Monday, October 21, 2013

mary karr's ass


Often, perhaps, when an artist grows older, he/she must refute the artists they admired in their youth—

they are embarrassed by that former enthusiasm, ashamed at having ever been so gauche in judgment—

these once-adulated elders must be symbolically slain/cast down/humiliated—

it helps of course if the idol was in fact false in the first place, a sham, a golden calf with hooves of clay, a boyband whose vocals/guitars were computer spawned—

it's even easier if that penny icon was a flash in the pan now universally despised or ignored, a pariah humbled and debased,

like a writer who may have enjoyed some minor notice in his youth but who now grown old and forgotten must vanity-publish his work,

or even the yecchiest echelon of all, that dantean depth wherein wanders lost that most abject of detritrals, the "blog poet" . . .

For an example of what I mean here, consider the strange piece which appeared in the Washington Post (10/12/08), the "Poets Corner" column, by Mary Karr—

she begins with a familiar rhetorical ploy: a sheepish admission of youthful naivete:

"Back in high school, I fell in love with Bill Knott's visionary poems . . . "

After this disingenuous gushygoo she quickly proceeds to suggest that her teenself was the victim of a "hoax" perpetrated by Knott . . . yes,

her young-innocent delusional ardour for his poetry was caused not by its intrinsic merits,

no, she was guiled and traduced by the specious notoriety his spurious frauds had cloud-hued him with:

Knott, she reveals, "became a cult figure . . . through a suicide hoax in 1966."

In fact, Karr notes, prior to this fake self-offing, this felo-de-flummery,

Knott had been "collecting rejection slips for years."

And, her implication is clear,

he would have gone on collecting rejection slips forever if

he hadn't managed to dupe and bamboozle editors with his counterfeit ruses and flimflam impostures—

the deceitful trickery of which continues to this day, she insinuates by asserting that "Knott . . . still produces . . . experimental verse,"

"experimental" being a code-word to implicate, indict his persistent incriminating caprices and morally-shoddy eccentricities—

("Experimental" meaning oddball, abnormal: not like the regular Establishment poets Karr usually praised in this [now-defunct] weekly column:

He's not like us, Karr is assuring her AmeriPo-Biz cohorts, he's an anomaly, he can be marginalized and scorned with no risk—

in such circles, "experimental" is an insult, and Karr is indicating with this pejorative

that Knott should be viewed as anathema by the mainstream of American Poetry—)

He's a crank, Karr says, quote: "He's an iconoclast."  You can't take him seriously.

In this she agrees with the eminent critic Christopher Ricks,

who in The Massachusetts Review dismissed Knott as "a malignant clown."

"Futilely" is the word Karr uses to describe Knott's vain attempts to write—

he is "futilely" trying to be a poet, as she sees it. . . .

Her final summation seems apropos:

"pathological paranoia"

is her grown-up-now diagnosis of this mentally-ill reprobate,

her older-and-wiser verdict on

his worthless life and work.

Karr's thinly-disguised attack on Knott is really a kind of exorcism, a ritual to expel this shadow from her sinful youth—

Yes, she confesses to her confreres in the USAPO elite,

I was guilty of letting myself be hoaxed
—and note that she uses the word "hoax" twice in her brief article,

reiterating it for emphasis, to remind her readers in case they missed it the first time—

yes, she coyly admits, I was hoaxed by the charlatan Knott,

but mea culpa, look, I here repent that adolescent foolishness,

lo, I cast the demon out!

Knott is the dumb donkey Karr rode into Poetryville on, back in her uneducated raw youth,

the ass she must now augeanize from her stable,

the sacrificial mule she must thrice deny before the Academy of American Poets crows and crowns her.

I apologize for writing the diatribe above in the third person—

I was so hurt and humiliated by this article that I could only respond by distancing it from the first-person—
I think the greatest sign of Karr's contempt for me is something she didn't say:

the fact that she didn't mention even in passing my blog, whereon for the past several years

I have been posting my entire catalog of poetry for free open access:

that, to me, hurt worse than any of her subtle insults.

But, to be fair, given the space restrictions of column-writing, given the limited space the Washington Post allotted her, if she had deigned to refer readers to my blog,

then she wouldn't have had room enough left to label me a "hoax" twice over,

to relate the gossipy rumors of my various frauds and deceptions and oh yes let's not forget my "father's suicide" etc.—

And she simply had to include those sordid plums in her screed because,

after all, as she has learned so well from the popularity of her prose memoirs,

sensationalist tittletattle sells.


