Sunday, March 02, 2008
new week, new people to piss off...
First, read here.
Because, as someone just said to me, you cannot argue with crazy, there are things I have hesitated to say. I admit, ChicagoPoetry.com was very helpful when I initially came to Chicago in discovering what was going on and introducing me to all sorts of great poets, many of whom became friends. CJ Laity was even generous enough to review an early chapbook and I found the site an excellent source of poetry news and event organization. Through the couple of years I was involved in their readings, I saw instances where certain poets were singled out for wrath, for whatever reason, and like many people who continue to be involved in the events, was persuaded these folks were the horrible people the editorials painted them to be. I have since of course actually met some of them and found them not at all awful. CJ Laity seemed, in person anyway, a pretty decent guy, despite vitriol I saw him with which I saw him attack some people over and over again. Inevitably, it started to wear thin, and soon I saw people being attacked for absolutely no other reason than that they’d dared to disagree or question something that was going on--mostly was the thinly veiled “pay-for-play” scenarios that kept cropping up repeatedly at the site and the rather questionable anthologies. After that, I decided to pretty much distance myself from the unpleasantness.
Face it, any celebratory or awareness month has corporate sponsors—from National Poetry Month to Breast Cancer Awareness Month. They are the people with the money to contribute to the basics of marketing such an event on a national level, and that’s what this is about. Every town in America can have their own small press fair throughout the year and it will not make as big a splash as something going on nationally. Not just New York, but coast to coast. It is not New York telling Chicago what to do, but an attempt to draw several cities together across the country. In no way do I see it as anything but that, an opportunity to celebrate small presses. I’d be game whether the event was hosted at the Poetry Center or the bar down the street, nationwide sponsorship or no. Not to mention, big name chainstores like Barnes & Noble sponsors alot of literary events in Chicago, including The Printers Row Book Fair, which Laity has no problem supporting.
I would take ChicagoPoetry.com’s argument much more seriously if I didn’t see that what it really boils down to is sour grapes at not being included among the handful of presses in the lineup. Besides ChicagoPOetry.com I have yet to hear of any other press being denied participation that wanted to. From the initial e-mail call for interested presses, everyone is accounted for. Plus several have been added not on that e-mail. His “movement” of rebellion is populated entirely by himself and the few people who still believe the bullshit. I suppose in even responding we are giving him far more attention than he deserves.