Friday, December 30, 2016

Left behind by Beyond Baroque.

Reposting this from Facebook:
Received a Beyond Baroque fundraising letter which speaks of "the spirit of openness and rebellion inherent in literature and art." Except for the HOLLYWOOD POETRY book, I noticed last spring that my chapbooks were removed from the bookstore (ironic since Scott Wannberg, for whom the store is named, supported poets of all stripes when he worked at Duttons Brentwood). Presumably, my earlier DIY work needed to make way for more saleable exemplars of openness and rebellion. I asked for the chapbooks (excepting those in the BB archives) to be returned; this didn't happen. I do appreciate the times I have attended readings and participated in the past--and how hard people work to continue its existence. But I feel distanced from its current programmng and governing philosophies, and have no further desire to donate.

One more post about poetry rejections.

Names omitted here, primarily to stress the universality of these incidents happening to other poets/writers in their communities.

Years ago, I asked [poet/publisher] about publishing HOLLYWOOD POETRY. It wasn't a fit for her then-imprint--so it would have been given a different one, which meant it was only a novelty item at best. I let the matter drop and for the most part, with a couple of exceptions involving sincere support, things stayed superficially pleasant, I learned I wasn't on the same plane with the poets she coveted and truly cared about. Maybe this wouldn't have hurt so much if she hadn't called me a "fine poet" previously.

Last spring, I blocked [poet/proud MFA graduate/poetry zine editor] from Facebook after being rejected for [Los Angeles literary site].  Essentially, the omitted person was a poetry editor in name only for the site with the real decisions being made by its editor-in-chief--Mr. Omission was there to drum up a lot of people (including the core members of his reading) to send in submissions .  Whether right or wrong, I believe that--after years of his ostensible support--I'm now someone who can't "fit.".

What I learned again: poetry is another strain of show business insincerity: people like what you do until they gather enough stature to decide you don't fit--and they won't stand by your art because they want to impress others. Sure, they may be superficially pleasant, but otherwise, that's all. Thanks to [omitted] for making this clear to me.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Quotation from Chairman Murray.

The POETIX website is now a ghost ship suspended in cyberspace, but it exists to perhaps give future generations some understanding of how the Los Angeles poetry community wanted to present itself within and without its local/regional sphere.

In one of G. Murray Thomas's last reviews, he wrote this manifesto--yet another reiteration of the old "layers of meaning" (i.e. make it opaque and/or amorphous) canard:
In my opinion, all poetry (all art, in fact) needs to be open to interpretation. That is how we bring our own experiences to the poetry, and engage with it emotionally as well as intellectually.

The above is apparently preferable to understanding the poet's experiences and intent inherent in the poem he/she has written.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

No avoiding Trump now.

Mitch McConnell, quoted by the Associated Press, summarizes the mixture of economic despair, pushback against social change and fiery blasts of hate (not counting Hillary's campaign flaws, Russian and FBI interference, etc.) that led to November's election and yesterday's Electoral College rubber stamp:
"Trump was able to convey — oddly enough a message from a billionaire who lives in Manhattan — a genuine concern for people who felt kind of left off, who felt offended by all the political correctness they see around them," he said.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Billy Collins explains serious poetry training to you.

In the past, I've appreciated Billy Collins's skill at being both well-crafted and accessible.  I even saw him a couple of times- (Skirball Cultural Center and Pepperdine University).

At Skirball, he seemed to be critical of MFA programs (which most poets consider vital to being taken seriously).

But he now seems to be no more than the kind of pedant routinely found in poetry circles--the kind of person who will inevitably make a snide reference to first-person poems (often, young poets start by writing about their experiences) as diary/journal entry poems or "teenage angst."

And, to top it off, you're not "real" if you don't read every syllable of The Classic Poets/Authors/Thinkers.

Here's Billy harrumphing at perceived Straw Amateurs  via the NPR website:

It really  lies in the simple act of reading tons of poetry. And I mean not just stuff you find in magazines but if you really want to be trained in poetry you need to read Milton — you need to read Paradise Lost. You need to read Wordsworth — you need to read Wordsworth's 'Prelude.'"
"That's if you want to take it seriously. If you don't want to take it seriously, you can just get a 79-cent pen and express yourself," he laughed. "No one's gonna read it with any pleasure because ... you haven't paid attention to what happened in the past."

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Someone else complains about the Guardians of the SoCal Poetry/Literary Galaxy.

Here's Chiwan Choi in CULTURAL WEEKLY:

Guessing a lot of the people Mr. Choi writes about will deny that race enters into decisions to hand out gilded passwords to the exclusive club.  But, at the very least, they have notions of class and their version of decorum as ways to limit the diversity of literary voices.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Best (and otherwise) of 2016: Part One

Here's the first half of the list of notable films/TV of 2016 I saw in theatres or at home.  The second post (with updates/changes) will appear sometime in January.

Films (in no specific order):
A Bigger Splash
Manchester By The Sea
Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping
10 Cloverfield Lane
Finding Dory
Love & Friendship
Queen of Katwe
Audrie & Daisy
Into The Inferno
Louder Than Bombs

Honorable Mention: Allied, Arrival, The Witness, Sully, Snowden, The Light Between Oceans, Denial, Maggie's Plan, The Meddler, De Palma, Cafe Society, Free State of Jones

Misfires: Rules Don't Apply, Batman v Superman Extended, Money Monster, Captain Fantastic

Insanely Overrated: Hell Or High Water

Somewhat Overrated: Blood Father, Hitchcock/Truffaut

Documentary Miniseries: OJ: Made In America

Sunday, December 4, 2016


here’s to the people who look the other way
when someone is encouraging the crowd
to close their eyes to simple decency
and hit strangers they don’t like--hard
here’s to the television news channels
on the left and the right
who look at neo-fascist rallies
as ratings opportunities,
waiting until old-fashioned newspapers
do actual reporting
before asking questions--
but not saying “fascism” or “lies”
because it displays a lack of “balance”
here’s to the people on social networks
who “don’t want to get political”
when friends and family
post ugly remarks and bigoted jokes
how will you cope with
the future you helped to create?
by doing the same old things
in the same old ways?