Friday, October 18, 2013


I assume that Chelsey Minnis felt humiliated and mortified when she read the following words from Craig Morgan Teicher's review in Publishers Weekly of her book "Bad Bad":

"Petulant, clever, sometimes funny, sometimes irritatingly flippant, Minnis's poems will inspire questions as to whether this work qualifies as poetry at all, though some readers — fans of, say, Bill Knott, at his silliest — may find much to like."

Belittled, disparaged, snubbed, rebuked by this squelch, she must have been—surely any young poet who finds themself compared to a failure like me would suffer chagrin and embarrassment.

—But I of course felt just the opposite: I was honored and flattered to have my work (even "at its silliest") associated with hers.  I was proud to be equated and identified with

a poet whose books I've enjoyed reading and been intrigued with.  

Minnis seems to me to be a fantastic brilliant poet.  By now I've read everything of hers available, all 3 of her books, and have reread many pages in them.

I'm aware that posting this awkward note of praise for her work may further compound the injury inflicted by Teicher with his invidious contemptuous comparison, but—

If she ever sees this, I hope she takes it at face value.  After all, I'm just one of the many admirers of her writing. 


Thursday, October 3, 2013

a plagiarist confesses

As Mary Karr reported in the Washington Post, I was getting nothing but rejection slips before I duped magazines into publishing my lousy poems with a "fake suicide" hoax, and, she added, I would have continued getting nothing but rejection slips if I hadn't tricked those editors into publishing my "posthumous" verse.  Karr can tell you how I bamboozled them with my phony poems. 

And she's right of course: in fact every poem I ever wrote was a hoax, a fraud, a fake, which is why, ever since her WashPost exposure, I have had to publish them myself in vanity volumes, because no legitimate publisher would have a scandal disgrace like me on their list of authors . . . 

The poor publishers I traduced into publishing me in the past with my flimflam tactics are ashamed to admit they ever issued any books by me, and I can't blame them for being chagrinned at falling prey to my con-artist deceptions.  The joke is on them.  How embarrassed they are to have been hoodwinked by a chiseler like me, whose "poems" are all fake and in fact were all plagiarized.  I pulled the wool over their eyes: those editors/publishers who put out my books were too stupid to see through my chicanery.  They'll never live it down.

Indeed all those editors and publishers who published my poems and books prior to 2008 when Mary Karr revealed in the Washington Post that my entire poetry career was a total HOAX (she used the word twice to describe me) from start to finish, were then and are still ashamed to have published my sham poems, embarrassed to admit I had been on their lists, that my plagiarized verse had deceived them—

And as a result of Karr's expo-zay, after this revelatory bulletin appeared in 2008, after she outed me as the total fraud I am and have always been, I guess it's not surprising no legit magazine will publish my counterfeit verse, and no real publisher will touch my bogus books . . . 

My sins finally caught up with me, and now I am the pariah persona non grata I was always destined to be. The liar, the plagiarist, the impostor goes down in the end, evil is punished!

Even an editor as astute and intelligent as Jonathan Galassi was fooled by my flummery, he published two books of mine, one at Random House and the second at Farrar Straus Giroux in 2004;— in fact he expressed an interest in having my Selected Poems maybe done by FSG, but then M. Karr and the Washington Post revealed my ignominy to the world, 

following which no publisher of any standing or self-respect would ever again have anything to do with a depraved despised untouchable like me.
If you don't believe Karr, just ask James Tate, he'll tell you—hell, he said it to my face—that half my poems were plagiarized from his work, and the other half were stolen from others: he could make a list of them, he told me, a list of the poets besides himself whose ideas and styles I had expropriated and claimed as my own.
Ed Ochester editor of the Pitt Poetry series published one of my spurious books in 1989, but in the following two decades must have realized what a shameful mistake it had been to add my name to the Pitt roster: he wised up or someone told him the truth about my supposititious poetry, that my plagiarism-filled poems were all hoax faux fakes, so when he edited a "Best of" anthology of works from the series in 2007, he knew that he could not include any by me in the book: he knew that selecting any of my false verse from the 1989 book into his "Best of" anthol would delegitimize it fatally, damage its prestige and tarnish his immaculate reputation and high standing in the American poetry community.