CJ Sage has left two insightful comments (scroll down to read them) in response to my bashing of The National Poetry Review and The Laureate Poetry Prize. What did I say?
I said this:
What would you think of a contest that offered its entrants a possible spot in the canon? Fucking crazy, no? Well, check out this contest sponsored by The National Poetry Review. I'm really stunned. And disgusted. Maybe the editors of this journal have physic powers, like Miss Cleo, and can predict what types of aesthetics the future will revere.
I really can't imagine any serious poet entering this contest. This contest will appeal to novices, to "poets" who wear all black and who brood in the corner of their local Starbucks.
And I said this:
The minds behind the Laureate Prize for Poetry are now sponsoring a book contest. Have mercy, Lord! Hey poets: win this contest and your tome will instantly join Harmonium and A Working Girl Can't Win in the canon. Immortality! I'm just kidding, of course. The minds behind this book contest aren't promising immortality. This time. Apparently, they can only pick out canon fodder a poem at a time. I would rather eat rat droppings then win this contest.
Harmless, no? Well, I would probably take back the "I would rather eat rat droppings then win this contest" sentence. Harsh! Readers of my blog know I make fun of a lot of people and presses. I've dissed the covers of New Issues Press books, and I've spit in the direction of Tupelo press. I love to make friends in the publishing industry!
But CJ Sage makes a good point: my posts do sound like sour grapes because she reminds me of the fact that the journal once asked me for work years ago and they passed on it. I can honestly say I forgot that. But maybe my unconscious mind didn't!
My apologies, CJ Sage! My blog is all about fluff, and my regular readers know my posts are tongue-in-cheek. Though I must say I still think the wording in the guidelines for the Laureate Prize for Poetry is bull. But hey, at least I sent a few readers to your web sites.
I'm going to publish CJ Sage's comments not to make fun of her, but to remind myself that my posts have the POWER to hurt the feelings of others.
The power is mine! And I shall use it more in the future! Beware editors and publishers!
CJ Sage writes:
What's with your nasty attitude toward The National Poetry Review? Is the problem that we solicited you once, many moons ago, but didn't like what you sent? If I remember correctly, I told you that you could send more. Don't be so resentful. We've published lots of great work, and our book contest winner is excellent, *and* we're publishing two other deserving manuscripts. You're right. We are such villains.
I think, as I mentioned before, your anger is directed at me for turning down your poems once. But come on now, that was long ago and you should really let it go now. Or at least direct it to me personally rather than the magazine. (I guess talking to me when I declined your poems was simply out of the question, right? And what you are doing here is much much better?) Slandering the magazine only makes you look petty and juvenile and, well, you said the other already.
Actually, the idea of the prize was to encourage experienced poets to send in poems that had more ambition. God forbid.
I'm sure that you won't accept that and perhaps this post will fuel your anger even more. That's fine. I'm okay with karma handling things.