In terms of poetry advancement in Los Angeles and Orange Counties (forgetting for a moment about what you actually put on paper), it helps to be a joiner who will follow leaders just about anywhere--whether the leaders are right or wrong in the short term. Thinking about the long term tends to stay in uncharted territory--kind of like riding into the Forbidden Zone in the original PLANET OF THE APES movie franchise.
Years ago, I remember hearing this meant-to-teach-me-something statement from a poet in our community (someone I'll call LMN): "Well, I guess you just don't want to be on people's good sides."
I didn't start out to be a horrible, we're-tired-of-hearing-you-over-and-over malcontent; in long ago times, I looked up to those who proclaimed themselves to be Leaders until I discovered their alleged leadership qualities were too tied up in cliquishness and cronyism.
And I guess I'm sick to death of those community icons who now run on the fumes of their pasts--and who people unquestioningly worship instead of making things happen for themselves and other poets.
Wouldn't it be a wonderful world if people would take breaks from their own notions of poetry self-centered careerism (and I'm talking to those zine editors and MFA seekers in particular) to think about what L.A./OC poetry could be?
But, as we all know, self-centeredness and short-term gratification are always winners in SoCal.