Brilliant poet-critic Michael Robbins has posted a note about me on his blog,
in which he ridicules and mocks me for having to self-publish my books . . .
Robbins is a very gifted young poet whose first collection when it appears is sure to be hailed as the debut of a major talent, and whose prowess as a critic can be attested by the fact that his reviews/essays are featured regularly in major periodicals like the London Review of Books and Poetry et al—
Robbins finds it amusing that I have been blacklisted by editors (see my verse blog to view scans of just a few of the rejection notices I've received),
and that I have been reduced to the humiliating status of vanity-poet—
(If a legitimate publisher for my poetry books could be found, I wouldn't be publishing them myself, would I—no-one wants to suffer the ignominy of being a vanity author)—
Of course Robbins is just another of the many authorities who over the years have delighted in sneering at me, in jeering the pariah —
I've gotten used (after decades of it) to being ridiculed and scorned for my failures.
It's par for the course of my career.
To cite just one example among many,
imagine this scenario:
Poetry Magazine publishes a review of the latest book by Robert Pinsky,
in which the reviewer takes the opportunity to report a rumor he's heard, a rumor which states that Pinsky is terrified of giving poetry readings—
imagine the response such a review might evoke—
but when Poetry published a review of one of my books where the reviewer did exactly that:
where the reviewer (after summarily dismissing my verse) printed a rumor that I was "terrified" (the word he used) to give poetry readings—
When Poetry allowed its reviewer to include, in his ostensible review of my book, that false rumor about me,
what happened? Nothing. Did they receive letters of protest or outrage? Of course not.
Poetry Magazine knew they could print any untruth, any rumor about me, and no-one would care, no-one would object—
and no-one did.
Indeed the only consequence that followed Poetry Magazine's news-report that I was afraid to give poetry readings,
the only consequence was this: all my reading invitations dried up—nobody invited me to read anywhere anymore.
Like I said above: par for the course.
So I'm used to being condescended to—the contempt and disdain expressed by Robbins
is nothing new in my life. It's just more of the same.
I am tired of the endless derision directed at me from every quarter en masse—
though of course the worst thing about it, is that I know I deserve it:
the world is right to condemn and curse me, to ban my work and shun me away, ostracize me—
its verdict is not unjust.