Here are two excerpts from a fellow poet's recent blog post that are worth sharing; it should be noted that my aesthetic ideals don't match with his, but the paragraphs below contain sentiments we both agree with:
In the LA poetry scene, the question is how long have you been active locally? Or how long have you hosted a particular venue? A poet could be the shittiest writer alive but if they have been active in the scene for 25 years and hosted some open mic at some coffeehouse for the last 10 of those years then they are venerated as the greatest living LA poet alive ever. And you have to play the game, you have to get in the queue and coo and caw over these venerated poets for a bit before you are even vaguely acknowledged by the cool kids. If you come in roaring and lay down the gauntlet and demand respect according to your writing ability, this will never work.
LA has a habit of forming their own poetry groups where they then give out their own poetry awards. This is really hilarious to me. Some poet makes up some group like “The Poets Who Say Snee” and then they have an open mic at some coffeehouse for a few years and then they put out an anthology of “The Snee Poets” and then if they build this up after a while they start giving out “The Snee Poetry Awards.” If you happen to point out that some of the Snee Poets are not very good, then you get shot down with a “What have you ever done for the community? Have you ever run your own Snee Poetry group for six years hmmm? No? Then shut the fuck up nobody cares about your opinion.”
The full post can be read at:
My only addendums are:
1. Prepare to hear banshee-level shrieking if you say--with or without naming Names--that certain people in poetry communities behave badly towards inferiors and even some peers.
2. Also, prepare to find out how alone you are if you complain about people who want the poetry community to be as small as possible--doing their best to chase others away with epithets like "journal-entry."