Monday, April 4, 2011

protest (and if you have to do that crap-out, why not googoogajoob)

Recently I received a solicitation to submit something to this:

"[A]n anthology titled
A Long and Winding Road which will contain around 200 writers of all genres and world cultures, all born 1940 through 1960. The intent is to provide glimpses into what makes the generation unique, what influenced and shaped, what perspectives emerged and evolved."

. . .

Twenty years of writers, and none of them, the poets prosewriters playwrights, essayists et al,

not one of them wrote a phrase which could be appropriate for the title of this book?

It has to have that clicheish tagalongline, that inane refrain from a pop song?


I protest.

If the editor were taking for his title a phrase from Sharon Olds or David Mamet or Carol Ann Duffy or Robert Hass, to name just a few of the important writers from this generation,

if the editor were using a quote from any significant "world culture" author born 1940-1960,

I would be willing to submit something for his consideration.

After all, I don't get solicitations for anthologies every day.

In fact, I never get asked to be in any anthologies—

if you're ever in Groliers in Cambridge, Mass, or at Open Books in Seattle, or in a big library, look at their walls of contemporary USA poetry anthologies, all so unalike in their demarcations,

yet all so similar in that none of them include my verse.

—The only exception being the two edited by Billy Collins!

(Collins transcends the in-house standards of PoBiz, which most other anthologists are required to obey: he can include a pariah in his anthol and not suffer reprisals, whereas the other compilers fearful for their careers must exclude blacklisted writers like me or face negative consequences in their professional currency.)

But I digress.



Here's another bizarre entry in the absurd column of pobiz—

if you linked to that page, you'd see this:

Poltroon Press Projects 2011

Thank you for your interest in Poltroon Press. We are not currently reading any unsolicited manuscripts. We have unpublished material by the authors dear to us that we would like to publish and hope to get around to in the near future. We would welcome poetry manuscripts from Rae Armantrout, Tinker Greene, Bill Knott, Joanne Kyger, or Steven Lavoie, but if that's not you, please do not send us your manuscript.


Surely, if you're a publisher of poetry, you have to have some standards, some esthetic principles?—

You can't promiscuously publish anybody and everybody, this kind of verse and that kind of verse, all schools without discrimination,

not without compromising whatever artistic values you're trying to maintain and manifest in your choice of projects,

not if you're serious.

I am not thrilled at my appearance on that list of poets whom Poltroon would "welcome poetry manuscripts from,"

since I feel no affinity with the other poets mentioned. What I've seen of their work I dislike—

I find it depressing that Poltroon Press (or anyone else) would associate me with them,

as if my verse were compatible, as if I were one of that avantcrowd,

all of whom, I assume, bear the Silliman-Approved stamp.

And I would guess they (those other poets) are as insulted to see my name alongside theirs as I am to read mine there.