Thursday, April 13, 2006

Not About the Article, About the Community

As Anne and Shanna and others have pointed out, most members of the poetry blogging community have been pretty wonderful and thoughtful in this discussion -- and that includes much of the differences in opinion and perception. This includes Craig and his responses on his blog. I've been thoroughly and pleasantly surprised by some bloggers' consideration on the topic. I'm grateful for that.

And for the few who continue to dismiss the topic outright (this doesn't include those who've disagreed) for reasons such as :

This is an innappropriate way/place to engage/speak of this -- Move it somewhere else, somewhere I don't have to see/hear it

You should be using your time working on your poems -- You don't know how to use your time or focus your energy, so let me tell you how and oh, p.s. You're a shitty poet!

There are more important things to talk about -- You and your concerns do not fit into my world view -- it's time you fixed that

This has nothing to do with poetry -- Change the topic, I don't care and stamp you and your concerns irrelevant and annoying to consider

Heard it all before -- Not listening --- lalalalalalala

You should "get a life" -- Your opinions are not valid, you're pathetic, a loser, drop 20 pounds, go get yourself laid

You're attacking a decent person -- Because announcing disappointment and voicing your perceived exclusion is viscious (to my fragile psyche) and if I was in the same place it's likely I might have done the same thing and my work come under the same criticism and instead of entertaining the possibility I need to rethink something I'd rather put you at some kind of fault, oh ouch, my head

You have a personal agenda -- It is so upseting that we differ on this the only logical conclusion is that your motives are for personal gain and promotion

I've never seen that -- You're lying or crazy or whining or making shit up because I'm a very accomplished and knowledgeable person (see attached resume) and I know nothing of which you speak and I know all (or at least a hell of a lot more than you do -- see attached resume)


Part of me (a very big part) hates discussing this stuff because yeah, it's painful and uncomfortable and brings on a lot fallout. Usually when I speak about something like this an unpleasant consequence arises. I don't like dealing with unpleasant consequences. But I always end up doing it again, because, I don't know, I'm nuts, a loon, cuckoo for being slung over the barrel.

Unpleasant consequences aside, every single time I've stepped in (or perhaps some might suggest, created) the shitstorm, there have always been members of the poetry blogging community who have posted or e-mailed incredibly supportive and kind responses. When I have been publicly attacked (direct and personal insults regarding my appearance, my ability as a writer, editor, my intelligence, competance, ability as a mother) -- there has ALWAYS been people, in many cases people I have never met in person, who have encouraged me and offered friendship. Men and women. It's staggering and humbling.

Perhaps that's one reason why I cared enough to say anything at all about an article on blogging. And I can't personally take on every single injustice or slight -- nobody can, so we pick and focus on the things that matter most to us personally, and if that's a personal agenda -- well, yeah, s/he without a personal agenda, cast the first stone.


At 12:25 AM, Blogger Jessica Smith said...

hear, hear. good analysis.
i've also found great support through this
and met lots of cool women

At 12:26 AM, Blogger Jessica Smith said...

i have also met some cool men.
but i already knew they were out there. tony tost, josh corey--i already knew they existed. i met some women i didn't know existed.

At 12:53 AM, Blogger Reb said...

For every asshole I've encountered, I've encountered 100 pretty cool people and 50 downright amazing people. Aside from a precious few -- almost all the bloggers were "new" to me until I came across their blogs.

At 2:20 AM, Blogger François said...

I wouldn't say I dismiss the issue, but rather I'm reluctant to speak for someone else for fear that I might make essentialist remarks. On the other hand, if someone starts insulting someone I consider a friend, I will be pointing it out.

At 2:20 AM, Blogger you suck said...

I really like this: only your responses are *appropriate*. That must be nice.


At 7:38 AM, Blogger didi said...

Reb I broke a nail and now I can't type. I guess I have to shut down MiPO now being a woman and everthing....


At 10:21 AM, Blogger shanna said...

plus, alli's always good for a guffaw.

At 11:39 AM, Blogger Lee Herrick said...


(sorry for the dated hip-hop term, but that's what came to my mind after reading your post, reb).

At 12:49 PM, Blogger shann said...

word 2

(in Richmond, it's still okay to say) You are a champion, reb.

I've been to busy writing my poem-a-day to get deep- and I'm used to being dismissed as a woman, I'm old, fat, and have a male sounding name.

At 1:16 PM, Blogger Charles said...

Yeah?? Well so's your face!

At 10:00 PM, Blogger Pris said...

I wish men could change places with women for a week, a month, and I don't even think we'd have to have this discussion. Send them to the doctor's office first, then to buy a car, next to watch tv coverage of a President and Congress of the opposite sex, next...well, you name it.

At 8:30 PM, Blogger you suck said...

Hey--I'll straight-up switch with any woman alive for a week. If you think things are greener over here you're wrong.


PS: Well, I'll switch with someone totally cute, that's my one requirement.


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