Thursday, April 13, 2006

Pretty flames and fireworks in Blogland

So, there's this man called Craig Teicher who writes an article on poetry and the internet for some outfit called which manages to reference Ron Silliman and Josh Corey and some online poetry magazines and in the process upsets people like Reb Livingston and many others which all then develops into a slapfest about site meters and who's got the biggest hitcounter.


Anyways, getting back to the article, my complaint with it seem to be chiming closely with Tony Tost's reservations - namely that the article misses the point by trying to view online poetry as some sort of complement or imitation of "real-world" poetry: the publishers, the critics, the magazines, the MFAs, etc, etc, etc.

For instance:

"The Web is allowing poets and publishers of poetry—both the big houses and the many independent, nonprofit and university presses—direct access to their readers."

So much for poets doing it for themselves. In this statement the author assumes that the internet is a tool of the real world poetry business.

No, Craig, it is not. The internet is a release from the old po-biz paradigms. And if you don't agree, then I suggest that you haven't been looking hard enough at what's really going on beyond the self-erected walls of the blogosphere.

"These magazines are publishing a wide range of poets, from Pulitzer Prize winners to up-and-coming poets still in M.F.A. programs."

Oh, fabulous! In this statement the author assumes the only people qualified to write poetry are those with MFA qualifications.

Oops. Looks like you've fucked up there, Roots!

I suppose it is nice to have people writing about internet poetry for a wider audience. But to be honest I don't think the cause - if there is one, and personally I prefer to think of internet poetry as a force of nature which the world needs to deal with rather than as a new frontier waiting to be conquered - I don't think the "cause" is served by such a narrowly focussed article parading itself as an introduction to the internet poetry phenomenon.

I actually fantasised about what a book on the history of internet publishing could look like - the range of issues and stories to cover, etc - last September on this here very blog. Poetry blogs didn't get a mention until the penultimate chapter.

Strange, that.


  1. Man, what's with you Brits always adding an "e" to the end of my last name?

    Now, I'm upset.

  2. Blame Mayor Ken.