Objections to Poetry’s ‘Gatekeepers’ (the Atlantic)

Poetry Isn’t as Useless as a Lot of Folks Say It Is

…. “That’s because folks like Alexander have worked to create a myth of an essential poetry, poetry that is important because of what it is, rather than because of what it says.

It’s long past time, therefore, that we stopped asking “What Use Is Poetry?” and started asking, “What Use Is This Poem?” In some cases, maybe, we’ll find uses we didn’t know existed.” ….

(2013) < [ [ [
Poetry Isn’t as Useless as a Lot of Poets Say It Is
A recent speech at Yale inadvertently sums up what’s wrong with the art form these days: Its gatekeepers believe poetry matters because it’s poetry, not because of what it says.
] ] ] >

Saw someone had accessed a forgotten posting of this article on this blog from 2013 in my stats. Glad to be reminded… I had recently written a piece that said something different (as yet untyped up) but still had a bone to pick with the ‘gatekeepers’ as a whole. I am not sure the intuition is as correct as I thought at the time. It had to do with the lack of abstraction I felt the journals I had looked at seemed to display – as though clinging to the concrete was the only way to give poetry legitimacy. POETRY Magazine is the only one I get in the mail, and I haven’t had $s to get others, but I’ve looked at some websites. On later rechecking, it seems less so, although certainly there is less usage of extremely powerful abstract vocabulary from the maths/logics/sciences than I sometimes use. Alternate problems (particularly the slice of twitter in my feed) — excess of relationship/love/erotic poems – excess to a lesser degree of nature poems. Interesting maybe for the first 200 tweets/posts. after that bleck. Noor Shirazie (also on Twitter) is a notable exception – I read through several hundred of her poems a few years ago; always about relationships broken or current, but always something interesting to say. Even so, I find myself tiring of it since I’ve started following her on Twitter. Also, why constrain yourself to one subject??!

[[instant edit: I also objected to the over representation of things with clear determinate interpretations. That may have been the nut. ‘Abstract Poetry’ as in ‘Non-representational art’ … certainly does not seem entirely so in the last two issues of POETRY. Certainly, still, word choice and subject matter Set-Space parameters are very different from some of what I consider my best work]]

Rejection Letter from Hermeneutic Chaos


For the Jane Lumley prize, not general publication:

“We always look forward to reading literature that moves us, excites our aesthetic sensibilities, and inspires our imagination to explore realms that are unique and enthusiastic. And there was much to admire in your work as it presented to us a narrative landscape stunningly wrought with haunting imagery and beautifully crafted language.”

Some article that was sort of like “25 things about how literary publishing really works” (I don’t have the link, it’s bookmarked on my disabled laptop until I fix it…) said that a personlized note of rejection means that you were thiiiss close to getting in. Made me think differently of the note for the [2007] drawings I sent to POETRY Magazine last year (visual poetry category) that said: “While we couldn’t use your drawings this time, we did really enjoy passing them around the office.” That was about all it said. This was more like a form letter with a couple sentences changed or added, but the same principle applies. Keep on truckin’ I suppose…

[ [ [ image: ‘A Dream of Apples” by Charles Vess from “Drawing Down the Moon” : https://nonsensicalwords.blogspot.com/2010/09/drawing-down-moon.html ] ] ]


Trying to quit again (again#again$again@again:::_} day 1 (well, I bummed 3 at intensive outpatient this morning) … Is not the best time to try to push productivity into high gear. Or handle important appointment making and court stuff :;

Zen koans do not necessarily make for the best therapeutic readings (although I don’t really know what others thought, the one I landed on was unusually opaque to me) .. (disliked the 2 readings books I had to choose from.. Will bring something from home not deoxy.org/koan/random tomorrow)

Negative feelings & internal pressure are amplified in grips of nic fiending, although it may seem they’re naturally that way until you give up or get a smoke

The Louisville Review, the issue I have anyway, does not print abstract poetry. But perhaps my work would be welcomed as a change of pace, not discarded out of hand. (but they don’t pay, so I’ll have to cook something new, since last round is waiting on response from paying journals) [but I live in Louisville, you see]

Prayer can help. So can writing and hypnosis and meditation and mantra. But you need a good enough connection to the practice to toggle to it against a nic fit. Preemptive prayer… Of course my intentions are on all different things most days, not focusing in on quitting smoke. Not least because having rediscovered the first cig rush, I want to continue, just at 1 a day or less.

For a former smoker limited smoking is marginally possible, but only if you bum.&/v.buy single cigarettes, not packs. Cannot just have it anytime you want. Must wait for the option to appear.

As the nicotine patch booklet says, it is key to remember that cravings always pass. Also, there is such a thing as Nicotine Anonymous (NicA) [have not checked to see if here yet] 

Recently found out that l-lysine has a calming effect. Anti-anxiety. It is a serotonin antagonist after some fashion in the gut &/v the amygdala. Particularly at 5HT-4 (5HT is serotonin) receptors. Had seen it at the store many times, but always dismissed it as useless w/o looking it up. It works, id say… Like all amino acids (incl 5 hour energy) effects are most likely to be palpable & useful on an empty stomach, and dramatic effects are unlikely to last more than a few days if used consecutively.

Limited science appears to show that less than 10% of people get enough dietary choline. Choline is technically non-essential since the body can make it, but the body on almost any diet is incapable of producing nearly enough. Almost all diets have inadequate exogenous choline as well.

The absence of remembered dreams… Setting pre-bed intent to remember and note them works.. {can just note down keywords, not entire narrative. Far quicker}

Trump is unexpectedly in striking distance. FBI director Comey yesterday said the Weiner/Abedin emails are not worth investigating.

Nerves frizzle & turn again to smoke.

To be continued…

Seeking Exposure

Beating on the door of success
Contests submitted but not yet won
Knowing however that I tried
A progress toward perfection
Open mics with regularity
Spilling the truth into other minds
No acceptances no publications
50 top literary magazines to submit to
Shoot for three a day
Ship on demand to get books at the store
A job to get the funding
Web design clients to proliferate
To make it whole we make it one
Writing pages ever daily
Cutting through the block each time

Top 50 Literary Magazines to Submit To

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