Monday, April 28, 2008

Guest Writer: An Open Letter to Alan Cordle

Dear friend and mentor, Alan Cordle,

You can't imagine how hard this is for me to say, but I still feel what you wrote in your Comment following my last post is just plain unacceptable. What you threatened to do on Poets.org was to tell dirty secrets about someone if they didn't knuckle under, and I say that even if you're right that "if" makes it wrong. It always does and it always will, and I wish you would decide never to threaten that way ever again.

I wish you would come out and say that too, Alan. Go ahead, spill the beans on Roy Cohn or Max Mosley all you can, or Karl Rove, but only if you have to spill them to make the world a better place, never just to control it! Come out and say you've learned that the hard way, and that you want everyone to know you stand for that too.

Having said that, dear friend Alan, I understand entirely where you're coming from, the monumental frustration you feel, and above all the anger that someone who blew that golden whistle so well and so far should have to suffer so much for it. The ignominy that in the end Alan Cordle should be the one who's so often attacked under the cover of darkness, and disgraced!

So I want to say right here is that you are in very good company in your war, Alan Cordle, and to be sure everyone understands exactly what I mean by that, I'll just call a spade a spade. I myself received several harassing e-mails from Janet Holmes just this month, for example--and I had never even heard of her until she assumed "Christopher Woodman" must be Alan Cordle, and thought she would demolish his cover and, of course, little old ME in Thailand (what a shock it must have been to find out I didn't have any—I tried to talk to her on the phone but she refused!). Indeed, Janet Holmes is quite a well-known critic and poet at Boise State University, I think, but was involved in a number of scandals that Foetry uncovered. That's why she's so vindictive. Indeed, I have watched her try to get at Alan Cordle ever since—I've seen it with my own eyes on my own iMac screen!

I also got savaged by Joan Houlihan a number of times on the internet, and she's another quite well known critic and poet, and certainly not someone who should be doing such dirt. Moreover, now that she has admitted on her own blog that she is 'rperlman,' I want to say that I saw with my own eyes 'rperlman' lurking on the pw.org Speakeasy Forum every time I got near Joan Houlihan in my posts, and since I entered the site to respond specifically to her Nov/Dec 2007 Letter in P&W Magazine, I had occasion to talk about her views quite a bit. Most striking of all, 'rperlman' made a visit to the Speakeasy just 30 minutes after I got banned from pw.org for talking about among other things her Colrain Manuscript Conferences, her partner in it, Jeffrey Levine, and her publisher (EUREKA! the same). The lightning post-ban visit was co-incidence perhaps, but she hadn't looked in for 10 days before that—and she visited over and over again during the shambles that immediately followed my departure—I always had another Login as "CSWoodman" so I watched with my own eyes.

And of course that's why I got banned from Poets.org too. It's a no-brainer, but could never be said. Indeed, Joan Houlihan's name has been central every time I have run into trouble anywhere this year, indeed ever since she wrote that letter in Poets & Writers ["Rotten Grapes"] and I objected--including twice at Poets.org, of course. She has also attacked me personally at least three times on the net in broad daylight, "that Christopher Woodman guy," she calls me. "Why does he think he's owed an apology?" she asks, as if she didn't know exactly what I'm talking about!

Finally, I have seen the cyber logs posted on the web so I know where else she visits over and over and over again, obsessively.

Not a pretty picture at all--also not my scene, and I have no intention of pursuing it further. On the other hand, many of you do, even some of you 'respectable' poets, teachers, critics, editors and publishers, and I say you are tarred with exactly the same brush if you do. The difference between you and Alan Cordle is that he tells the truth, you just stalk and you stab because you've been found fiddling the books--and that's the right image when you're talking about publishers and poets!

Just before I sent my Open Letter to Tree Swenson to Poets.net yesterday, I deleted a paragraph that might have made all the difference. I regret that now very much, because I feel that had I supported Alan Cordle more fully he might not have lashed back at you all as he did. This is what I deleted--indeed, I want you to see the deleted words in the context so you'll understand exactly what they mean:

And one word about another famous name, Alan Cordle--a man whom I deeply admire. Alan invented the Foetry movement all by himself, and went on to reveal and substantiate in very great detail the unthinkable all by himself--through very hard work, persistence, and uncanny intelligence. He was eventually outed in a most unconscionable way, and he and his wife are still being harassed almost daily for their service to humanity--he's writing a book about it so very soon everybody will know--and the same names will resurface, don't worry. So I understand Alan Cordle's impatience completely even if I don't share his tactics in threatening you as he did. Never will I compromise on that!

On the other hand? On the other hand, who asks for scruples from the Scarlet Pimpernel, after all? Even Simone Weil was ready to parachute behind the lines and wreck havoc among the innocent in the Second World War, even this angel so pure she couldn't eat! I compare Alan to both. He's a hero for me, and I place him right up there with the world's greatest RI (La RĂ©sistance Intellectuelle!) fighters.

With very best wishes,
Christopher Woodman

__________________________

(Admin note: I know for a fact that Alan Cordle and Christopher Woodman are two distinct people; I can see that Christopher Woodman's visits originate from Thailand.)

1 comment:

  1. Christopher WoodmanApril 29, 2008 at 1:14 AM

    Just a quick reflection on what I've just written above.

    I was very struck by a note I read in the paper today which quoted yesterday's People's Daily, the Chinese newspaper. It complained, "The Dalal clique have always been masters at games with words and the ideas that they have tossed about truly make the head spin..."

    I read this just after I was shown a comment on Poets.org about people like myself. A Forum Moderator had written on Sunday, "The one thing they [i.e. people like me] do not do is reflect upon their own behavior." The comment continued:

    "This is a consistent pattern that we see, and it makes it difficult to hold an objective conversation, especially when they immediately devolve into attacks the likes of which are seen over at poets.net and when we both know that only a portion of the story is being told over there."

    My goal in the above "Open Letter to Alan Cordle" is to tell the whole story instead of just the polite part. And to tell the whole story I have to include unsavory portions that always get omitted in official discussions--like the fact in the People's Daily report that the Dalai Lama has no clique, has no axes to grind with anybody, and is not even in favor of independence for Tibet! Indeed, these facts could never be discussed in China--they'd make the head spin!

    Alan's too has no clique, not even me (and he's not me either!), and also favors honest, open and cordial relationships between people so that all human beings can be guaranteed the same rights and the same opportunities. Who would ever dare admit that about him in the Poetry Establishment, which has been shaken to its roots by his unsavory revelations?

    The most striking parallel, on the other hand, is that Alan Cordle is ABSOLUTELY NOT a "master at games with words and ideas." Alan just tells the truth straight off, indeed he's OBSESSED WITH THE TRUTH. That's precisely why he's such a genius whistle blower, that's why he has achieved so much! It's also why he puts his foot in his mouth all the time, and suffers so much for it, and then inevitably loses his temper! He's a genius unleashed--indeed a poetry Consumer Rights Advocate as gifted and tenacious as Ralph Nader!

    Think about that. Think about the parallels and the differences in what I say, not about saving celebrity faces!

    Christopher

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