Thread: Smackdown!

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This is the place to vent about any topic related to the writing community.

Enough said.


  1. Following is an excellent post from our old friend Anonymous, and my reply.

    Do you agree? Should poetry be fun? Or work?

    Anonymous said...


    Christopher does not hide his work from the world.

    He often quotes his poems in conversation to support his argument.

    Gary, just because you "POD" your poems doesn't mean you are 'brightening our pitiful lives' and Christopher is not.

    The way to 'get your poems out there' is not a simple one. The way to build a reputation, to get your poems read, is a complex enterprise, a long journey, and that's why those of us who question po-biz get so much grief--the po-biz people have worked for years and years to get their poems out there; they're working within a rather complex system of rewards and favors, and they don't like the system they are working within questioned.

    Edgar Poe used to ruin poets with a single review. It's not just about getting a nice little 'POD' book out there.

    At, we are interested in how reputations are made, the complex manner in which this happens.

    You, however, look at all this and chuckle, because you've got it all figured out, and you can't understand what all the fuss is about.

    You look at it this way: There are good poets and bad poets, and Gary Fitzgerald is a good poet, and he has self-published--simple!--so why don't the rest of you all shut up?

    I would humbly suggest you are missing part of the puzzle.

    Gary B. Fitzgerald said...

    I believe reading poetry should be fun. Not funny, like Collins or Hoagland, but fun. That's all. It can be of any style on any subject, but it must be a pleasurable thing. It can teach or warn or entertain or even frighten, but it must be something you want to do again. And again.

    Maybe all this self-righteous pompous seriousness is what got us into the mess we have today.

  2. You've got very little sense of humor if you feel the anonymous comment you just replied to is "self righteous" or "pompous."


  3. The reply above was changed slightly from the original. The response was not to the writer but to the Po-biz POV.
    There's more than one way to skin a cat.

  4. If we are truly interested in this subject, we have to look at the way poetry is organized.

    People (like the purblind Helen Vendler) who say, 'only the poetry matters' or 'only the pleasure I get from poetry matters' are like those who think the iron filings being moved about by hidden magnets are the only thing that warrants our attention. No need to pay attention to those magnets because 'only the poetry matters.'

    If you write the next "Paradise Lost" and publish it privately, there is a very good chance that your masterpiece will just sit in the corner, a pile of bits which do not move. Your masterpiece will lie dormant forever.

    Perhaps no one of any importance reads your masterpiece. Or, someone of importance reads it and says, "Yawn. Milton is old hat. We don't need another Milton." Or, someone of importance reads it and thinks, 'Geez, this is so good it obliterates all I have written. This must be destroyed.' Or, someone of importance reads it and thinks, 'Wow, this poem deconstructs Milton wonderfully. I've always hated that Milton guy. Bravo." Or, there's some naughty sex in your great poem, and it gets banned, and you become famous.

    There are hundreds of ways to think about poetry and how it is organized.

    Individuals are plotting at this very moment how to elevate and diminish the actual reputations of other individuals.

    And it has nothing to do with 'the poetry' or 'the pleasure one gets from poetry.' It probably has something more to do with devil-worship, or sex, or the price of wine, or off-shore real estate, or a pal's blogging rights, than with 'poetry.'

    It is a large matter hidden in a trivial matter hidden in a still larger matter hidden in a still more trivial one.

    'Poetry' is in there somewhere.

  5. The reply to the above comment ended up on 'Uncle Lyle Responds'.
    It works there, too, but the quote in it was lifted from the comment above.

    I can't have nine simultaneous conversations anymore. Need rest. :-)

    It's been real and it's been fun, but etc.

  6. Remember, it's finally all one conversation...

    There, there, Gary, there, there...


    Uncle Lyle will make everything alright...


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