a grouse with completely feathered feet


I posted a slightly longer version of this comment in regards to Ron Silliman's post about contests and Foetry. I still don't buy the notion that entering a contest is the same in terms of monetary investment as going to a writing conference or MFA program. The former is by definition, except for one person, throwing money into a black hole. The latter two examples are engagements with people, not an often-rigged game of "$2000 Pyramid".

I guess what bothers me most isn't the larger high-octane contests--those are tied to a mostly bankrupt value system in regards to poetry's place in the world anyway, so whatever. Rather, it's the smaller and more experiental poetry presses--that allegedly are part of a project of a critique of capital and exploring the transgressive realities that poetry can construct in the world--that fall into offering contests and payouts that galls me. "Let's have it both ways! And let's take money from ephebes to subsidize our EXPERIMENTAL VISION!" Doesn't work that way. Or it ought not to, at least, esp. when revolutions in digital printing have lowered costs and raised access everywhere. There are some "post-avant" poets and presses of my generation who fall into this with astounding alacrity and glee--this, I think, is the major question in terms of poetic production that we are dealing with in our generation. And there have been some great solutions (e.g., Ugly Duckling Presse's trapezoidal books).


At 4/25/2005 12:11:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, I didn't understand the original message. Was foetry good or bad?

I think that the site serves a purpose just as I think that the constests serve a purpose. However, I want to know if a contest is rigged! I really do. I like the idea if I feel that if I have too much capital and some good poems, I can enter a contest.

Really, I think that contests are lame. Why _pay_ someone to read your poetry? I mean there are open mics and things. I think it has to do with the need for external validation. While I can certainly understand that, I don't think that this is something that should be fostered.

I run a small amateur writing workshop and people ask about my credentials all the time. I don't have any! Not even an English degree. In fact, my English ain't even so great. So why come to my little clubhouse? Community. People to drink with. And so on.

As for networking to get ahead, I think that it's a good idea. I like the idea of poking holes in the idea that you can enter a contest and people will Recognize Yer Brilliance.

I have met so many writers who thought that they were the best writer ever. In fact, the more a writer is stuck on themselves, the more I doubt that they are any good at writing, though there are good writers who are stuck on themselves too so this means nothing, but still, you get the point.

Good post here, delicious in its projection drawing capabilities.

Like a Haiku,
or not, like some,
words on a page,
from someoone who is,



Post a Comment

<< Home