of diversity of experience in poetry- where are the workers, mothers, doctors, and other poets who live life outside poetryland?

Vomit # 7 The refusal of poets to engage in politics and critique our system but the openness to remain parochial and stay within poetryland only.

Vomit # 8 The complete ignorance of the global poetry scene.

Vomit # 9 The fact that many poets read nothing but their own work or their friends where is the intellectual curiosity?

Vomit # 10 That poets do not create something new but rather want to copy others to get published by their friends.

These things make me want to vomit


peter b said...

You might be on to something there.

Johannes said...


I also wrote a response to your blog entry about Fence:

But I couldn't figure out how to post a comment that time.

I tend to agree with many of your points (especially the Marxist one), though I don't see why Rebecca is the only one you call out by name. And as I wrote in that post, I don't think Fence is great journal, but I do think the press has been one of the - if not the single - most consistently interesting presses over the past decade or so.

I think the problem of pedigree is important. That leads to a stagnant poesy world.

I think James Pate's essay in our new deals with some of your concerns.

Finally, as an overworked adjunct who also runs a small press and an online journal I have a difficult time accepting professional people dismissing the leisurely ways of academics.


Raymond Bianchi said...

You know Johannes I felt bad that there was any chance that I was dismissing Joyelle's work-- I really love her work-- it does not in anyway encapsulate what makes me want to vomit-- and I also respect and admire what you and Action books do--- I kind of fancy myself a neo-fauve--- I like the wild beast and I yearn for debate and discussion amid people who are passionate about our artform but so many want just to posture--- I want it stated as well that I do not mean to 'hurt' people and I expect pushback I would love to have a hard debate with people and provoke them to talk-- really talk about what we all care about