Thursday, March 10, 2011

It's In The Way That You Use It--The Derrick Brown situation and local poetry..

A few days ago, I wrote a blog entry about Derrick Brown mentioning a FORBES magazine article about him in his official bio (which was used in a Beyond Baroque flyer listing); the post was a bit dubious about the value of a FORBES mention due to its ownership by a more-big-capitalist-than-most-people-are-aware Bono. 

I sent the blog entry to his Write Bloody e-mail and got a short, profane text-message sort of response; this was highly likely since I wasn't thrilled with what I perceived to be an overly for-cool-kids-only ambience last summer at the portion of a Lightbulb Mouth reading I attended in Long Beach (and I wrote about it).

In a perfect world, perhaps Derrick could have written whole sentences and paragraphs about why he disliked my post (defending the FORBES piece, among other things).  He didn't.  Instead, he opted for the Frank Sinatra/Russell Crowe way of striking down an annoying pest with a very heavy hand.

Here's an irony about the whole thing: I think Write Bloody has great graphic design and well-presented product (at least Derrick got books into the Borders chain before their current financial difficulties) and am pleased that Derrick champions people like Mindy Nettifee and Buddy Wakefield.  I became interested in the Write Bloody imprint a few years ago when Derrick was in Tennessee and word went out amongst the poetry community that he was ill and needed money from book sales; I bought several books--anthologies and individual authors' volumes--at that time.

But, as I've learned from the poetry community, if you say both nice and less-than-laudatory things about certain poets, they tend to only listen to the latter and then yell their heads off. 

In a way, I'm still amazed by the way some of our ostensibly-progressive poetry community leaders (which sometimes resort to a rigid form of groupthink) tend to react/overreact to contrary opinions (be it about a magazine article or even certain cliques which tend to feature the same poets over and over--something I was kicked in the shins for mentioning way back in 2003).

To close, certain poets (especially the entrepreneurs) need to be less translucent-skinned and start banishing the phrase YOU CAN'T SAY THAT! from their public and private vocabularies.

It will make for a healthier, more welcoming environment for all.

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