Saturday, March 3, 2007

Poetry--another part of Show Business.

Recently, a young man was booked to feature at a poetry venue in the West Valley.  He forgot about it, didn't show up the night of his feature and the host became upset--to the point where the poet went on the host's fan-club listserve to ask a Prominent Poet to help mediate the dispute.

Over a year ago, an older man was booked as part of an Eco-Poetry festival held at an Eco-Fest in Woodley Park.  He forgot about it, (due to fatigue from his day job) was a no-show and the host went ballistic. 

Yes, it's not professional to forget about a featured poetry appearance at a venue--a prize that a lot of poets covet.  And it's true that poetry is another sector of Show Business where people feel burned over booking no-shows.

But millions of dollars aren't at stake here.

The myth that poetry communities invest in:  We are forgiving, tolerant people who don't approve of anger or vengeance and love to welcome those who appreciate our art.

The reality: Anger, jealousy, vengeance and long-term blacklisting happen quite often among poets who have egos (some call this "sensitivity") out-of-proportion to the actual size of their audiences and e-mail lists/listserve membership numbers.

It would be great if the term "look past this" could be more often in use re the Los Angeles/Orange County poetry communities.  And local poets willing to behave like the progressive humanitarians they pretend to be.

All it takes is forgiveness of others and yourself.  It's easy when you try. 


  1. Umm, actually the host didn't become upset and he sent an e-mail to the poet saying "no worries, these things happen, we'll reschedule."   There was no dispute to resolve.  But good luck next time with your facts.

  2. "who have egos (some call this "sensitivity") out-of-proportion to the actual size of their audiences and e-mail lists/listserve membership numbers." Mr McCarthy

    I'm so vain, I guess I think this post is about me...(do the lyrics of Carly Simon's you're so vain and the above will be more funny.)

    I hate that I find much of your commentary very interesting to read. I so desire to dismiss you, yet I hate to say it, but I find your writing and perspective entertaining. I am digging this format. I will come back again.

    It took every ounce of self control for me to not download that book of yours. I knew it was going to be some gossipy bit of wrongness on LA poetry, but you are like a car crash. How can I not watch you?

    My suggestion, write something every three days or so.

    Though I don't think I'll be going to your open anytime soon. I like your writing, wish I didn't, but I do.

    When we had conflicts in the past I'd always say, "He's a dick, but his writing is funny as hell."

    I don't know why you get sad and stuff. You do have talent. I know they say everyone has a talent, but no, everyone doesn't have a talent. That's what makes talent so special. If everyone had some, it would just be called a skill.

    Your comments about me being arrogant at your yahoo group.

    Hey it was satire, me making a funny. that's why it's called "piece of candy" not "big chunk of tofu or steak." The unreliable narrator voice I use in that column is arrogant, but that's not me. Seriously.

    Becky aka Teka