Poetry & Poets in Rags of February 28

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Poetry & Poets in Rags of February 28

Postby rus bowden » Tue Feb 28, 2012 7:12 pm

Dear Poetry Aficionados,

Poetry & Poets in Rags blog

Death is in the air in Poetry & Poets in Rags this week. We begin with Fiona Sampson resigning as Editor of Poetry Review, and noting that she could not stay on because of death threats. She bucked the political furor within the Poetry Society last year by not resigning, by instead continuing to do her work, all the while as members of the group rallied for positions and reinstatements, getting the Poet Laureate and future Poet Laureate favorites involved in a great bashing and bullying movement, railroading we call it, throwing people under the bus.

Some within the Poetry Society had been let go. Some had resigned. A politically strong faction of the membership set up a blog arrogantly calling themselves the Poetry Society, and bullied people who disagreed with them in discussion threads, and arrogated ideas to themselves that were put forth by those whom they banned from the discussion. Politically, this was a smashing though shameful success, and now we know just how shameful. Online spats are one thing, but here we have groups of poets creating the atmosphere of death, Fiona being a victim of this furor created by a mob mentality.

I may be talking to the air. There may be no shame. The people involved may think that all that strong arm politicking is how you do it. It's not. There were death threats. That's shameful and anti-poetry, and I am about this close to calling for the dissolution of the Poetry Society as we know it.

That's what tyrannical politicians do to poets, lock them up, taunt them, threaten them with death. Poets should not be creating this atmosphere with each other. Here's what Bill Moyers says in our second article this week, as he introduces Rita Dove, "From the combative, ferocious and vituperative field of politics, we repair to a quieter place--a respite for the soul, if you will, against the tumult of our time." He's talking about poetry being the respite for the soul, while we're talking this week about poetry being the combative, ferocious and vituperative field of politics. Death threats even.

Yours,
Rus

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